by: Emily Konopka
Today we bid farewell to the world of Panem and what better way to send off the epic Hunger Games series than ranking the films from good to great. While each movie has been an epic adventure, they’re not all created equal. So, which Hunger Games film earns the title of Victor?
The first installment of Mockingjay was an exposition heavy juggernaut that set up the intense action of the final film, but when viewed on its own it doesn’t stand as strongly as the others in the series. It did however introduce a lot of key elements from the novel, such as life in District 13 and Katniss’ progression into the role of the Mockingay. What it lacked in action it made up for in emotion. The movie presented an opportunity to break away from Katniss’ internal monologue and show what was happening outside of 13. The attack on the dam in District 5 set to The Hanging Tree is hands down one of the most moving scenes in the entire series. But most impressive of all was the physical and emotional transformation of Peeta from captured mouth piece for the Capitol to tortured prisoner.
3. The Hunger Games
The first film in the series which captured our hearts and brought the world of Panem to life. When it first came out it seemed like the film could do no wrong, but when the direction of Francis Lawrence was added in the last three films of the series, we were shown just how much more amazing the first film could have been. Overall, The Hunger Games provided a solid foundation to build a series around. Jennifer Lawrence emerged as a superstar bringing The Girl on Fire to life. Some of the most iconic moments from the series happen in the first film. From the emotional reaping, to Peeta and Katniss’ entrance in flaming costumes during the tributes parade, and Rue’s death, these moments are what helped define the series. But, when held up next to the other films the flame doesn’t burn quite as bright.
2. Mockingjay pt. 2
The final installment in the series proved to be the most action packed, but it’s lack of contrasting quiet moments is what keeps it from taking the top spot. At times the flow of Mockingjay pt. 2 felt a bit jumpy, moving from one intense moment to the next with not much transition. This pacing problem could be due to the fact that this movie is the jam packed climax that contrasts Mockingjay pt. 1‘s exposition. The latter half of the film is where the intensity really picks up and the action and grit are what push it towards the top of the list. Iconic moments from the book were highlighted beautifully making it one of the more well adapted films in the series. What is viewed by some as the weakest of the three books translated into one of the strongest movies in the franchise. The final film holds nothing back when it comes to showing the terrors of war and its effect on those it touches. When mixed with emotional performances from Lawrence and the rest of the cast it earns Mockingjay pt. 2 high marks. Suzanne Collins’ message is strongly portrayed and Mockingjay pt. 2 serves as a strong conclusion to the series.
Catching Fire is the perfect combination of everything good about all the other Hunger Games films which is why it gets the top spot. There is action, strength, emotion, romance, and even some wit. The relationships that were established in the first film flourish in Catching Fire. The film is the perfect balance of action and emotion. We get to see Katniss’ life as a victor competing with her life back in District 12. The cat and mouse game between her and President Snow adds yet another layer to the film that was missing in the first installment. Plus to balance it out there’s the action and suspense of The Quarter Quell, which is less of a bloodbath and more of a mind game. Catching Fire flows together from start to finish. It earns the top spot for it’s heart. Quiet moments like Peeta and Katniss’ heart to heart during sunset as well as Katniss’ harsh reality check when she is exposed to the growing rebellion are what make Catching Fire shine brighter than all of the rest.
What do you think? Which Hunger Games film takes top honors in your book?