If you’ve read the third book of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, you’re well aware that Mockingjay has problems and is undoubtedly the most difficult book of the series to bring to screen. Whereas The Hunger Games and Catching Fire had the benefit of following the clear-cut chain of events involved in the Hunger Games, Mockingjay is more of a free-for-all. Katniss is holed up in District 13, the Hunger Games are a thing of the past and now it’s just about the rebels trying to figure out how to get an edge on President Snow and the Capitol. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that narrative, but for folks who’ve enjoyed the spectacle and structure of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay could be a serious adjustment.
The same is true of the first half of Francis Lawrence’s big screen rendition, but it’s an adjustment worth making. Minus the familiar faces and settings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 bears little resemblance to its predecessors, but Lawrence and co. made a number of changes that make the film version far more accessible than the book. [Please Note: This article contains spoilers for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but there is no discussion of what’s to come in Part 2.]