1. Will I like it?
Yes. If you have enjoyed the last two movies, then you will indeed like this one. I think all of the actors did a great job with few minor exceptions. The movie is full of amazing scenery, believable characters and a great deal of emotion. The reviews are barely rolling in, but Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 79% so far. I expect it will stay right around 80%.
2. Will my kids like it?
If they are fans of the series, and not disturbed by violence, most definitely yes. Katniss is a very strong character and that comes out well. While I might hesitate to call her a role model, she has many traits that would be worth emulating.
3. Do I need to have seen the previous Hunger Games movies?
Again, this is a yes. Without the backstory of who Katniss is and what the games are about you will have some difficulty following the story. That isn’t to say you wouldn’t enjoy the movie, only that some of the emotion and reasoning may be lost on you.
4. Do I need to have read the books?
Absolutely not. I have yet to read any of the books and I’ve enjoyed all three movies. I’ll also have to skip the next obvious question: “How true to the book is the movie?” I will come back and answer that in the comments after I see the movie with my wife and daughter and discussed the major differences with them.
5. When is the best time for a restroom break?
I managed to make it through the film without a break. There isn’t really a great spot to break, but there are a couple points, that slow down. When Katniss finds the cat, or a little later when she wakes to a nightmare may work best, but make it quick.
6. With all those kids killing kids, how PG-13 is it?
I don’t really think this is a spoiler, but you may want to skip this next paragraph if you don’t want any hint of spoilage.
Mockingjay moves beyond the games, and has graduated from kids killing kids to the capitol killing everyone. There are a few very emotional scenes with a lot of dead, mostly incinerated bodies, one with a detailed narration of what happened there. Another scene in a makeshift hospital shows dead and decaying bodies stored not far from injured patients in squalid conditions. There are many scenes of people being shot, and some explosions. The MPAA rating is PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material.
7. How was the ending, did it drop a cliff-hanger, or break nicely?
Well, there is a “Part 1” in the title, so it is obvious this is not the entire story. Still, the movie breaks on a near perfect note and leaves you to ponder what the future hold. It certainly makes you eager for part 2 which hits theaters in about a year.
If you need to catch up, Netflix and Amazon Prime are streaming Catching Fire and Amazon is streaming Hunger Games for $4.