Sean Hill Reviews THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2
Previously on THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1---Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has been rescued from the Quarter Quell games while unconscious and awakens in the never-before-seen District 13, the underground location where a plot to take over the Capitol is forming. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is being held and forcibly indoctrinated by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Under pressure from District 13’s leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss must embrace a role she never really wanted: to be the symbol of the Mockingjay, the symbol of hope. Peeta is eventually rescued from Snow’s grip but is now in a hate-filled trance designed to kill Katniss.
MOCKINGJAY PART 2 picks a few days after the end of previous installment with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) still unable to connect with a brainwashed Peeta. As the Mockingjay, she can see that it is going take more than symbolism to defeat the Capitol. Joining with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), an unpredictable Peeta, Finnick (Sam Claflin), and others, she sets out for the once-thriving Capitol now transformed into a city of mayhem under attack. Her mission is to stage an assassination on Snow. Meanwhile, Snow has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. And a showdown between the two is inevitable.
I am going to review this film in conjunction with one another since they are in fact one film stretched unnecessarily into two films. I was enthusiastic about the first two installments of the series finding the original surprisingly entertaining and the sequel a superior experience. Both films received 4 Stars from me. With the third installment and first half of the finale MOCKINGJAY PART 1, the quality begins to slide, primarily due to there being no “hunger games” in the film. The film relied more on political intrigue rather than the action of the first two films and the quality suffers. The excitement, thrills and suspense are all virtually now non-existent. For an ending to a trilogy that had been so good thus far the finale is somewhat anti-climactic. Instead of being a rousing conclusion like RETURN OF THE JEDI the film plays more like the unsatisfactory and bland THE MATRIX: REVOLUTION. Lots of stuff happens, things get blown up, characters die but there is not much there to hold interest. There is an exciting action sequence which borrows very heavily from television’s THE WALKING DEAD. As exciting as the sequence is, it goes on a bit too long and its effectiveness wears off. It is easy to assume that this and other sequences are extended to inflate the running time of two hours and seventeen minutes. The film is about a half hour too long. The climax, which has been building since CATCHING FIRE, is the most non-satisfying and one of the biggest letdowns I have seen in a long time. Yet the film does not end there. The epilogue is quite unbelievable if earlier events and motivations are to be believed.
Given the MOCKINGJAY films where shot at the time the decision to split them into two parts and releasing them a year apart was a mistake. Realistically the films could have been released six months apart or edited to run about 3hrs. To say that the collective experience of MOCKINGJAY is a disappointment is an understatement. The film drags in places and that just should not be the case for a film of this type. Is the film worth seeing? If you have already invested in PART 1 you are somewhat locked into a need for resolution to the saga. My humble suggestion. Skip the theatrical presentation of PART 2 and have your own MOCKINGJAY viewing party when it is released on home video. If you do not take my advice, prepare to be disappointed.
THE HUNGER GAMES—4 STARS
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE---4 STARS
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY (BOTH FILMS COMBINED---2 STARS