We’re finally here! The closing film to the BOOK trilogy, FILM quadrilogy (?) Mockingjay Part 2! It feels a little bit like the wait has lasted a lifetime, though I also haven’t really felt any hype surrounding this film (apart from the moment Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Dormer accidentally kissed at the premiere, but who wouldn’t be hyped about that). Having said that, me and my party did immediately book tickets to see it at the O2 Sky Superscreen on release date – was it worth it? …Undecided.
One thing that I will quickly mention before moving on to the actual movie is the teaser for this movie was impeccable – you’ll find it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-zYI2gzFNs This is the one thing prior to the movie trailer that had me SO excited for this movie.
I read the books a long time ago, so I feel like some of the hype is perhaps wasted on me because I already know what is going to happen. But at the same time, it was the main reason why I was so silently excited to finally see the closing chapter to this epic story depicted on screen. The Hunger Games, as a concept and a world, is something so unique that I was always worried about how it was going to turn out on film, as it seemed impossible. When you’re dealing with a place like the Capitol, you have to be careful with how you depict it, because the people who have read the books will have such different images of the people and the places that you read about from the next person who reads it. So, in a way, Francis Lawrence has to convince us all that his imagining of the book is the best way, and create nothing too contradicting so that we can easily sit back and accept his imagination. I had already put all my faith in Francis Lawrence for imagining the Arena from the second movie exactly how I had imaged it when reading it. But the last book, and the Capitol are monsters compared to the second arena.
Overall, I was fairly impressed with the performances. I guess no one really had to prove themselves in this film because the audience are already familiar with the characters. My only issue was actually with Katniss. I don’t like Katniss. I didn’t like her in the books, and I’m not overly keen on her in the films. I’m not sure whether Jennifer Lawrence’s performance was just flat in this film (which I find incredible hard to believe) or Katniss really is just this emotionless husk by this point, but I just don’t like her. I do think it is more the latter though, which is half admirable, half annoying. Katniss is a complicated character, because throughout the whole story, she doesn’t really want to be this icon of a revolution. She finds the make up, and the speeches, and the propos absolute bullshit, and sees them for the propaganda they are. So I do quite like that you get to see the human side of the face of a revolution and see that they don’t really want to do it, and that her suffering has kind of been idolised. But it also makes her incredibly hard to connect to when you are seeing her go through extremely traumatic situations. Josh Hutcherson was brilliant as a hijacked Peeta, and the surrounding cast, including Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore and Sam Claflin were all fantastic too.
I think one of my problems of the film, as well as the people who I went to see the movie with, was the pacing. There is little debate over whether the film should have been split in two, and I am of the argument that thinks yes, it should have been. But it also made for quite a lot of slow exposition, and then fast paced action right until the end of the movie. This, however, can’t really be avoided, as this is just how the book works. If you think about it this way, Part 1 is almost entirely exposition and build up for Part 2, as the book is split in half and this is generally how the structure of books work. There were just parts of exposition that could have perhaps been slimmed down and put into the first part, so the second part could concentrate almost solely on the full out war that takes place.
The Capitol, with all its wonderfully creative and deadly pods, is amazing, I thought. You get the real sense that no where is safe to anyone outside of the Capitol, and they really are trying to make a game of their deaths, described with full on cheese by Finnick as ‘the 76th Hunger Games’ ( add to unnecessary dialogue 101). My absolute favourite part was the appearance of the Mutts. These creatures terrified me in the books, and terrified me even more in the film. If you’ve played any of the game Resistance, and are familiar with the running Chimera from the second game, you will know what I mean (long winded comparison, but worth it to the few who know what I mean…I hope.) I’m glad that the Capitol in all its fucked up glory was brought to life appropriately. But I’m also glad that in both the film and the books we don’t get to see all of the Capitol – what other terrors that lay beneath the pods are all up to our imagination! And from what we’ve seen, they really have no limits.
Two problems I really did have with the films – firstly, Katniss’ perfection. This girl is supposed to have gone through absolute hell, been shot at, burnt, near explosions, etc. You name it, she’s probably gone through it. Yet…she manages to look perfect and untouched throughout the whole film? You could say that ‘off screen’, she is managed to look that way for the propos, but considering that we aren’t shown even a slight hint of that, I doubt that is true. It really removed me from the film at times when you’re supposed to think Katniss is going through hell yet she looks completely untouched. My second problem was the soundtrack. The soundtrack of a film is something that I usually pay attention to on the second or third viewing of the film, considering that if it is done well, you shouldn’t really notice it in the first place. However, I just absolutely hated the soundtrack for this movie. I’m not entirely sure why, and will probably offer a better comment if I see it again, but it just made me feel like I was seeing a typical action movie. I don’t feel like it really complimented what was happening on screen at all, and at times really removed me from the film. It’s a huge shame because I really wanted to be emotionally involved with this movie, and the soundtrack is usually something the audience sub-conciously turns to to have a hint as to what they are supposed to be feeling, but I just really didn’t get that from this movie, unfortunately.
All in all, I enjoyed this movie. I’m happy that we have finally reached the dark side of the Hunger Games, and start to see how messed up Politics can be, as I find it extremely topical and relevant. I adore the concept on the Hunger Games, and am sad to see it come to an end. However, I do feel like this last film, paired with the first part, may be a bit hit and miss for the audience. It’s incredibly different, tonally, as it becomes a lot more political and serious, but I think some people will really enjoy that. If you allow yourself to get lost in the story and truly believe the world which we are being shown, then I think that you will enjoy it. The film doesn’t really have anything amazing or special to offer, but the few twists and turns that the movie takes us on really packs a punch.