Synopsis: As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.
Release Date: November 20, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Adventure, Sci-Fi
Like those of Twilight and Harry Potter before, the saga of The Hunger Games is coming to a close. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 signifies the fourth and final installment of the popular teen movie franchise. But does it go out with a bang or a whimper? Well, it kind of does both.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 picks up right where Mockingjay – Part 1 left off, with Katniss Everdeen (American Hustle‘s Jennifer Lawrence) as the Mockingjay – the public figurehead of the revolution against the Capitol of Panem. Having survived a ruthless attack by the brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson from Escobar: Paradise Lost), Katniss prepares to lead the rebels into battle. Her unit, which includes her old pals Gale Hawthorne (Paranoia‘s Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin from The Quiet Ones), is sent to the front lines, but they are given symbolic assignments that are to be filmed and presented to the public as propaganda – they are the faces of the rebellion, but not the actual soldiers. Of course, Katniss has other plans, one of which is to assassinate the tyrannical President Snow (Donald Sutherland from The Mechanic). The headstrong Mockingjay is set on doing things her way, but she gets resistance from both the Capitol forces and from within her own squadron.
The same folks who were behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 are all back for Mockingjay – Part 2. In fact, the two movies were shot back-to-back, making for some flawless continuity. Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) once again works from a script written by Peter Craig (The Town) and Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) that was adapted closely from Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel. The cast carries over as well; in addition to Lawrence, Hutcherson, Hemsworth, Claflin, and Sutherland, the returning ensemble includes Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me), Juliane Moore (Still Alice), Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy), Jena Malone (Time Out of Mind), and pretty much everyone else from the other Hunger Games movies. The film also sentimentally contains one of the final performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man), who reprises his role as Plutarch Heavensbee, the Head Gamemaker-turned-rebel leader. The transition is actually so seamless that one wonders why the book was even split up into two movies in the first place.
Actually, the reason is obvious: money. Not only do producers get twice as much admission revenue from splitting Collins’ third book of the trilogy into two movies, but they have also successfully managed to keep the series in the public eye for an extra year, a feat which doesn’t exactly hurt merchandise sales. Honestly, there is no other need for the story to be divided. In fact, both The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Mockingjay: Part 2 feel padded and could easily have been combined into one movie, albeit one that runs about three hours. Most of Part 1 was elaborate setup for Part 2. The action all takes place in Part 2, so in comparison, it’s the better movie, but neither stands on its own; they need each other, but not the whole of each other. All of the movies in the Hunger Games franchise are dependent on each other, but Mockingjay – Part 2 really demands that the first three movies be seen in order for the viewer to grasp what is going on.
So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what about the movie? Well, it’s a Hunger Games movie. It’s got a bunch of heartfelt sentiment that is divided up by a handful of slick action sequences. There’s plenty of fighting and explosions, but there’s also a lot of crying and confessing. It’s basically Saving Private Ryan meets Aliens. It also seems like it’s going to end about three times before it actually does; the eventual and inevitable climactic battle comes way too early, leaving the rest of the movie to just kind of flail around aimlessly before it finally peters out. Of course, fans of the Hunger Games movies will see the film, regardless of what any review of it says, and hardcore fans know that the ending sort of plods along because they have already read the book. So, if your friends are fans of the series and want you to go see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 with them, go ahead, but only if you’ve seen the first three movies.
As far as action sequences go, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 may not have as much juice as The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, but it definitely has Mockingjay – Part 1 beaten by a mile. There’s plenty of fighting of all kinds, from bombing to shooting to hand-to-hand combat. There are also some cool scenes of Katniss and her squadron evading some creative traps that are laid out for them by the Capitol Gamemakers. The absolute high point of the movie is a big fight scene between Katniss’ military unit and a bunch of slimy, alien lizard-looking Mutts (that’s Hunger Games-speak for artificially created animals) in the sewers beneath the Capitol. The location is dark and cramped, so the fighting is mostly close-combat, and is lit only by occasional explosions and flashlights. It’s a hair-raising scene that is, quite frankly, scarier than anything that’s been seen in most of this year’s horror movies. As if the visuals weren’t enough, the action sequences in Mockingjay – Part 2 are made even more effective by a pulse-pounding score, courtesy of James Newton Howard (who not only scored all of the other Hunger Games movies, but also composed the music for everything from Nightcrawler to Maleficent). If there’s one problem with the action scenes in Mockingjay – Part 2, it’s that they’re over too fast; just when the blood starts pumping, it’s back to heavy dialogue. But, at least they’re there in this movie. Director Francis Lawrence seems to have saved all of the good action sequences for Mockingjay – Part 2, but they end up being well worth the wait.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Francis Lawrence
- Producer(s): Nina JacobsonJon Kilik
- Screenwriter(s): Peter CraigDanny StrongSuzanne Collins
- Story: Suzanne Collins
- Cast: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen)Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark)Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne) Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy)Donald Sutherland (President Snow)Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee)Julianne Moore (President Alma Coin)Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair)Jena Malone (Johanna Mason)Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket)Jeffrey Wright (Beetee)Natalie Dormer (Cressida)
- Editor(s): Alan Edward Bell
- Cinematographer: Jo Willems
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Kurt and Bart
- Casting Director(s): Debra Zane
- Music Score: James Newton Howard
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA