The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 20 Nov 2015
Mockingjay Part 2 is the conclusion to both 2014’s Mockingjay Part 1 and the Hunger Games film franchise as a whole. While Part 1 felt like a warm-up to an epic conclusion (despite an obviously padded third act with no stakes), Part 2 fails to deliver that conclusion on either front. It’s beautifully shot and well acted, but the writing and editing leave it feeling hollow and depressing.
Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen, a character that suffers one too many knockout blows to the head. Katniss is still in a love triangle that is openly discussed by the characters themselves in the film with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), though all of the movie franchise installments have clearly focused on Peeta. Through some occasional effects, Philip Seymour Hoffman is a little more present than expected, though it’s easy to tell when he’s been inserted as it often happens that he is seen but has no lines. Donald Sutherland is great as the antagonist President Snow and every precious scene with him is great.
Sadly there isn’t nearly enough of a final battle between Katniss and Snow to make it feel like a fitting conclusion to the film series. The film lumbers along and suddenly begins skipping ahead into what turn out to be very extended epilogues. I had hoped to see more clever action from Catching Fire mixed with the emotional weight from Mockingjay Part 1. Instead the movie feels like it’s ticking boxes on what fans of the book expect and that does not translate into a competent or coherent movie. I enjoy reading, but it shouldn’t be a prerequisite for me to know what the protagonist is thinking.
Of course, fans of this series will march right into the theater without reading reviews and if Mockingjay Part 2 delivers for them, great. For me the high point in the series remains the excellent Catching Fire, a movie worth watching more than once. Mockingjay is stuck between the rock of the movie fans and the hard place of the book fans and tries too hard to please both while satisfying neither.
Amber, Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: