The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, 2015.
Directed by Francis Lawrence.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Natalie Dormer, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sam Clafin.
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.
The saga of The Hunger Games finally comes to a close with the second half of Mockingjay an enjoyable and decent finale for the series. The Young Adult fiction sensation about a dystopian future captured the imagination of a generation and saw each film break the box office.
The final instalment starts straight after the cliffhanger conclusion of Part 1 which saw Peta (Hutcherson) brainwashed into trying to kill Katniss (Lawrence) and the destruction of the fascist capitol Panem almost certain. Part 2 starts with some rather dull scenes of wandering around filming promos, heartfelt conversations etc, before launching into a violent finale. Those who haven’t read the book will still see the twist coming, but it is enjoyable none the less. Part 2 struggles to engage the audience in the first half, the audience is waiting for the conclusion to the story and instead we’re introduced to a bunch of new characters who are killed with zero emotional impact and we have to wait what feels like an eternity for something to happen to a character we care about.
Mockingjay Part 2 is not a bad film; it simply just doesn’t need to be as drawn out as it is. One film would have been a fantastic slice of adventure and a decent send off for the intriguing heroine Katniss, unfortunately we’re treated yet again to more love triangle nonsense, tons of aerial shots and set piece after set piece. That’s not to say that the effects aren’t impressive. A stunning sequence where the protagonists have to race away from a tidal wave of liquefying black goo is intense, as is an underground siege. It’s just a shame that it’s intercut with some truly dull, drawn out scenes.
Lawrence is solid once again as Katniss, but a lot has been lost from page to screen. The internal frustration of Katniss has never been clearly demonstrated in the films, but Lawrence does her best with a character who isn’t actually that nice. Hemsworth, Hutcherson et al each perform their roles well but the standout performances are reserved for the more senior actors. Donald Sutherland’s evil President Snow and Julianne Moore’s Alma Coin are the most interesting characters in the franchise and it’s their scenes that intensify the drama. As his last film credit, Philip Seymour Hoffman is seen briefly in scenes and delivers a few lines. His absence is handled extremely well as lines are given to other characters and he is seen in the background of shots rather than at the front. I longed for more of Hoffman’s charisma when watching the film, and it made me wonder what could have been.
Part 2 is a solidly made end to the Young Adult franchise. It delights at times and bores in others but it’s a fitting end to the trials of Katniss Everdeen. Whether a new franchise will come to take its place is yet to be known, but for the moment it ranks highly as a genuinely entertaining franchise.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter