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The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 (2015) Movie Review

My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .

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MPAA Rating

PG-13

Running Time

137 minutes

Director

Francis Lawrence

Writers

Peter Craig and Danny Strong

By the time the end credits finally roll around to finish the Hunger Games franchise, it becomes frustratingly (and abundantly) clear that the contemptuous cash grab that was splitting the final Hunger Games novel into 2 overly-long movies when the elements were there for one singularly great finale was a terrible idea. Though “only” moviegoers had to deal with the consequences, as everyone else involved seems to be rolling in it.

You’d think the filmmakers would have taken the audience more into consideration since the past couple of years have shown that there’s a chance a crazy white person with super-easy access to guns could just show up and start shooting. You‘d want them to get a head start to the exits instead of being lulled into a stupor by dialogue scenes that go nowhere.

As long as Lionsgate gets their money churning out middling to average product, forget the filmgoers.

How bad was the decision to split Mockingjay into 2 parts?

So bad it killed Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I hadn’t seen MJ1 since last November as it felt like a really long trailer and we had to wait a year to get any kind of payoff.

It’s a year later. MJ2 starts where MJ1 left off. We’re still waiting…

Synopsis

Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, a Keebler elf) has his mind “hijacked” by the Capitol and has just finished trying to choke Katniss to death. He’s lucky he could actually reach her.

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, not making as much as her male peers) has just been choked by Peeta. She’s okay because Peeta has such wee hands, much like a doll or a flipper baby.

Gale (Liam Hemsworth, still not Chris Hemsworth) continues to fight and pine for Katniss and wonders how she could have feelings for an Oompa Loompa like Peeta. Don’t worry Gale, everyone in the audience thinks you’d be a better match for Katniss as well. The character’s one dimension throughout 4 movies has shown us that.

The Rebellion is at a tipping point. Not entirely sure what that means but since we’re at the final movie, everything will be over soon.

The first act of MJ2 is filled with chunks of redundant exposition which no doubt fill the “epic” running time but tests the audience’s tolerance. It’s not that I found it hard to follow, it’s that after having one overly-talky scene after another, I realized I didn’t care which District had what or how it’s important to the rebellion. After MJ1 and the sluggish start to MJ2, you just don‘t care anymore.

Such a shame considering how well-paced The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were.

Anyway…

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The president of the rebellion Alma Coin (Julianne Moore, layering her character’s ruthless ambition) is close to being able to assault the Capitol, but she needs the weapons from District 2 (AKA the Compton District). There are loyalists in D2, but fortunately the rebels have the Mockingjay as an effective act of persuasion.

Katniss is more than willing to continue being the Mockingjay after she’s seen what old President Cheney, um, Snow (Donald Sutherland) has done to Peeta and what he’ll continue to do to all of Panem if his reign of terror continues.

Katniss takes it upon herself to kill Snow by her own arrow and to prove that not all people with bow-and-arrows are ineffectual like Hawkeye.

Katniss and Gale and Black-Guy-Who-Will-Probably-Die go into District 2 where Katniss is promptly shot but she’s White-Girl-That-Will-Definitely-Live as she’s the star of the film and we’re only 20 minutes in.

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Coin sees the benefits of Katniss’ possible death as she could be more effective as a martyr than as the Mockingjay. That ball is still in play as now the Rebellion has enough firepower to lay siege to the Capital. Soon, all the Districts will converge on the Capitol, except District 6, which is known as the “District with an inordinate amount of p*ssies”.

Katniss now sees that being just a symbol isn’t really going to get her far in her goal to kill Snow on her own. She takes off in secret to find Gale and whatever other soldiers she can find.

When Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) find out Katniss ditched, they are initially pissed but since they can’t publicly reprimand the Mockingjay, the best they can hope for is that she’ll succeed…or that she’ll die. In fact, Katniss getting killed in spectacular fashion would be much better as Clinton, uh, Coin really, really wants to be President.

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What Works With Mockingjay-Z Part 2 - Silver Arrows Playbook

  • You only had to wade through 3 hours of clunky pacing, but in its final hour Mockingjay finally reaches some kind of emotional weight as the series gets a much better ending than it deserved, considering its pasty and weak-tea setup. Like Spectre, all remaining audience goodwill is from the previous franchise highlights Games and Catching Fire, as the Mockingjays have done nothing but be the weak link(s) in what could have been a great series.
  • In just a handful of scenes, newly minted Oscar-Winner Julianne Moore shows more shades of grey than just her hair. After MJ2 is said and done, it’s Coin you remember while you exit the theater as J-Law, not Chris Hemsworth, and Lil’ P-Nut just seem tired playing the roles.
  • This is more Suzanne Collins’ source material more than having anything to do with the film, but the movie’s climax is a balanced mixture of drama and action, not just the empty FX orgy you’d assume from the final film (See, or definitely don’t see the newly released Extended Edition of The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies, because we all remember thinking “Gee, The Hobbit really needs to be longer…”). The reveals are genuinely shocking and makes you wish the majority of the Mockingjays were as good as the final act.

What Doesn’t Work With Mockingjay Part 2

  • Speaking of that bloated series, MJ2 pulls a reverse Hobbit in that it saps the filmgoers’ patience with blocky dialogue instead of empty spectacle. If the audience isn’t emotionally invested either way, then people begin checking their phones more than usual.
  • Oh what could have been. The first two Games were great entertainment with a smattering of subversive political commentary. Though the bar was high, you’d think the filmmakers set an achievable goal to keep it going. This time commerce won out over story. MJ1 and MJ2 don’t quite derail the Hunger Games series, but it’s certainly not from a lack of trying.
  • Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks are given the short straw in terms of screen time. You’d think with all the unnecessary scenes that pollute Mockingjay, why would you shrift 2 of the more accomplished performers?
How are you so short?

How are you so short?

Overall

The Hunger Games series started with a bang but ends with a whimper. If you’ve made it through the first 3 movies, there’s nothing that’ll stop you from finishing them off. You’ll just wonder why it feels like so much work.

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Buy Mockingjay Part 2 Here!

Comments

Sam Shepards from Europe on December 31, 2019:

Yes, I know.

Noel Penaflor (author) from California on December 26, 2019:

I've only seen the 1st Maze Runner and none of the Divergents. You are officially a better person than I am.

Sam Shepards from Europe on December 26, 2019:

I made it through the first two movies and part of the third, but lost interest. Well, I only made it one movie in the divergent series and 1.5 in Maze runner, it seems these young adult dystopias are not my cup of tea, but you can't say I haven't tried.