Opinion by Robin Hendricks

Explosions and nightmares, ruins and…cats.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, was released in theaters on 21 Nov. to packed audiences with some theaters holding all of 24 showings on the Saturday of the opening weekend.

All the television commercials, merchandise for sale and overall hype for the movie was not wasted on the targeted audience. The theaters were packed for each showing with teenage girls wearing their Team Peeta or Team Gale shirts and, as always, completely missing the point of the story.

The Hunger Games series, particularly this installment of Mockingjay, is not a romance. The love aspect takes a backseat to the real backbone of the story: revolution and all that goes along with it.

The movie opens up in District 13, in an underground (literally underground) rebel base bent on liberating the districts of Panem from the harmful grasp of the Capitol. No longer in her home of District 12, Katniss is forced to deal with the aftermath of the 75th Hunger Games and her final actions of the game: shooting an arrow through the ceiling of the arena, leaving it to collapse in on itself.

As Katniss decides if she wants to participate in this revolution she accidentally sparked, the tone of the movie shifts to a darker one than either of its predecessors. Whatever sugarcoating was present in the other two movies is not present in Mockingjay.

It is stark, cold, unforgiving.

It truthfully portrays the harsh realities of a fictional world. It shows battles. Battles both internal and external. Battles of a people fighting to be free of the only life they have ever known.

Mockingjay is more slowly paced than the other movies, but not to no avail. It takes the time to fully cover the rebellion in the other districts, driving home the fact that it does not merely consist of one girl. But rather of the country this one girl inspired to diverge from the set path of control.

The shocking level of reality depicted in Mockingjay Part 1 leaves the audience with one question, and it’s not “Team Peeta or Team Gale?”

But, “Are you coming to the tree?”