Hunger Games, The: Mockingjay Part I

Featured In Issue 196, April/May 2015

WSR Score4
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Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Francis Lawrence
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Based upon the novel Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, comes the thrilling sequel The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) finds herself in District 13 after she destroyed the games. Under the command of President Coin (Moore), Katniss will do whatever it takes to save Peeta (Hutcherson) after he is captured by the capitol, along with the other tributes in the quarter quell. After she agrees to be the mockingjay, the face of the rebellion, Katniss strives with a nation and close allies to defeat President Snow (Sutherland) and the capitol once and for all. (Rachel Moss)

Special features include commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson, The Mockingbird Lives documentary (HD 174:19), the featurettes Straight From The Heart: A Tribute To Philip Seymour Hoffman (HD 11:03) and Songs Of Rebellion: Lorde On Curating The Soundtrack (HD 08:10), the Lorde “Yellow Flicker Beat” music video (HD 04:05), eight deleted scenes (HD 11:18) an, Insurgent sneak peek, upfront previews, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 1080p AVC picture was digitally photographed using the Arri Alexa camera system in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Similar to the picture quality exhibited in The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the imagery is dramatically sharp with exceptionally fine detail displayed throughout. Close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture is remarkably sharp, exhibiting spectacular clarity. The color palette is naturally hued, as is evident in fleshtones. Even in the underground lair of District 13, where lighting is minimal, the hues remain natural, with excellent shadow delineation. Contrast is excellent as well, with deep, solid blacks. The CGI visual effects are well integrated, for seamless reality and visual integration. The imagery is consistently pristine, with exemplary clarity. This is a remarkably engaging reference-quality visual experience that will not disappoint. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is beautifully executed with an impressive Immersive Sound holosonic® soundfield rendering that is expansive, directionalized, and intense with delicate subtly nuanced elements throughout. The action sequences are intense, with explosive elements throughout, heightened by powerfully deep sub-25 Hz .1 LFE energy. The cavernous environment of the underground District 13 is rendered with echoing ambience. The orchestral and choral music score is dynamic and expansive across the wide soundstage and extends to every channel in the four surrounds. James Newton Howard's score moves the story emotionally with a heightened sense of envelopment. Atmospherics and sound effects are precisely presented with impressive directionality and clarity in both interior and exterior environments, and create a realistic ambiance. The added height channels effectively enhance the sense of spatial dimension, which adds significantly to the sense of scale and realism. While the soundtrack often reaches full SPL reference levels, dialogue is clearly presented with effective spatial integration. This is truly a reference holosonic soundtrack that delivers superb fidelity, dynamics, and immersion. Interestingly, Lionsgate has provided a DTS Headphone:X mix, which provides a faux 11.1 surround mix that will be appreciated by fans of personal audio. (Gary Reber)