By Naomi Brady, 11th grade
Disclaimer: There are spoilers in this article, so proceed with caution.
Genre: Drama/Action/Fantasy Director: Francis Lawrence Rating: PG-13 Release Date: 11/20/15 Rotten Tomatoes: 70% Metacritic: 65
Based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay Pt.2 picks up where Mockingjay Pt.1 leaves off, with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) recovering from Peeta 2.0’s horrifying assassination attempt, while simultaneously acting as the face of the Districts’ revolution. And also, somewhat pathetically dealing with her feelings for Gale (Liam Hemsworth) who has recently become very interested in developing war strategies with District 13’s President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman), probably to distract himself from Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss’ obvious true love… We’re treated to a lovely scene of Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Annie’s wedding (*cries*) and an entertaining reunion between Katniss and Johanna (Jena Malone) involving morphling, before quickly delving into another episode of Katniss: Rebellious Heroine as she sneaks aboard a supply drone to the front line with the not-so-secret objective of killing President Snow. After being assigned to a special task team (the Star Squad) with supposedly the sole purpose of shooting promos, which Gale, Finnick, and Peeta (gasp!) are also suddenly part of, the group (led by Boggs, Katniss’ fatherly bodyguard/military commander) heads into the booby-trapped Capital, to end the war once and for all.
My Review (Personal Rating: 7/10)
Overall, I feel like the movie Mockingjay Part 2 was a good representation of the last book in the Hunger Games series (though I think the last book was my least favorite out of the 3), and a satisfying, if slightly flawed, conclusion to the film series. It did a good job of communicating the intensity present throughout most of the storyline, and every scene felt new and exciting, even though I already knew what was going to happen (If you were hoping for a last-minute plot change in which certain characters maybe didn’t die, don’t get your hopes up…). In addition to some fantastic character portrayals (particularly by Jennifer Lawrence throughout as Katniss, Mahershala Ali as Boggs, Elden Henson as Pollux, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, and several others), the musical score and cinematography was well done, and was consistent with the underlying tones of war and oppression throughout the film.
Speaking of characters who died, Boggs’ and Finnick’s deaths were positively heartbreaking, and both were received with an intensity of emotion that I was worried might have been lost when translated to film. The scenes in the tunnels, right before the lizard-people appear, were to me the most nail-biting moments in the whole film. The whole situation was a lot more tastefully done than I imagined it being, based on the novel. Once the lizard-mutts showed themselves the scene lost a little bit of its thrill, as it started becoming another prolonged fighting sequence, until the Star Squad finally began escaping up the ladder, and Katniss and Finnick were the only ones left in the tunnel. It was this agonizing moment, when Katniss whispers, “Nightlock, nightlock, nightlock,” after Finnick is pulled back into the tunnel that the film really started to gain momentum, drawing the audience in with a stream of poignant, hyper-affecting scenes crucial to the plot. I felt like his death was such a more powerful and emotional moment in the movie than I remember it being in the book, and though I do wish Finnick had gotten more screen time, I liked how important his character was made out to be throughout the film’s storyline.
Also, I loved Henson’s portrayal of Pollux throughout, but I thought he was especially good in the tunnel scenes, as he led the group through the dark, murky water-filled rooms. The line where Castor explains how Pollux used to work in the tunnels, spending huge amounts of time without seeing the sun, was particularly effective in establishing the tone of the scene, and I really believed his traumatized fearfulness. In general he was remarkably memorable for a character with literally no lines.
On the other hand, probably the most monumental death of the book, Prim’s (played by Willow Shields), was glossed over quickly and with little sentiment. Actually, I’ve been somewhat disappointed by how Katniss’ family has been portrayed throughout the movies; her mother and sister never have many lines, and just do not feel as integral or important to Katniss as they should be. I feel the same about Liam Hemsworth’s representation of Gale; the close relationship between him and Katniss is described briefly but we never really see believable proof. It feels less like a love triangle, and more like a couple with a moody friend whose presence is better felt while off-screen.
Prim’s death, what is supposed to be the final nail in the love triangle’s coffin, has little visible effect on Katniss, and yet simultaneously serves as her reason for exiling Gale; a brief moment with surprisingly little emotional sincerity. Her death was not as big a deal in the movie as I thought it would be, and definitely failed to resonate the way the scene had in the book (especially in regard to the other character’s reactions). The relation between Prim’s death and Katniss choosing to kill President Coin was especially misrepresented, and if done differently could have gave the movie a much more powerful ending. It definitely felt like the last few scenes of the film were simply included to pay homage to the novel, and were slightly disjointed from the rest of the movie.
Despite the unrealistic (I mean what was Katniss wearing?) and slightly sexist, anti-thematic final scene (that whole chubby-baby-sequence at the very end was kind of awkward and unbelievable for her), I was still satisfied with the ending overall, and actually liked the way the film extended the epilogue more than in the book, even though it was somewhat cheesy and didn’t flow that well with the immensity of the scenes immediately preceding. I thought the parts showing how Katniss and Peeta reconnect after the war, particularly when Peeta first arrives in the Victor’s Village with the flowers (Primroses!) were especially touching, not to mention my favorite quote, “You love me, real or not real?’ ‘Real”. I do wish it would’ve been made clear that Katniss didn’t just immediately go off after the war to have children, though; the final image misrepresents a lot of what I think the book was trying to communicate through its epilogue, and contradicts so much of what we’ve come to know about Katniss, and her personality, throughout the 4 films.
(P.S If you have not seen any of the Hunger Games movies, do not unnecessarily put yourself through the emotional rollercoaster that is Mockingjay Pt.2. It’s a terrible introduction to the series and will probably lead to intense confusion: start with The Hunger Games, or better yet, with the books, which are always better than the movies anyway…)
Favorite Quote: “You love me, real or not real?” “Real.”
Most Memorable Scene: Finnick’s Death, “Nightlock… nightlock… nightlock.”
Caution: Movie may induce extreme anxiety, jumpiness, and high levels of stress-sweat. Also very loud (there’s a large amount of engine noise that probably could’ve been avoided) and grey.