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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Movie Connections:
The Hunger Games
> The Hunger Games (2012)
> The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
> The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)
> The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -... (2015)
Genres / Traits:
Action, Psychological Thriller, Science Fiction, Teen Thriller, Post Apocalyptic
Director:
Francis Lawrence Francis Lawrence
Starring:
Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Lawrence
Josh Hutcherson Josh Hutcherson
Liam Hemsworth Liam Hemsworth
Woody Harrelson Woody Harrelson
Donald Sutherland Donald Sutherland

6.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: December 16, 2015
It's been an epic journey, but The Hunger Games have come to an end. Unfortunately, it might have been just a year too late.

The war between Panem's Capitol and its revolting districts is in full swing, but the rebellion has just been dealt a serious blow. The rescue mission to free Peeta, Annie and Johanna from the Capitol's clutches was technically a success, but it was a trap all along. Using the hallucinogenic effects of the deadly tracker jacker wasps, they've brainwashed Peeta into believing Katniss is an evil murderer and needs to be killed. While District 13 attempts to undo the effects, it's already added a few more cracks in the girl's fragile psyche, and her job is far from over. In an attempt to rally the last loyalist district, things get even worse. Not only does she begin to see firsthand just how horrifying war is, but she's severely injured in the battle. As she recovers, her hatred for not just the Capitol but the entire war boils over, and she stows away on a transport heading into the thick of things so she can personally deliver the deathblow to President Snow. Realizing what she's done, Coin and Plutarch put together a team of her more famous allies, including the barely-recovered Peeta, to travel just behind the front lines and continue shooting propaganda videos and keep their army's morale high. One way or another, Katniss' war will will be ending shortly.

After sitting through Part 2, it became glaringly obvious that Mockingjay probably didn't need to be adapted into two halves. After the slow pace of Mockingjay: Part 1 and an additional year removed from the initial explosion back in 2012, the series had lost all of its momentum. In a nutshell, the casual audience doesn't really care anymore. With that said, it probably could have worked as two parts had they been a little smarter about the plot lines and balancing of the two films. You see, despite all the complaints that Part I was all exposition, it's now become clear that there were some much-needed aspects of the plot that simply weren't there. I'm not going to go into specifics of course, but suffice to say that this is a war. War has casualties, and we lose some important characters before the credits roll. The first part simply did not build these characters properly and the emotional hit of their passing is completely lost. Sadly, this trend continues in Part 2. Johanna and Katniss bonding in their attempts to claw back from their physical and mental pits was one of my favorite and important parts of the novel. It's simply not there in the film. At all. Every ounce of substance has been removed for the sake of action, but since the squad is far behind the front lines, that's a bit watered down as well. We've spent the past three movies sowing the seeds of rebellion, and when it finally breaks out in all-out war, it takes about an hour and happens off-screen. For what was shaping up as an epic tale, it ends quite anti-climatically. Meanwhile, there were other mundane scenes that were dragged out just a bit too long and could have easily been replaced with more meaningful pieces. The whole thing suffered from incredibly poor planning. Hopefully, filmmakers will use a little discretion going forward as to whether these adaptations actually need a two-part adaptation and stop using them simply for cash grabs.

Now even though we weren't able to join the main battle itself, the booby traps left by the Capitol that litter the war zone provide plenty of tense moments to keep the audience engaged, especially as each one alerts nearby Peacekeepers the group must then contend with. The film's shining moment however is a scene heavily influenced by Aliens where the squad is attacked by a pack of horrifying mutants. Never mind the pit bulls from the first movie, these things make them look like playful puppies. It was one of the main scenes from the book I was looking forward to seeing, and damn did it deliver. These action scenes were what the filmmakers were hoping would carry the entire half of Mockingjay, and while I won't say it fully succeeded in that area, it at least kept thins moving.

Despite all this, I certainly can't complain about the cast. Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson have all shown they've nothing to prove in front of a camera, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Willow Shields' career continue. Even the actors I had previously taken issue with for various reasons, like Josh Hutcherson and Julianne Moore, assuaged the problems I had. I'm all but obligated to mention it, but unfortunately, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Plutarch was forced to be rewritten as a cameo character. It's a shame too, because the few scenes he did appear in seemed to lead in a darker direction than the full performance would have, and we didn't have those balancing scenes to shift the character back in order. With all that said, the thin nature of the plot didn't provide any sort of hold for these guys to lift the movie higher and attempt to save it.

I'll tell you, I am really disappointed in how lackluster this ending was. Maybe one day I'll sit down and watch the series in a single sitting, which may help some of these issues, but it's certainly not going to provide a complete redemption. 5.5/10.
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