The revolution is over. The fire is out. After four years and four films the games finally come to an end with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. I’ve never been a big fan of this series and I’m not thrilled with its swan song effort either, but I fully realize I’m not the target demographic for this franchise.
If you liked/loved the other movies, then I imagine you’ll be happy with this adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ book. It has all the same elements as the other films: teen-age melodrama, wacky-named characters, crazy-dangerous survival game action and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence playing the heroic character that made her a star, Katniss Everdeen.
To be honest, even having watched the other films, I find it very difficult to keep track of the complex soap-opera-like minutia of The Hunger Games films, so forgive me if I get some details wrong
(or feel free to mock me in the comments below.)
Katniss is being manipulated by the rebellion leader, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), and is increasingly feeling like a publicity tool being used to sway opinion against the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland.)
When the rebels launch their final strike against the capitol, Katniss and her comrades bring up the rear shooting propaganda videos with her frenime, Cressida (Natalie Dormer.) But Everdeen has a hidden agenda to hijack the mission and assassinate Snow – if only the team can make their way through a city lined with thousands of gamemaker designed booby traps.
In addition to weaving through a maze of deadly obstacles, Katniss also has to dodge attacks from her brainwashed friend/romantic interest, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), who, for some strange reason, has been assigned to her squad – despite his mental issues.
The list of characters incorporated into this story is dizzying, and a couple of scenes in MJ2 involve the remembering and reciting of that list of names ad nauseam. If you’re a fan then maybe you appreciate the mention of your favorite character (be they living or dead), but for someone who doesn’t remember them, or hold them in that high of regard, these memoriams were severely sleep-inducing.
Some of the characters you will see in Mockingjay – Part 2 are Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), the handsomer side of the Katniss/Peeta/Gale love triangle; Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) as Katniss’ long-suffering mentor; the eye-soring Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks); and the ingenious gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in, sadly, his final film appearance.
Despite some very clunky story and dialogue, the acting across the board in this film is very good. Josh Hutcherson in particular rises way above the goofy role he plays here, and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance emphasizes the fact that she is now a mega-star both because of and in spite of The Hunger Games.
The first act of MJ2 is tedious and, given the unnecessary two-part treatment of the final Collins’ book, there’s a lot here that could probably have been cut. The second act thankfully picks up the pace and an extended sequence that has Katniss’ squad evading a herd of fast, eyeless, albino, fanged sewer-monsters (called ‘mutts’) is my favorite part of all the Hunger Games movies.
The movie wraps pretty well, but maybe a little too long. I thought it had a great end scene, but then cuts to the actual final sequence, which was completely unnecessary – adding emphasis that the filmmakers just didn’t know when to stop. Nevertheless, I’m sure this film will make a bazillion dollars; so for the fans, enjoy. Grade: 5/10
Photos © 2015 Lionsgate