Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 - Move Review

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, directed by Francis Lawrence, is the final installment in the Hunger Games saga which is based off the best selling novels written by Suzanne Collins. The movie features a star filled cast which includes Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, and Gwendoline Christie.

The Story:
After the attacks on District 13, Katniss Everdean (Lawrence) has decided to take the fight directly to the capitol in an effort to kill President Snow once and for all. Of course, Snow has plans of his own and the political chess game between him and the rebellion's leader, President Coin, is about to come to a head. Meanwhile Katniss is still struggling with her feelings for both Peeta (Hutcherson) and Gale (Hemsworth) although she's really mad so winning the war is first and foremost in her mind.

The Review:
As I have watched this series unfold, I have been entertained by each installment although I have to say I have also very much been ready for it to be over. I completely understand why the studio split the third book into two movies although, from a pure story telling standpoint, it really slowed everything down and killed the momentum the first two movies were able to build up. What's strange to me is I feel that, even with twice as much time to tell the story, there was actually less focus on character and I felt like several key players had really minor contributions to this film and got lost in the shuffle of getting Katniss to the Capitol.

I also felt like there could and should have been more of a climactic finale and stronger emotional punches when it came to wrapping up the major plot threads like Katniss' love triangle as well as her rivalry with President Snow (Sutherland). Both just sort of end and the whole movie slowly winds down and just sort of comes to an end. The one scene that is supposed to be the big splash moment to bring everything a head is so predictable I was over it well before it ultimately played out on screen. All of that being said, there is still a lot to like about this film as there is some great action and it's fun to see this crazy cast of characters do their thing on the big screen one more time.

I really liked how the rebellion ends up forming a commando squad around Katniss and some of the best scenes in the movie are ones where they are fighting their way through the capitol and fending off a constant barrage of enemies and traps. The camaraderie between members of the team, several of which are Hunger Games winners, makes for a nice twist on the cutthroat nature of the previous games we saw play out in the first two movies. There's not really much to say about the acting other than none of it is bad and Jennifer Lawrence continues to prove why she is one of Hollywood's brightest stars, even when she's surrounded by a cast full of heavyweight talents like Sutherland, Julianne Moore, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Verdict:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is a solid, entertaining effort and decent way to wrap up the franchise although I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed and wanting it to have made a much bigger splash at the end. I have not and will not be seeing the movie in IMAX mainly because none of the scenes were filmed using IMAX cameras so standard 2D presentation is just fine.


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