This is the Hunger Games without any Hunger Games.
This first instalment of the two-part Hunger Games finale is packed full of the drama, angst and politics we've come to expect from the franchise, but is severely lacking in the bow and arrow action heroes stakes we have come to know and love.
Now I must confess to being a fan of the book trilogy and knew what I was getting into when watching the movie. To be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be good and I was pleasantly surprised.
The story here in this dystopian country of Pan Am concentrates mostly on the political upheaval caused by Katniss's rebellion and the rise of her as the symbol of hope in a war-torn country. The manipulations of Plutarch and rebel president Coin (Julieanne Moore) thrust the reluctant and shell-shocked Katniss into the spotlight, where she becomes the target of the villainous President Snow (played menacingly-well by Donald Sutherland).
We finally get to see handsome Gale (Liam Hemsworth ) have a chance to vie for Katniss's affections, but the opportunity is missed through a lack of emotional connection between him and Katniss. Either that or it is the garlic the actor admits to eating as a joke before his close scenes with Lawrence. (what a mean trick!)
Katniss's heart seems more with rescuing Peeta - who is the prisoner of Snow in the Capital.
OK, now you want to know whether to fork out the cash for the movie, here you go...
1. You've never seen or read a Hunger Games instalment - do not try this one.
2. You only like the Hunger Games for the thrill of the chase - do not try this one.
3. You have read the books, seen the movies and love it all - go and see it. You may love it, or you may be a little ho-hum about it, but you'll want to see this before the undoubtably action-packed finale.
Despite its lack of 'Hunger Games' and a dragged out plot caused by splitting one smallish novel into 2 movies, I still give Mockingjay Part 1 a score of 4 stars for some fabulous acting and heart-felt drama scenes.
So the questions remain for the final instalment next year:
Will the producers manage to finish the film without the pivotal Plutarch character?
Will the Capital erupt in a sea of rebellion from the united districts?
Will director Francis Lawrence stick with the same (in my opinion) unsatisfying ending we read in Suzanne Collins's novel?
For these answers and many more...tune in next year for the finale.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is now showing at cinemas.