Hello Fledglings, Kate here!
Warning: This review will have spoilers of the books, and therefore the movie!
I’m so excited to talk about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2! I read The Hunger Games as it was released by Suzanne Collins in 2008 and followed the rest of the trilogy as it came out! When I found out it was being adapted into a movie I immediately watched the trailer for the first film. I was in a science lesson no less! However, after I realised that the final movie would come out when I was 19 (and to 14/15 year old me that was FOREVER!) I was left wondering, “how will I survive the wait?”
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to be organised and immediately booked myself into the midnight showing of the movie – only to then realise I had an exam that morning. I did the responsible thing and refunded my ticket and traded it in for one in the afternoon. After finishing my seminar, I ran to the cinema to meet friends and was submerged into the world of Panem!
*Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever!*
My expectations were reasonably high – I liked the first film, but LOVED the second and third. And let me tell you, the fourth and final one was NOT a disappointment.
I’m not quite sure where to start, so I’ll start with…
Katniss/Jennifer Lawrence: This really is Katniss’ movie. Obviously Jennifer Lawrence’s performance was strong – we all know she’s an amazing actress. I think the movies did a great job of explaining her mindset, and the reasons for her more irregular choices as she deals with the traumas she has been put through. I think the most moving moment for me was when *gasp* Prim dies, but also the moment Haymitch reads Plutarch’s letter to Katniss. It was a moment of clarity in the film where the trauma and loss of war is truly emphasised. They have survived the games, but none of them will ever be able to find peace within themselves after what they have been through. It is one of my favourite elements of the books, and it was good to see that Suzanne Collins recognised that young adults can understand more ‘adult’ themes. Whereas other franchises skim over deeper issues, The Hunger Games doesn’t and because of that they have a wider audience of dedicated fans of all ages.
Peeta/Josh Hutcherson: I think Josh Hutcherson gave a really good performance here and held his ground with the surrounding actors and actresses. I feel Peeta’s story was delved into just the right amount. Clearly mental health is an important issue that has to be dealt with correctly, especially when so many people suffer from PTSD. Francis Lawrence handled the issue delicately, but made it clear it would be a life long issue for Peeta, and (I think) didn’t romanticise it.
Prim/Willow Shields: My one problem with the films has been that they haven’t really developed Katniss and Prim’s relationship enough. Therefore the major incident of Prim’s death is not as moving as it should be. Because the relationship isn’t as important to the audience, I couldn’t empathise with Katniss in her loss as much as someone like Collins may have wanted. That’s not to say I didn’t cry – I did. I’m a cryer, what can I say?
Gale/Liam Hemsworth: Liam Hemsworth must have been pleased at finally taking centre stage in the movies. I didn’t want him and Katniss to end up together but I really liked his character. My heart broke for both of them when Gale and Katniss said goodbye after Prim’s death. It was necessary, but so sad.
Finnick/Sam Claflin: I love Finnick’s character and love how Sam Claflin plays him – he really embodies his character. He is one of the many victims of the Capitol and it was so nice to see him and Annie finally get their happy ending – only to then have it ripped away with his death! When reading the book, I felt Finnick’s death happened so quickly that it was hard to process. In the film, however, they make it more action-packed and tense as you can see them fight for their lives. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t shed a tear, because I did.
President Snow/Donald Sutherland: Donald was Donald. He’s a good actor and plays him so well. I especially loved his performance during Coin’s death.
President Coin/Julianne Moore: Well! I love Coin. I know she’s a deeply flawed character, but I like that about her. And I can appreciate the fact that Collins wrote a strong character who happens to be female.
Plutarch/Philip Seymour Hoffman: Obviously Philip’s death was a tragic loss, not only for the franchise but to the film industry as a whole. I’ve always loved his films, from The Big Lebowski to The Master, and was really sad to hear of his passing. Clearly Plutarch is a significant character as the political environment takes centre stage. With Part 1 and Part 2 of Mockingjay filmed back to back, they clearly had the majority of footage they needed. And Hoffman’s performance was what you would expect of an actor of his caliber; brilliant. The moment for me when you really feel his absence was after Katniss assassinates President Coin and Haymitch reads a letter from Plutarch instead of face to face contact. However, they covered it well with an explanation of Plutarch’s political position being compromised if they are seen together.
Effie/Elizabeth Banks & Haymitch/Woody Harrelson: They play major roles in this movie and as fan favourites, they didn’t disappoint during their screen time. The scene at the end when they say goodbye definitely pulled at the heartstrings!
Ending: The epilogue of the book was really sad for 14 year old me. I was desperate for that happy ending but clearly, due to the nature of the book, that could never happen. However, I think Francis Lawrence overcame this by perfectly balancing the trauma of PTSD and yet still managing to portray the fact that you can work through tragic events given time. And lets be honest, it was so cute. So cute! (I also love that they used Jennifer Lawrence’s real life nephews as their children.)
Diversity: A lot of films are very white-washed in their cast and behind the scenes, but when the film is supposed to represent a futuristic North America, you should realistically represent the people that live there! I think this film started to do this and I really appreciated that fact.
More action! I loved how truthful it was to the books, but I really wish it had more action in it. I’m not saying it didn’t have any, but I just wish there was more. I’m aware that the budget must have played a part in this, especially as the box office numbers have been going down each movie. Still, I think the film would attract an even larger audience if it catered to the more ‘hardcore’ action fanatics that would be more reticent to see a ‘Young Adult’ film.
Overall I loved the whole thing! It was a really good film, and the perfect ending to one of my favourite trilogies.
Love Kate x