THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2

The Hunger Games is one of the best Young Adult book and movie franchises of all time, the books I couldn’t put down and the movies have been impressive making squillions and seeing J-Law skyrocket to the highest paid actress on the planet. They are produced well and break the norm and prove that female lead action heroes can make huge box office, why then was I not over the moon in love with this finale? THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 is out now from the peeps at Roadshow Films. It is rated M and runs for 137mins.

 

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Katniss Teaser Poster image

 

BY JASON KING

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 ticks most of the boxes but overall fails for me. It’s biggest failure, that has been proven over the weekend with opening box office results, is that interest has waned. I theorise it’s because they dragged the crap out of releasing the last two parts. MOCKINGJAY parts 1 and 2 were filmed at the same time yet they decided to give them a year between release – Harry Potter’s finales were only seven months apart and while the Twilight finale’s were a year apart the movies as a whole were released closer together, it has also hurt MOCKINGJAY because Star Wars and James Bond have been flooding the movie news world and taking away attention.

 

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | War Squad image

 

MOCKINGJAY PART 2 is the climax of the story, the battle that has been brewing since the first day President Snow pissed Katniss off – the showdown was inevitable, you knew it would arrive as soon as you saw Katniss say the words “I volunteer as tribute.” The districts have mostly joined Alma Coin’s movement with Katniss as its figurehead and power is overtaking Coin’s desire to do good, she has elevated now in power to match President Snow and she is getting drunk on the power and slipping away from doing everything that is right, whereas Katniss is looked at like a messiah, a religious icon who is for and one of the people.

As such this installment is a look at the corrupting force of power and circle of war we (and the people of Panem) never learn from. War destroys all who enter it, Katniss is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder golden child. She is basically a walking zombie who has scars healed over scars and these scars cover the endless pit of emotional scars. She goes from one fight to the next and the entire time has to deal with Coin trying to turn them all into propaganda pieces, Peeta and Snow wanting to kill her and the possibility of anyone she loves being killed at any moment. The audience soon realises in this installment that Coin is probably no better or worse than Snow, a further drama for Katniss to deal with.

 

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Peeta and Katniss image

 

The cast is just brilliant, overall we are probably looking at the strongest franchise cast of all time. They know how to act their asses off. Lawrence is a master of her craft and is talented beyond her years, her portrayal of the emotionally burned Katniss is remarkable, but it is this emotional burn on Katniss, on everyone, on the entire movie that also brings it down, the movie is depressing, it is the Deathly Hallows installment, it is dark, the movie is basically achromatic and this post apocalyptic world that is lacking in colour, lacking in emotions and lacking in anything but pain is incredibly draining on the viewer, I was worn out by the end. Oh, by mostly the end – the epilogue scene should never have been put in the movie, it is dreadful and so cheesy that even Bella and Edward would be clapping it in their gay little glittery vampire world.

Liam Hemsworth is fine as Gale but they really didn’t do much with his character in this one besides the epic and most violent of friend-zone relegations at the end. Josh Hutcherson gives his best performance in this as the recovering torture/ brain re-wired PTSD victim and all the support actors are just brilliant but all underutilised. Harrelson, Sutherland, Moore all sublime and I got a bit choked up seeing Hoffman onscreen in what will be the last thing he will be seen in on the big screen. Claflin is brilliant as Finnick, a character I very much loved from the books, Elizabeth Banks, who has one of the strongest performances in the entire franchise is again on target as always.

I loved the smaller characters played by Natalie Dormer, Mahershala Ali and Stanley Tucci but these characters are also pretty much backbenched. And finally I squealed seeing Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) onscreen and impressed with Patina Miller as Commander Paylor as I am loving Madam Secretary and she is one of the crew in that.

 

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Katniss image

 

Director Francis Lawrence does good, he is a visual director but to me he did go over the top with the desaturation of colours to emphasise the bleakness of the world. He did good with showing political evils on screen, the simple fact the front of Coins hair is pure white symbolised the creeping of power into her like the death strands of white hair in Rogue in X-Men – it is basically saying that Snow’s legacy is beginning in her. And Coin’s eyes, always so untrustworthy and bloody creepy. Loved this about the movie, it never spells it out like the audience is dumb, there is one scene where Coin breaks over the broadcast from Snow about mid-movie and for a second or two their faces overlapped – brilliant!!

The visuals of flying craft and warfare are amazing, I want those ships!!! And the action sequences in the tunnels underground made the movie for me, it was like World War Z and Katniss embraced her long lost relative, Legolas for that bow work – I was cheering – so good!! This scene was epic and much needed in the movies dreariness.

But the ending let me down, it was horrible and evil but I felt short-changed, I wanted a fight with Katniss storming the residence of Snow, sadly, the bombs start going off and then it’s all over bar the party and stupid Twilight-esque sugary sweet vomit epilogue, it rounded out too quick and I felt let down by this, it lacked the climax we deserved but, hey, it is the story so shut up JK :).

 

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Alma Coin image

 

Over all it was a decent end to the franchise, compared to the first two movies it was disappointing but I think my disappointment lies in the large gap between movies. I am looking forward to watching them all on Blu Ray over a weekend where I think they will fit together much better than their individual outings.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

 

Jason King is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).