Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the final battle that will decide the fate of Panem.Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the final battle that will decide the fate of Panem.Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the final battle that will decide the fate of Panem.
Jennifer Lawrence Through the Years
While Part 1 of the film served to set up the revolution of the districts against the Capitol while interweaving some brilliant political propaganda, Part 2 focuses entirely on the fight against President Snow. We follow Katniss and her fellow soldiers - known collectively as Squad 451 - through the booby-trapped streets of the Capitol as our heroine sets out to fulfil her self-proclaimed mission of assassinating the ruthless dictator. Part 2 is not short of action in any sense of the word and the plot is gripping from start to finish. Additionally, the subtler and more emotional subplot detailing the rehabilitation of Peeta Mellark was brilliantly executed. That being said, the moment the movie starts, we are thrown right into the action. It's almost as if someone hit pause back in November 2014 and waited a full year to resume the film. There is no "ease in" to the story, so if you haven't seen Part 1, watch it first
As per the usual standard for this franchise, the acting is nothing short of incredible. Jennifer Lawrence continues to carry the weight of the entire series on her shoulders and her excellent portrayal of Katniss' emotions helps the viewers feel more connected to the plot. She continues to embody Katniss' emotional conflicts so superbly that there's no questioning that without Lawrence, the franchise would not be as good as it is. Of course, the supporting cast is as strong as ever, yet two actors really stand out in Part 2: Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Hutcherson does such a fantastic job of portraying Peeta's internal conflict following his torture in the Capitol, especially as he works on "figuring Katniss out." He masterfully relays Peeta's emotions as he strives to keep his disturbed mind balanced, and these scenes prove to be some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching scenes in the entire series. Sutherland, on the other hand, fully embraces Snow's character as he slowly slips into delirium over his obsession with killing Katniss (think Voldemort from "Harry Potter" but in the form of an evil Santa Claus). His portrayal of the dictator is so terrifyingly good that it continually sends shivers down the viewers' spines.
Over the years, the production value of the franchise has progressively improved; as such, Part 2's production is nothing short of perfection. The cinematography is truly breathtaking and helps capture the emotional punch of the film wonderfully. The visual effects are top-notch (for perhaps the first time across the entire franchise), as are the costumes and character designs. The editing was so masterfully done that the end result is a film that is intense, gripping, and dark in tone from start to finish. James Newton Howard's score for the film is simply amazing and is easily his best "Hunger Games" score. He expertly weaves in themes from the previous three films while simultaneously introducing new melodies that only elevate the tone and emotions of the film. While "The Hanging Tree" (Part 1's stand-out song) only returns in instrumental form, director Francis Lawrence was able to coax Jennifer Lawrence into singing yet another song from the franchise that Howard worked expertly into his "Hunger Games Suite" that plays over the credits and will genuinely surprise and please fans.
Now, to close out my review, it is finally time to answer the million- dollar question: Was a two-part adaptation for "Mockingjay" truly necessary? Last year, in my review for Part 1, I said that I was still unsure whether the split was necessary, yet Part 1 held the potential to prove it was a good move. However, after seeing Part 2, and considering the "Mockingjay" adaptation as a whole, the simple answer to this burning question is this: No, a two-part adaptation was not necessary. Part 1 could have (and should have) been easily streamlined into a 40-minute film and slapped onto Part 2 to create a singular, three-hour film. While that is rather long to sit in a theatre, it would achieve the same effect that "Mockingjay" was going for without all the unnecessary fluff that Part 1 and segments of Part 2 contain. Unlike "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", which was split because the story really demanded it, it is sadly evident that "Mockingjay" was split purely for greed. That being said, Francis Lawrence handled the adaptations so brilliantly that both parts of "Mockingjay" are fantastic in their own right and both should be held with high regard.
Ultimately, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2" brings this dystopian film franchise to a brilliant conclusion. While 2013's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" still holds the crown for being the best film in the series in terms of the adaptation and the pacing, "Mockingjay Part 2" is the most satisfying of the four films and it sends the franchise off with a proper farewell.
Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favour.
- Nov 22, 2015