The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a consistently solid presentation.
Sharpness worked well. Only the slightest sliver of softness ever affected wide shots, so the vast majority of the movie brought us terrific clarity and definition.
No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to materialize.
In terms of palette, Mockingjay 1 usually went with “Hollywood Standard” teal and orange. While that trend was predictable, I couldn’t complain about the replication, as the hues looked strong within their stylistic constraints.
Blacks came across as dark and tight, and shadows appeared smooth and easily discernible. All aspects of the image satisfied.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack added strong involvement to the experience. The soundfield presented an active and lively piece that constantly engaged the various speakers.
The film showed distinctive imagery throughout the movie that placed different auditory elements accurately within the spectrum and meshed them together nicely.
Music provided strong stereo imaging, and effects popped up from the appropriate locations. Quieter scenes displayed natural ambience, while the action set pieces involved engrossing and vibrant imaging.
Audio quality also seemed positive. Speech consistently appeared natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music sounded bright and dynamic as the disc neatly replicated the score.
Effects packed a nice wallop when necessary, as these elements seemed clean and distinct at all times. Bass response came across as deep and tight, and the low-end added a good layer of depth and oomph to the package. I thought this was a consistently impressive soundtrack.
As we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story, characters and adaptation areas, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design, effects and stunts, music, editing, photography, and connected domains.
Overall, Lawrence and Jacobson give us a strong commentary. While they come with some of the usual happy talk, they balance it with plenty of useful notes, and they reveal the slew of challenges they encountered, such as actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s mid-production death. Expect a good chat.
Entitled The Mockingjay Lives, a documentary runs two hours, 14 minutes, 19 seconds. It brings notes from Lawrence, Jacobson, publisher David Levithan, producer Jon Kilik, production designer Philip Messina, production designer Jo Willems, set decorator Larry Dias, special effects foreman Brandon Keyes McLaughlin, special effects coordinator Steve Cremin, visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson, greensman Jessica Echols, casting director Debra Zane, makeup designers Ve Neill and Nikoletta Skarlatos, costume designers “Kurt and Bart”, hair designer Camille Friend, special effects makeup Glenn Hetrick, prosthetics specialist Ken Culver, stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, editors Alan Edward-Bell and Mark Yoshikawa, visual effects producer Melinka Thompson-Godoy, CG supervisor Ben Huber, composer James Newton Howard, 2D supervisor Walter Gilbert, visual effects supervisors Patric Roos and Adrian de Wet, rigger Remi Cauzid, animator Ben Goerlach, generalist TDs Leah Low and Maung Maung Hla Win, 2D lead artist David Man, and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Willow Shields, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Paula Malcomson, Jena Malone, Mahershala Ali, Natalie Dormer, Evan Ross, Elden Henson, Wes Chatham, Patina Miller, Sarita Choudhury, Robert Knepper, and Stef Dawson.
“Lives” examines the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design, photography, various effects, costumes, makeup and hair, stunts and action, editing, audio and music, and the cliffhanger ending.
All four Hunger Games movies include feature-length documentaries, and all four offer fine overviews of the subject matter. “Lives” functions as well as the others, so expect a thorough, engaging and informative program.
Straight from the Heart fills 11 minutes, three seconds with notes from Francis Lawrence, Jennifer Lawrence, Malcomson, Malone, Kilik, Hutcherson, Banks, Jacobson, Wright, and Moore.
As noted, Philip Seymour Hoffman died during the shoot, and this acts as a tribute to him. It becomes a warm salute, one that seems a bit more interesting due to the presence of some rehearsal footage.
Next comes Songs of Rebellion, an eight-minute, 10-second featurette that offers remarks from musician Lorde. She discusses her work on the film’s music in this fairly useful reel.
Nine Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 11 minutes, 18 seconds. Most of these offer fairly minor extensions or add-ons, but a couple prove interesting.
In particular, we get a meeting between Snow and Peeta that proves intriguing. A scene in which Effie chastises some poor makeup artists adds needed comedy as well. Those become the most compelling clips.
We also get a music video for Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat”. It offers a mix of lip-synch/dance moments that don’t attempt a story.
I don’t mind, as the visuals suit the song, and I feel happy the video lacks the usual movie clips. It’s a good tune as well.
The disc opens with ads for The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Manh(a)ttan, The Age of Adaline, Mortdecai and The Royals. The disc also presents a Sneak Peek at Insurgent, but it lacks a trailer for Mockingjay 1.
A second disc brings a DVD copy of Mockingjay 1. It includes the commentary, the deleted scenes and the previews but it lacks the other extras.
As the first half of the saga’s conclusion, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 offers a disappointing effort. Slow and largely devoid of drama or excitement, the movie plods and acts as a lackluster lead-in to the finale. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture and audio along with a satisfying collection of bonus materials. While this turns into a top-notch Blu-ray, the film disappoints.