The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

MockingJay

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2. Dir. Francis Lawrence. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence (shown), Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julieanne Moore. Color Force & Lionsgate, 2015. Film.


Katniss Everdeen returns in the final installment of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games series.  When her journey began, she impulsively volunteered herself as a tribute to protect her sister Prim.  That journey comes full circle as we find her once again sacrificing herself, but this time to protect all of Panem.  Loyalties are tested, schemes are uncovered, and Everdeen’s fate is ultimately revealed.

Story (4/5) – The story logically takes place after the events of Mockingjay Part 1.  We find Katniss (the Mockingjay) recovering from her injuries and having to deal with the Capitol’s brainwashing of Peeta, as well as the destruction of her home district.  President Coin continues to use Katniss to fan the flames of revolt against the Capitol.  Everdeen soon learns what Coin is willing and capable of doing in her plans to overthrow President Snow.  Meanwhile, Katniss has her own plans for the Capitol’s president.

For the most part, the story was solid.  The message of war being a personal thing made me think though, especially after some recent world events involving terrorism.  War truly takes on a different meaning for those involved versus those that watch it from afar.

The film also presents a warning about propaganda, that you cannot trust what is often presented as fact.  And let’s face it, how often have we and others cited the Internet as fact without really doing some cross referencing?  The whole propaganda thing was shown best when both sides of the revolt used Katniss’ death to their advantage, yet she wasn’t even dead.

Additionally, the story warns us about revolution in general and how changing leadership can sometimes just lead to more of the same thing, if we are not careful.  And it’s hard not to notice warnings of propaganda and revolution this close to a presidential election.  Something to think about when we decide to cast or not cast our votes this election.

Characters (4/5) – Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen once again.  Everdeen is a strong character, capable of profound courage and stubbornness.  Despite being shot at, lied to, and outright manipulated, she continues to be her own individual throughout the film.  I felt this was best shown in her final decision as the symbol of the revolution.  Lawrence’s performance was nice, showing a range of emotions that would expect from a complicated character like Katniss.

Josh Hutcherson returns as Peeta Mellark, the young man from her district whom Katniss has developed an attachment for.  Unfortunately, the Capitol had tortured and brainwashed him to hate Katniss.  At times, he remembers her, but there are other times when he wants to kill her.  Hutcherson put in a good performance as a likable Peeta.

Liam Hemsworth meanwhile plays Gale Hawthorne, a rival love interest to Mellark.  He is protective of Katniss and doesn’t take advantage of Peeta’s brainwashing to gain Everdeen’s complete love.  He even suggests that the situation makes it harder for him to compete.  Again, another decent performance.  I would have like to see more of this love triangle, but it probably would have taken away from already crowded story.

Also returning to the cast are Donald Sutherland as President Snow and Julianne Moore as President Coin.  Both characters are wonderful manipulative and cleaver.  Both were acted well and were a pleasure to watch on screen.  I really enjoyed their speeches, which were only second to Everdeen’s.  Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Harrelson also return as Plutarch and Haymitch respectively.

Direction (3/5) – This film was directed by Francis Lawrence, who had directed the previous two Hunger Game movies, as well as several music videos prior.  I recognize his work though from Constantine and I Am Legend.   Under this director, the movie’s vision seemed clear and consistent.  The pacing was a bit clunky though.  Rather than having a constant buildup, there were multiple scenes of intense action and emotion, followed by scenes of characters trudging through sewers or just walking from one place to another.  Maybe it would have kept the tension up more if some of the dialogue had been moved around.

Execution (3/5) – The execution of this film was good.  There were no blatant miscues for me.  The sound and lighting was good.  The music by James Newton Howard was decent.

The special effects and the computer generated ones were very believable.  Most of it looked pretty real from the traps to the explosions.  But I really like those hover planes best.

The locations used in this film were especially great from the buildings of the empty capital to claustrophobic-inducing sewers.

Entertainment (3/5) – The film was entertaining and meaningful.  I liked the parallel between Everdeen’s role in the rebellion and her role in The Hunger Games itself—especially the foreshadowing of Prim’s fate to that which would have been her own.  The audience that I watched this film with was quiet, but there were moments that you know they enjoyed.

Overall – I gave MockingJay Part 2 a 3.4 bow-ties out of 5.  It’s certainly worth another viewing for me.

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