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Blu-ray Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
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Mockingjay Part 1 Katniss

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks
Blu-ray | DVD | Instant Video
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release date: March 6, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland, gets it home video release today and it is worth buying for the special features alone.

Based on the first half of the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 1 continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, formerly of District 12, who sacrificed herself to join the Hunger Games when her sister’s number came up in the worst lottery ever. Partnering with Peeta, they combine forces to beat the system. Catching Fire, the second book in the trilogy, had Katniss and Peeta go through the Games again, this time with all the previous winners. In Mockingjay Part 1, Peeta had been left behind at the Capitol and is their spokesman, and Katniss is recruited by Plutarch and President Coin. She decides to be their Mockingjay, reluctantly, but comes to realize that “with great power comes great responsibility.”

So besides buying a Blu-ray so one can see a movie he/she hasn’t seen before, what is really the draw for buying it? It is the special features.

Here goes:

Special Features

Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson: Film junkies will enjoy the running commentary if it is their second (or more) time watching it.

The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of Mockingjay Part 1: This feature has seven sections, which includes interviews with Nina Jacobson and Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Francis Jacobson, and more, explaining Katniss’s state of mind. John Lilik (Producer) said continuity was important. Part 1 is all about saving Peeta and Part 2 is all about killing Snow.

It is mentioned that they wanted Effie in Mockingjay, even though she was hardly in the book. Elizabeth Banks was just so good, that author Suzanne Collins was convinced. In Designing Dystopia, you see how they built District 13 while they were still filming Catching Fire. The concept art alone is very complex with such focused attention to detail. District 8 incident was filmed on location in Berlin. The cast talks about how close they all became during filming. It’s very complimentary towards Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, if Donald Sutherland called me a genius, I would faint, and I’m sure she did, too. By the time Mockingjay rolled around, the actors wanted to come aboard. Julianne Moore approached them about playing President Coin. And the addition of fanboy (and girl) favorite Natalie Dormer. Other subsets of this feature include costumes, locations, and always my favorite, the stunts.

Straight From The Heart: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman: Get out your tissues. You will be smiling through your tears though. “We have to have a lightning rod. They’ll follow her. She’s the face of the revolution. Let her see it. Let her go home.” Plutarch Heavensbee surprised us with his loyalties, pleasantly so. Everbody gave him his rightful accolades, but Josh Hutcherson put it best. He knows he’ll be remembered “for being a really, a really funny nice guy.”

Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Curating the Soundtrack: “These films are all about strength….these songs are strong.” Some artists she picked were Grace Jones, Kanye West, and The Chemical Brothers (ft. Miguel).

Deleted Scenes: I cannot describe the deleted scenes without giving major spoilers for the movie, but there are nine of them, and they do what deleted scenes are meant to do — give the fans a little extra insight into the movie, at the same time giving insight to what editing contributes to the film. Letting the viewer understand what is extraneous and could be cut without sacrificing storytelling. Most times, it is exposition and explanations that are cut. When you give too much to an audience and do not let them make discoveries on their own, a movie can get tedious.

Lorde “Yellowflicker Beat” Music Video: Lorde’s got a silky smoky voice, she does, to go with her mysterious hooded eyes. She’s dancing a little Elaine Benes-like during the chorus, except with rhythm. This is definitely a mood-making video.

Insurgent Sneak Peek: Divergent author Veronica Roth and several of the actors and crew of the second Divergent movie, Insurgent, give you a behind the scenes look at Making of Insurgent and where we last left our Dauntless Tris (Shailene Woodley), going to the other factions and trying to rebel against Kate Winslet. Douglas Wick says, “In Divergent, we created a world. In Insurgent, we’re gonna tear it up.” The movie also stars Zoe Kravitz and Miles Teller.

Also from Lions Gate: Previews! This little section has the same previews that the Blu-ray opened with: Insurgent (Second movie in Divergent series opens March 20, 2015), Manhattan: Nuclear Family on the WGN America channel, The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively, Mortdecai starring Johnny Depp, The Royals series on E with Elizabeth Hurley, and the EPIX movie channel highlights.

Remember to check out the Honest Trailer for this movie as well. It’s a must see!

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