The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Liam Hemsworth
Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS!
Let the 76th hunger games begin…
This two part finale felt justified. It avoided the Harry Potter pitfall of having a much weaker part 1 which didn’t build to much of an ending (mainly because Mockingjay had an obvious cliffhanger mid book that Deathly Hallows lacked) while also avoiding the Hobbit’s mistake of wringing too much running time from a single book. Unlike the first two films, Mockingjay doesn’t cut anything from the book – which both works in its favour and against it. I liked Part 1 (I gave it 4.5 out of 5 last year) and part 2 maintains the same kind of quality in its scripting, direction, acting and soundtrack. So rather than review all that again I’m going to say what I thought they adapted well and what I thought could have been better.
Before we get to the crux of the finale, there’s a short bit attacking the capitol’s forces in District 2 (featuring Brienne of Tarth/ I mean Gwendoline Christie as the rebel commander there), and Finnick’s wedding to Annie in District 13. Both bits are pretty faithful to the books and both worked well. The film really kicks off when Katniss joins a squad of rebel soldiers in the capitol, including Boggs, Finnick, Gale, Cressida, Castor, Pollux and a still fragile Peeta, determined to assassinate Snow herself. The only problem is that the city is littered with both peacekeepers and pods containing various Hunger Games style death-traps, one of which kills Boggs, leading Katniss to assume command of the squad. Afterwards comes the best section of the film, where while sneaking through the underground sewers to avoid the peacekeeepers, Katniss and the others are ambushed by mutts, this time creepy lizard-human zombie like creatures hissing ‘Katniss’ which cut down most of Katniss’ team, including Finnick. The scene did a good job of making it look like one of the main characters was going to die, and Finnick’s death is definitely the most emotional scene in the film – they got that bit perfect. Shame they didn’t get the second major death scene right – Prim’s death should have been both devastating and shocking – but it just fell a bit flat. The ending itself is true to the book, with Snow’s execution and Katniss and Peeta’s reunion hitting all the right notes – but I can’t help but feel it would have flowed better if they’d cut the 7 tributes voting on a symbolic hunger games – because like with the book the ending is slightly too drawn out.
Overall an emotional, tense conclusion to the Hunger Games series – not quite up to the standard of Catching Fire due to its underwhelming ending but nevertheless its a very, very good film.
Rating 4.5 out of 5
Next film I’ll cover will be Force Awakens at the end of the week – I’ll probably do a series review of episodes 1-6 first.