The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

mockingjay part 2The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – 3/5 – It has come to the final come; the final film of a series.  In the light of the others; there isn’t much that can be said here.  With a story coming to a close, there is a sense of certain approaches to expect.  With the Hunger Games series, it has had some good stories, great thematic overtures and some low points.   With the story of Katniss Everdeen coming to a close; I can only say that with some unhinging plot elements and overshadowed elements, the film comes to a closure that most would expect (knowing the books or not).  This is a series that fizzle out in the end.

Premise:  As war rages on in Panem; Katniss must complete her quest as the leader of the rebellion and bring the army together and finally take down President Snow.  With all on the line in a final defense; Katniss must learn the true nature of war, and who the real allies are.

If you’ve have watched any of the previous films (and read my previous reviews of this film series), there isn’t much to explain in depth a fourth time around.  You can reference the IMDB page for the list of actors/actress.  In short; the acting is what you would expect within the fourth film in the series.  All the characters are well drawn out within their own distinctions, as well as formidable when it comes to the onscreen presence.   From the lead of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, to the supporting cast like Woody Harrelson as Haymitch or Josh Hutcherson as Peeta; you feel their strength, flaws and ultimate triumphs.  The exuding nature of the film comes from the contrasting of light and dark; represented by Lawrence’s Katniss (light) and the person she has been fighting against, Donald Sutherland’s President Snow (Dark).  The contrasting of vigilance and promise against total control/dictatorship is iconic, but a common rehashing thread from the previous films.  All you find is that their paths become one in the same, especially when the downfall comes to the limelight on how abuse is a double sided coin.  With the rest of the cast; they play common roles as the previous films.  With more light shined on closing up loose ends and following Katniss, the rest of the characters are left to just be ‘mentioned’ or ‘hearsay’ when it comes to the overall progression of the story.

The direction falls into the trap of the common thing that last films in a series have; the ‘wrapping up’ method.  As this film is the latter half of a split up novel; it falls upon the direction to find some semblance of story, focus and linear progression.  With so many loose ends, the first half puts all its focus on wrapping up all the side stories, consequential outcomes of the first part and ‘steadfast’ on completing the quest of Katniss symbol of being the ‘Mockingjay’.  You can somewhat give this film a pass with all the loose ends, but at the same time the film has to find a balance between wrapping up and being a coherent film.  Standing as a story from ‘start’ to ‘finish’ is the utmost important, even if it’s another film in an overarching series.   As we moves past its ‘wrapping up’ first half; the second half turns into a ‘quest’ style like mission.  Katniss is on a mission to kill Snow.  This puts the film in a precarious situation; where it feels like the second half becomes a conflict of interest. That comes with the prefacing of the revolution against Katniss ‘personal quest’ of vengeance.  This creates a lack of tonal perspective, flipping between ominous and darkly.  With a fragment of tone, it bleeds into the up and down path of pace.  The film speeds up and slows down at random time, creating places of forced exposition, unexpected situations and trivial/predictable circumstances.  Playing to the fans is something that a film will do, but forcing elements just to play ‘fan favorite’ can also create a monotone like experience.  Through this, you are only connection you have in the film is Katniss, and trying to believe in her cause.  Once the film hits the climax; it all too familiar of the ‘unsung hero’ mantra; playing the fools card when the audience knows clearly what is going on.  Once we head into the epilogue, it is bittersweet ending.  By the end, you feel good at some closure but also sense that unwanted cliché for a film series that had much potential to begin with.

The visuals are very much the highlight.  From the lavishing creations of the Capitol, to the dreary dark like scenery of the war torn nation; you feel the veracity of the ongoing struggle combing in the blind nature of humanity.  With the ‘style over substance’ playing strongly; it is ironic that the styling of the film gives grace of something worth paying attention to.  The grittiness of the war torn nature juxtaposes the overtly bombastic nature that looms over everything, creating a contrasting that was not felt in the story itself.  The score is mute at best.  You notice the music here and there, but don’t help the film at any point.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is what you would expect from a film that has to wrap up everything.  With some loose ends to complete, a quest to monitor and a climax to play to the fans, the lukewarm completion can make even the most loyal readers feel like there should have been more.  With acting being strong and visuals always enrapturing, there is enough here to go see this at a matinee.

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