Will I Like the Hunger Games-less ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)
This week, the third ‘Hunger Games’ movie, which follows the first part of the third book, will be released into theaters. It is called ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,’ which is a lot of words. But, here we are. Already, ‘The Hunger Games’ faithful are lined up to see what’s next in store for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who we last saw being rescued by rebellion forces in the cliffhanger ending to ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.’ Will you see ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’? (Probably!) As a service to you and all of the hungry hungry Hunger Games fans around the world, we answer every question that you could possible have about ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.’
Q: Does ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ pick up right where ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ left off?
A: Not exactly, but pretty close. It’s not the same cliffhanger of a scene, but it doesn’t look like much has transpired since we last saw Katniss Everdeen.
Q: Does Katniss get to play in another Hunger Game in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’
A: There are no Hunger Games in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.’
Q: Are you cutting and pasting every time you write out the full title of this movie, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’?
A: Yes. Because ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ is a surprisingly annoying thing to type multiple times. So, thank you for inventing cut and paste, Sebastian Cutpaste.
Q: From now on, will you just refer to ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ as ‘Jay’?
Q: What is a mockingjay?
A: A mockingjay is a fictional bird—that kind of sounds like something that should be real—that “mocks” what it hears. It’s Katniss Everdeen’s symbol and it becomes a symbol of the rebellion against President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
Q: If I ran into a mockingjay, would it say things like, “You’re ugly,” or “You really could use a haircut,” or “I don’t like your shirt”?
A: No. They don’t speak and are not openly hostile in a derogatory way. They just repeat the music that they like.
Q: So they are kind of like the music app Shazam?
A: That is a terrible comparison.
Q: Is President Snow related at all to the Canadian rapper, Snow?
Q: It could be the same guy, right?
Q: Is it specifically said he’s not?
Q: If there are no Games in ‘Jay,’ what does Katniss do?
A: Well, that’s kind of the problem, Katniss doesn’t do much of anything, at least in the first half of the book. In the movie, she’s given more to do, but most of the time she’s at the rebels’ headquarters in District 13.
Q: Who are the rebels?
A: The rebels are a group of freedom fighters that are standing up to the tyranny that controls the current government.
Q: Is Han Solo a rebel?
A: Not in this movie.
Q: Who is part of this rebellion?
A: The rebellion is led by President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and also includes Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who was working as a spy in ‘Catching Fire.’
Q: So Plutarch Heavensbee was an informer?
A: Please stop.
Q: What is Katniss’ main role in all of this?
A: After her exploits in both of her Hunger Games, she is a symbol of courage to the oppressed people of the districts. The rebels want to use her as propaganda and Katniss eventually agrees.
Q: How do the rebels use Katniss as propaganda?
A: Katniss enters a battle and is followed around by a cameraman whose job is to film the gory happenings so that it can later be broadcast on television.
Q: Is Katniss’ cameraman Lou Bloom?
A: No, which sadly squashes all hope for that ‘Hunger Games’/’Nightcrawler’ crossover that we’ve all been demanding.
Q: Where is Peeta (Josh Hutcherson)?
A: Peeta wasn’t rescued along with Katniss at the end of ‘Catching Fire,’ so now President Snow is using him to wage a media war against Katniss and the rebels using a series of broadcasted interviews with a manipulated Peeta.
Q: What’s Gale (Liam Hemsworth) doing during all of this?
A: Just being Gale; dull and uninteresting.
Q: Does Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) have a large role this time around?
A: He’s certainly around—and a lot more sober—to the point where it feels like he has a bigger part, because in the prior movies Haymitch was pretty much a non-factor once the Hunger Games started.
Q: Does anything really happen in ‘Jay’?
A: Well… not a lot. It’s very much the first part of a two-part story.
Q: Will I leave the theater unsatisfied?
A: I wouldn’t go that far—it clearly says “Part 1” in the title of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’ ‘Jay’— but I can’t imagine anyone in the future will think, “Y’know, I have a couple of hours to spare, I think I will watch ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’!” as opposed to the other three movies. In other words: it feels like half of a movie and certainly isn't as good as 'Catching Fire.'
Q: Will the lack of a true ending keep ‘Hunger Games’ fans away this weekend?
A: Yes, I really do think most ‘Hunger Games’ fans will wait until next November so they can watch both parts of ‘Mockingjay’ back-to-back.
Q: Was that sarcasm?
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.