The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will hit theaters on November 21st, 2014, nearly a year to the date after the second installment, Catching Fire, is released – and, about a year before Mockingjay Part 2 swoops into theaters on November 20th, 2015.
Production on Catching Fire begins this September, with series newcomers Jena Malone and Philip Seymour Hoffman joining the Hunger Games cast of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harelson, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) will be holding the directorial reins, and is going to shoot a portion of the Hunger Games sequel in IMAX.
What do you think about the MockingJay Movie being split into two movies?
Mockingjay has received many positive reviews from critics. Entertainment Weekly gave the book a B+ and said, “Collins has kicked the brutal violence up a notch in an edge-of-your-seat plot”.
Publishers Weekly called the book “the best yet, a beautifully orchestrated and intelligent novel that succeeds on every level.” The review went on praise the “sharp social commentary and the nifty world building”, as well as the “romantic intrigue” between Peeta, Katniss and Gale.
Los Angeles Times compared the battlefield to Iraq and said that the book is every bit as original as the first in the series, ending the review with, “Wow”. The Baltimore Sun commented that the book “ends on an obstensibly [sic] happy note, but the heartbreaking effects of war and loss aren’t sugar-coated”, and that it will have readers thinking about the effects of war on society. Kirkus also gave a positive review, saying that the book is exactly what its fans are looking for and that “it will grab them and not let go”.
Katie Roiphe of The New York Times said it is “the perfect teenage story with its exquisitely refined rage against the cruel and arbitrary power of the adult world.” However, she criticized that it wasn’t as “impeccably plotted” as The Hunger Games.
While a review from The Sacramento Bee praised the action scenes and the battle in the Capitol, the reviewer also criticized Collins for not giving enough time to finish all the loose ends, writing, “The disappointment with Mockingjay hits primarily as Collins starts her home stretch. It’s almost as if she didn’t allocate enough time or chapters to handle all her threads.”
After her rescue by rebels, Katniss reluctantly agrees to become “the Mockingjay”, a symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol. As part of a deal, she demands that the leader of District 13, President Coin, grant immunity to all of the victors of the Hunger Games. She also demands the right to kill President Snow herself. In a daring rescue, Peeta and other victors are rescued from the Capitol. However, Peeta has been brainwashed into hating Katniss, and tries to kill her upon their reunion in District 13.
The rebels take control of the districts and finally begin an assault on the Capitol itself, which Katniss is a part of. However, an assault on a “safe” Capitol neighborhood goes wrong, and Katniss and her team flee further into the Capitol with the intent of finding and killing President Snow. Eventually Katniss finds herself pressing on alone towards Snow’s mansion, which has supposedly been opened to shelter Capitol children (but is actually intended to provide human shields for Snow). Afterwards, bombs placed in supply packages kill many of these children and a rebel medical team, including Katniss’ sister Prim.
President Snow is tried and found guilty, but he tells Katniss that the final assault that killed Prim was ordered by President Coin, not the Capitol. Katniss realizes that if this is true, the bombing may have been the result of a plan originally developed by her friend Gale. Katniss realizes that she will never be able to look at Gale the same way, regardless of whether he was directly involved in Prim’s death. Katniss remembers a conversation with Snow in which they promised not to lie to each other. When she is supposed to execute Snow, she realizes that he was telling the truth and kills Coin instead. A riot ensues and Snow is found dead, having possibly choked on his own blood or been trampled in the crowd. Katniss is acquitted due to her apparent insanity and returns to her home in District 12. Peeta returns soon after as well, having largely recovered from his brainwashing.
In the epilogue, Katniss speaks as an adult, more than twenty years later. She is married to Peeta and they have two children. The Hunger Games are over, but she dreads the day her children learn the details of their parents’ involvement in both the Games and the war. When she feels upset, Katniss has taken to reminding herself of every good thing that she has ever seen someone do.