After two fantastic additions to The Hunger Games franchise, director Francis Lawrence is back to direct the fourth and final instalment in the series. It’s an understatement to say I am glad he did.
Last year, he left us hanging, yearning, for Mockingjay – Part 2 and now that the film is finally out, it’s bittersweet. Fans like myself spent years following the journey of Katniss from a volunteer to an opponent of Snow, to a rebel — radical as the president calls her — to the symbol of the rebellion: the Mockingjay.
Throughout, Jennifer Lawrence has failed to disappoint as she embodies Katniss fully; she has been able to capture the essence of the character and has brought it to life by portraying her insecurities and internal struggles with excellence. Part 2 is no exception to this. If anything, this is her best acting to date. Here, Katniss is more broken, in pain, perplexed, and proactive than any of the previous films. This is still her show.
Another standout is Josh Hutcherson. In the original Hunger Games he was okay. Nothing to brag about. Now, however, four years later — he is fantastic. Playing the ‘hijacked’ Peeta he proves he has the acting chops necessary for the role. The subtle, and not so subtle, nuances of his performance bring his character to life, they make you form a stronger emotional connection with him. Not everyone makes it until the end.
Donald Sutherland is yet again fantastic as President Snow. The complexity of the antagonist is so multilayered and manipulative that if he is locked in a room with me, tied to a chair, with a gun to his head and he says “I am going to kill you.” I will fall for it, I will believe him. Though Snow never really lies to Katniss. He simply shows her how everything looks from his perspective, which the ‘bad’ one according to Katniss. But is it really?
The supporting cast also does a phenomenal job. Moore, Dormer, Harrelson, Banks and everyone else are really good, including Liam Hemsworth who is now actually acting.
Call it a “cash grab” all you want but it’s undeniable that both parts have room to breathe. Had it all been one movie, it would have felt rushed. In my opinion, watching both films back-to-back is the best way to enjoy them. If you can — all four. Regardless, the split is a good thing.
There is no need to try and summarise the final instalment as you are better off seeing it without having read the plot. Basically, it takes place a little while after Katniss’s strangling, you know, Peeta was brainwashed.
As a continuation it’s a great and satisfying ending. To those reviewers who said you are lost without having seen the previous entries: It’s the same with every franchise! Of course you will be lost. The film manages to tie all the loose ends and conclude the story.
The pacing is great, Part 2 feels neither rushed nor slow. Most scenes take their time and have a purpose; there are no time-fillers. The action scenes could have been a bit longer but I am by no means complaining. Every action scene makes you grip your seat, your heart race as you don’t know what to expect… if you have not read the books. Even then there are surprises. The dark and grim tone of the film fit it like Cinderella’s glass shoe as it makes the stakes feel even higher and hits you emotionally when it needs to.
There are some moments when you aren’t sure if there is a scene missing but when you think about it later on, it’s only logical some things to not make sense. As Katniss develops and changes, she discovers some big revelations and when you see the big picture, everything adds up.
Last year, Part 1 was snubbed, not exaggerating, snubbed at the Oscars in terms of technical achievements. This year, the film needs to be put in not only on the tech side of things but also in some major categories such as Best Director, Actress, Cinematography. It has incredible, breathtaking production design and visual effects. Bringing the Capitol to life is times harder than putting explosions here and there or flying cars. In addition, the sets are gorgeous and the make-up artists have done their job ideally.
Some of you may wonder if the film is worth seeing in 3D. Sure, it wasn’t filmed in that format, however, some films’ conversion is better than others’ shoot with 3D cameras. There are no pop-out moments but the third dimension does add another dimension to the film, more depth, more realism. So yes, it’s worth seeing in 3D.
Mockingjay: Part 2 is an exceptional conclusion to the franchise as it provides closure and satisfies every fan of the series. It fantastically blends the action and scope of Catching Fire with the political intrigue and PTSD aspects of Part 1 into a memorable and thrilling ride that only goes up in order to bring the best YA franchise to a high-note ending with hardly making any mistakes.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is my favourite of the franchise, real or not real? Real.