Check out Josh and Violet’s male vs. female perspective reviews of Mockingjay – Part 2, the final installment of The Hunger Games franchise, which follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the Girl on Fire!
His Movie Review of Mockingjay – Part 2:
The final installment of The Hunger Games is finally here. The final movie, titled The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 released Friday (or Thursday night at 7pm). As people who have read the three books or seen the movies know, the film follows the rebellious hero Katniss Everdeen, and her journey through two “Hunger Games”–matches to the death, with contestants picked at random from the various “Districts” in the world of Panem. We’ve then seen the start of the uprising between the Capitol/President Snow and the Districts/President Coin, with Coin using Katniss as her mascot to rally the troops behind her cause. Katniss has been a bit of a stick in the mud the entire process with whoever she is working with, which is part of the reason the character probably has such broad appeal to readers/viewers. The final film was directed by Francis Lawrence, who directed all but the first movie, and stars Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and of course we all know, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.
This movie picks up a little after the third movie–with Katniss being tended to from her wounds that the now crazed Peeta inflicted on her. At this point, Katniss has resolved to help President Coin and the rebellion so that President Snow can be taken down once and for all.
But things don’t go as well as Katniss would like. Much like the last movie, Coin would rather use Katniss as a propaganda piece, filming very staged actions to rally the Districts, rather than what Katniss would like to do–actually be on the front lines. While Peeta deals with his mental issues, Katniss comes to the decision that she will find a way to the frontlines–so that she can be the one to kill President Snow. She finds a way to get to the battlefield, but again things don’t go quite as planned, especially when the deranged Peeta shows up.
****I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I feel to give this movie a fair review, I have to discuss some plot points. Some minor spoilers will be discussed below!***
I first think I should discuss the books, very briefly, as I think it is relevant to the review of the movie. I read all three books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first one. In fact, I think I would have rather stopped there. The second book was good, but a step down, and I think the third book was a big mess. The reason I feel my feelings on the book are relevant, is because I think the movie tries too hard to remain faithful to the book, so a lot of the flaws that were in the book transferred through to the movie.
One big problem I had with the movie, is the scale of the film felt extremely small. When you see the area where President Snow held his parade announcements, the area is massive! But, when it came down to the battlefield–viewers saw none of it. The only parts we see of this supposed massive war is the very end, which looks more like a small rebel uprising, than an actual war. Towards the end of the movie, President Snow calls all Capitol refugees to come to his mansion for relief. How can the entire Capitol’s population possibly fit outside a mansion? Sure it is big, but it isn’t THAT big. Maybe my vision of this world is a lot bigger than the books/movies intended, but this feels more like a medieval peasant uprising to their lord rather than a worldwide event. This made the rest of the book feel not very impactful, and cheapened the whole experience of the movie I feel like.
Other issues I had with the movie had to deal with how major deaths were handled. Spoiler–people do die in this war. But this film basically glosses over them, particularly one important one, and the impact of it is gone in an instant. This important one was handled exactly the same way in the book, and at the time I remember turning to Violet and asking if this character was dead or not because I felt the book didn’t portray it well enough.
There were a lot of story issues I had with the movie too. I really felt characters were not consistent in their roles at all. For example, we see Gale work with Beetee on what looks to be some tactical missions/weapons. Then later in the movie, it seems as though Gale is just some common military “grunt,” who doesn’t really have any commanding abilities. Again, this was an issue I think that was brought over from the book.
Visually, the movie looked pretty good–for the most part. There were a few scenes which I thought looked horrid though. For example, after a “trap” goes off in the Capitol, a military group is walking around the town to evaluate their position as to their next movement. Rather than be interested in the story, I could not help but look at the background and see how flat the scenery looked, clearly being a green screen. The scene had just apartment-like housing around the area, but it looked two dimensional, like a backdrop for a stage play. Then there is another scene towards the end of the movie, where we see Katniss and Gale trying to stay ahead of danger approaching from behind, but the backdrop is so clearly a green screen, I was taken out of the movie instantly, and rather than being on the edge of my seat, I was almost laughing to myself because it seemed so fake.
I was also very disappointed with the ending of the movie, and that part did not convey what I thought was sort of the overarching story of both Katniss and who she ends up with in the end (I guess I won’t spoil that!). I think that this was watered down from what it should have been, and it pinned the nail in the coffin into how much I didn’t really enjoy the movie. The best aspect of the final book for me was the epilogue, and I had high hopes for this. Unfortunately, I think the movie missed the mark here.
While I am pretty negative on the movie, there are some positives to it. My favorite scene in the movie was the sewer scene, where Katniss and her group have to take on a hoard of Mutts and try to make an escape. Big blockbuster movies now seem to be trying to mimic the success of The Avengers and its awesome fight sequences. We saw this in Jurassic World when the various dinosaurs show up to take down the big, bad dinosaur, and we now saw it here, where each character gets its own little fight sequence. It was done very well, and I thoroughly enjoyed these few minutes of the movie.
To wrap things up, I did like this a little better than the previous film, but unfortunately not by much. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did what most people want with book-adapted movies, and stuck close to the source material. This, for me was its undoing, as the book was not particularly interesting to me, and those issues conveyed right through to the movie. I would give this movie a 6 out of 10.
Her Movie Review of Mockingjay – Part 2:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 marks the fourth and final installment of The Hunger Games films that are based on the trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, with the third book having been split into two films. Francis Lawrence, who directed the previous two films, also directs this final film. Additionally, we see the return of the star-studded cast from the previous films, including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Julianne Moore, to name a few.
Just to give you a quick recap of what happened in the previous movies, after particpating for the second time in the Hunger Games, a fight-to-the death arena, the rebels rescued Katniss when she shot an arrow into the arena wall, which electrified and destroyed the arena. Since then, the rebels have been using Katniss as their Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion. The rebels successfully completed a mission to rescue Peeta, her fellow District 12 tribute, who had been captured by the Capitol. However, it turns out that Peeta had been brainwashed, and attacked Katniss upon their reunion.
Mockingjay – Part 2 picks up pretty soon after Mockingjay – Part 1 left off, with Katniss recovering from Peeta attacking her. She gets well enough to be sent out into the middle of the war zone and continues her job as the Mockingjay, speaking on behalf of the rebels, inciting the districts to take a stand against the evil Capitol. She later joins up with rebel soldiers, including Gale and Finnick, and pretends to follow orders, but really she has her own secret mission in mind: kill President Snow. As the soldiers close in on the Capitol, they soon discover that they’ll be going up against traps that the Capitol has placed throughout the city, and that they’re essentially participating in what equates to the 76th Hunger Games.
I’ve read and re-read the Hunger Games trilogy several times, but only had time to get through the first book before seeing this final film, so unfortunately, the third book was not fresh in my mind. However, I will tell you that the third book is my least favorite of the series. Although I was highly anticipating this final installment of the Hunger Games franchise, I tried to stay only cautiously optimistic, knowing the source material that this movie had to draw from. One of the drawbacks about the third book, especially the last half of the third book, upon which Mockingjay – Part 2 is based, is that since the book is told in first person perspective by Katniss, a lot of things get glossed over, and make it seem like the author was in a rush to finish the book. Conversely, one of the benefits about the Hunger Games movies is that everything doesn’t have to be solely from Katniss’s perspective, and indeed, we have seen several scenes throughout the movies that take place away from Katniss, and show us what is going on elsewhere. I had hoped that Mockingjay – Part 2 would continue to pick up on that example, and improve upon the source material to conclude the franchise.
However, Mockingjay – Part 2 does what the previous films also did, for the most part, which was follow the books pretty closely. While I usually prefer that, this was a case where I would have preferred that the film depart a bit from the books, and give more of a third person perspective. It did do that a couple of times, but I don’t think it did so enough. As a result, I felt that the film suffered from uneven pacing, where there’s long, boring stretches of nothing really important happening, which could have been done differently, interspersed with exciting action scenes.
In spite of these criticisms, that is not to say that there weren’t any redeeming qualities to the film. Like I said, it did follow the book pretty closely, and as a result had several scenes and specific lines of dialogue from the book that I am glad they kept in. Of course, although Mockingjay – Part 2 did follow the book, there were some things left out of the film that I would have liked to have seen, but I can understand that these scenes were changed or cut out due to time limitations, and can’t come up with any major complaints about that at this time.
Jennifer Lawrence once again delivers a compelling performance as Katniss, having to tackle an array of emotions. I also enjoyed watching Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Alas, Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away last year in the middle of filming the movie, so was not in it as much as he would have been. However, I thought the filmmakers handled his absence well and in a fitting way.
There were fun action scenes to watch, and even suspenseful scenes that I was pleasantly surprised at. For the most part, the effects were pretty good.
I guess in the end, I was just hoping for a more satisfying send off for the Hunger Games series that could greatly improve upon the lackluster final book. Unfortunately, I felt like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 fell short of that. Perhaps if Mockingjay had been just one film instead of two, things could have been tightened up. But we’ll never know now.
I liked Mockingjay – Part 2 better than Mockingjay – Part 1, which I gave a 6.5 rating, but I don’t think Mockingjay – Part 2 quite deserves the 7.
My rating: 6.75/10