The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
I still remember lining up at a local theater for the midnight screening of The Hunger Games. I had just started Chasing Cinema, and I still wasn’t on any lists for press screenings. The line was crazy long; people were dressed up and even holding Suzanne Collins’s books. It was in 2008 when Collins published the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy, and all three were done by 2010. They had gained significant popularity, hence the studios quickly buying the rights and releasing a film only two years later. Now, seven years after the book was published comes the final chapter in this incredibly popular film franchise.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is the concluding chapter of the war against Panem. The districts, led by Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), must all stand together as an army to take down President Snow (Donald Sutherland). All while everything Katniss loves and has fought for, hangs in the balance. The picture was directed by Francis Lawrence, who has directed every Hunger Games film besides the first. Catching Fire was my favorite of the series, but my least favorite was Mockingjay Part 1. So, going into this movie, my expectations were mixed. Will Lawrence bring it hard for the finale? Or is he over it? Because that’s what it seemed like with Part 1.
There is an excellent film that lies somewhere in Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2, unfortunately apart they both make for mediocre movies. I think splitting up the third book, Mockingjay, was the biggest mistake this franchise made. It dragged out something that should have already ended. It was like they took the lean meat from the book and stuck it in Part 1 and took all the juicy fat and stuck that in Part 2. That, making two uneven movies, instead of cutting an even amount of both and combining them into one effective film. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 isn’t a bad movie—it just isn’t great either.
I think by adding in an unnecessary, extra film I had lost my interest and investment in Katniss, Peta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), and the rest of the gang. Don’t get me wrong, there is some good stuff in this movie, it just didn’t mean as much as it should have. Lawrence gives a marvelous performance that is no longer a surprise, and there are two or three great action set pieces. But my biggest issues with the film fall when we reach the third act. My issues with the end of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, were not with how it ended, but more how it was presented. I felt the two most pivotal moments in the third act are shot entirely wrong.
Unfortunately, the parts I have problems with contain major spoilers, so I won’t reveal what they are but I explain my concern. So, in one moment a character is injured or killed, but it happens so quickly and at such a distance that it has no effect on the audience. A major death, but since I didn’t have a close-up, or a moment to take in what happened, the death felt like it meant nothing—I had no emotional response to it. The other moment is another moment where a character is injured or killed. This death also takes place during a full shot, making the character in focus, but not the focus. Also rendering this death as something I accept but have no response too.
Now, Francis Lawrence is a talented filmmaker, and I’m sure with good reason he chose to shoot these two moments in that way, but I feel he was wrong. But, now as I write this review, I realize it might not have even been the angle or focus. It could just be that I was so over Katniss and the Games at this point, that I simply didn’t care—either way, it’s not the way I wanted this game to end.
-By Jacob Tiranno
In case you missed our video review for this week, check it out below: