The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Up next is the finale to the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay Part 2. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material.

From IMDB: After young Katniss Everdeen agrees to be the symbol of rebellion, the Mockingjay, she tries to return Peeta to his normal state, tries to get to the Capitol, and tries to deal with the battles coming her way…but all for her main goal; assassinating President Snow and returning peace to the Districts of Panem.

5 out of 10

I am not a reader. The only books I read are for school, and even then I tend not to. The three books in the Hunger Games trilogies are some of the few books I’ve ever read for pure entertainment. Since I don’t read many books, I don’t really hate many either. Mockingjay, the final book in the trilogy, is one of those books I really didn’t enjoy. Spoiler alert: I didn’t like the movie any better.

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First things first, did anyone actually ask for it to be two parts? It works for Harry Potter because the seventh book had enough substance for the split to work. Mockingjay does not, so the split is just a giant cash grab that totally ruins the quality of both films. The first part was slow because it lacked the material to work around, and this one fell into the same trap. Every little thing was stretched out, making the pace of the whole thing ridiculously slow. It was just a pain to sit through.

Not to mention, the characters didn’t really do much to help. Poor Jennifer Lawrence… she is so much better than the Katniss that the screenwriters presented her with. Katniss might as well have been the Hulk because she is always angry. There was no inflection in the emotions she output. The same thing can be said for Peeta and Gale— two characters with tremendous potential, but instead poor writing makes them one sided and boring. The writers focused too heavily on the whole Gale vs Peeta thing, probably in hopes that the battling romances would provide something interesting to an otherwise mundane film, which it did not.

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My biggest problem with the novel was that I had no idea what was going on, as it lacked flow and general organization. I can easily say the same for the film; I quite literally had no idea what was going on. I could not keep track of where Katniss was going and when. Every time I thought she was going to the Capital to finally end the mov— I mean the fight, she went somewhere random and proceeded to waste ten to fifteen minutes doing nothing. When she finally gets to the capital, and the big battle happens, they decide to knock her out for all of it. I’m not sure how much of this I can attribute to Suzanne Collins’ poor writing, but I can say I went through the same struggle while reading the book. Take that as you will.

What this movie missed was action. It was too much dialogue, too much political talk. What made the first two films successful was the balance between the politics and the action. Mockingjay is ruined by a misplaced focus on the politics of the world, rather than giving audiences what they want.

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Its pretty late in the game for me to be writing this review, but if you have yet to see this movie, I’d advise you to save your time. There is no use in ruining the first half of the series, which is actually pretty solid. I really like the Hunger Games as a whole, which makes it really upsetting that I feel obligated to say such poor things about its finale. But alas, here we are, at the end of a solid series with a disappointing final sequence. Too bad they can’t wipe it out like X-Men did.
~Vig

6 out of 10

This is the final installment of the Hunger Games franchise that seems to have ended
rather quickly considering the speed of which the movies have been produced. I read all three books a few years ago and while I enjoyed the first two, the third felt very slow to me and didn’t amount to a huge conclusion to the trilogy. But I was actually surprised to find the first part of
this finale last year to be interesting in its focus on propaganda yet unnecessary considering its shortness of the book.

In this film Katniss, again played by Jennifer Lawrence, leads a rebellion with all of the districts banding together to take on an uprise against the capitol and President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland. She joins love interests Gale and Peeta in a squadron of rebel leaders
enroute to seize the capitol. And her conversations with them are the best part of this movie, reflecting a mature element of this film from these well fleshed out character that was not present in the book. If you pair this character motivation with the three solid performances, especially from Lawrence who can’t turn in a bad outing if she tried, and you have a very interesting layer to the film.

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But with that being said, the film is extremely slow for the first two acts. There are many scenes of characters just walking or sitting while not talking each other that feel much more like filler than real moments poignancy that the audience needs to watch. There are some very
exciting and at some points haunting action set pieces, but they come and go so fast that it goes right back to the slowness that weighs down on the film. This slowness, which is my main qualm
with the film, is not the director or the actors fault but more the studio for deciding to split a small book that was already very slow into two parts for the sake of sucking more money out of the
franchise. It caused the first movie to be very slow and not build up to anything and the second movie to be very slow as well, but does have a thrilling and mostly satisfying conclusion. The film ends in a very sophisticated way that is much more mature book concludes. But these
stakes of the conflict aren’t very well presented until the climax which is very disappointing considering the amount of time they had to present that within these two films.

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This film is very dark and somber considering it being based off of a young adult novel, which go to varying degrees of success. In some instances, the darkness works to display it as an allegory for how many governments and leaders have been run throughout history with the idea of power being a common theme. But at other times, the dreary tone feels melodramatic with the PG­13 rating that the filmmakers have to abide to, which causes a lot of the dark elements to be very watered down to accompany a full audience.

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Overall, the film is a mixed bag of good and bad elements with the diagnosis being that splitting up a book into two movies hurts the overall product of a franchise.
~Seth

 

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