Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book-to-film review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

The rebellion is out in full force, but does the final instalment end with a blazing inferno or just a warm fizzle? You decide.

What it's about:

At the end of the saga, Katniss Everdeen realises that the stakes are no longer just for survival—they are for the future.

Cast:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

Director:
Francis Lawrence

Release Date:
November 20, 2015

Our Rating: ***

Review first appeared on Women24.com. Check out what our sister site, Channel24 had to say about the movie.

Final instalments in a movie franchise can be a tricky thing. Conclusions in a movie franchise split into two parts are even trickier to pull off.

For one, it’s the movie that reveals whether the decision to split the movie was a good one, and secondly, it’s the definitive and deciding measure as to whether or not the franchise is successful as a whole.

After enjoying the first movie, suffering my way through the second and absolutely loving the penultimate in the third, I find myself feeling rather undecided about the conclusion.

There’s a lot that I loved and didn’t love about the movie. As a film adaptation I think the conclusion of the movie has come to a fitting end.

As a book purist who adored the novels, I feel as if part two was a patchwork collection of snapshots thrown together to form a series of disjointed images that you could only understand had you watched the first movie.

Would it have worked better if it was never split into two in the first place? If it meant sacrificing some of the character driven aspects of the first part of the movie – aspects which I personally loved – then, honestly speaking, I could certainly see this being a much better film.

That said, my overall experience of the film wasn’t entirely a bad one.

Darker, moodier and far more intense than its predecessors, Mockingjay: Part 2 immediately kicks off from where we last left off.  Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) may be back with the rebellion, but the changes and torture he endured in the Capitol is still plainly evident during the first half of the movie.

Hutcherson’s performance as a darker, stronger and far more violent Peeta is impressive this time around; I’ve always thought that he had a lot more potential than he showed in the previous movies and I’m happy to see that he’s really gotten into character in a way that’s as close to the book as possible.

For those complaining about the lack of action in the first movie, plot-driven fans will be a lot happier this time around.  The movie progresses more rapidly than the first one; the new dynamic between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta adding an uneasy element to an already volatile situation.

War is at hand and the stakes are high.  Forced to go underground, the rebel soldiers find themselves traversing through a minefield of deadly traps in order to make their way through the Capitol in order take control and defeat President Snow.

SPOILER ALERT

Lawrence and Donald Sutherland shine in their roles of the two enemies pitted against each other, while Julianne Moore adds an extra level of menace in her role as President Coin.

SPOILER ENDS

I’ve had a lot to say about the movies over  the years, but the one thing that has always been consistent is Lawrence’s excellent embodiment of Katniss Everdeen.

In Mockingjay: Part 2, we see a ruthless, determined and aggressive Lawrence channelling the very spirit of a Katniss Everdeen taken straight from the book, so if you really need a reason to watch the movie, then do watch it for her performance.

The Hunger Games series is the perfect book and movie series that delves deeply into the consequences of war, the ambiguity of all the morally grey areas that come with the price of war and the social, economic and political effects of a dictatorship that had far-reaching consequences.

Overall, the conclusion reaches a mildly satisfying end; the journey through the various movies – despite my mixed feelings - proving far more interesting than the final conclusion. 

Do watch it at the movies though – it should at least be experienced on a big screen.

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