Movie Review | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Freda Cooper 20.11.2015 4

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (UK Rating: 12A)

Just as all the fuss about Spectre dies down, another blockbuster arrives this week to dominate UK cinemas - the final part of The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 2. It's a series that has its imitators - Divergent and The Maze Runner - but none of them have managed to imitate its combination of gravitas and action or its Box Office success.

The opening moments indicate more of the same is on its way. In traditional Hunger Games-style, the story picks up immediately after the end of the previous film. In this case, civil war is raging in Panem, with the rebels of President Coin (Julianne Moore) up against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his followers, holed up in The Capital. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is getting over the events of Mockingjay Part 1 and, although she makes out she's happy to be the figurehead that President Coin wants, she has another plan. Along with her closest friends, she sets off to infiltrate The Capital and her aim is simple: to assassinate Snow.

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That plunge into the action right at the start has become a trademark: no music, no credits, just the title and the story's off and running, but there's a noticeable difference in the way that director Francis Lawrence has chosen to present the narrative this time. Unlike the previous episode, there are no gap-fillers, so, for anybody unfamiliar with the series, spending a couple of hours watching Part 1 is essential. That assumption of knowledge is understandable: the franchise isn't short of fans and they will certainly know what's going on, and anybody watching this as their first experience is probably a bit late in coming to the party.

Humour and The Hunger Games don't exactly go hand-in-hand, as it has always taken itself seriously, with this final outing being the most serious, and darkest, of the lot. It's heavier on dialogue than the others, as well, allowing it to explore themes like truth, loyalty, and betrayal, as well as developing an intriguing storyline about the relationship between Katniss and Snow. Are they more similar than they would care to admit?


 
While there may be fewer action scenes, they are still powerfully effective. Katniss and her crew travel into The Capital through a maze of underground tunnels, and there's one sequence that bristles with tension. Above ground, they find everywhere is littered with Pods, ingenious booby traps on a massive scale, ranging from automatic fire arms secreted in walls to deluges of suffocating oil from on high, and then there's The Mutts, which look like The Pale Man from Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth but with mouths like piranhas and similar eating habits.

The downside of the film is that some of its most familiar characters are painfully underused. Woody Harrelson's Haymitch, a former winner of The Games, is reduced to following Katniss around and uttering the occasional line of dialogue. It's a far lesser role than he's had in the past, and a waste of his talents. Even worse is that the extravagantly coiffed, and horribly slimy, Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), is given just a one scene cameo, which is simply not enough, and he's conspicuous by his absence. There is also the inevitable tinge of sadness in that this is the last performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Coin's right-hand man and spin doctor, Plutarch Heavensbee. Hoffman died while the film was being made, and most of his scenes had been completed, but it's noticeable in the final section that director Lawrence had to work around the loss of one of his key actors as he simply fades to grey.

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8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
While The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has more obvious weaknesses than its predecessor, this is a fitting climax that also demonstrates why the series still remains better than its imitators. Fans will be more than happy to queue up for the familiar mix of action and rounded characters, as well as the nigh-on iconic heroine, but, for anybody new to the series, watching Part 1 beforehand will be a sound investment... otherwise, a lot of the film could go straight over their head.

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Comments

I was burned by the decidedly poor Part 1, so I'm rather hesitant about this one...

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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I still ain't seen Mockingjay Part 1 because it didn't look that good and I was underwhelmed with the second movie. First one was the best, but I'll probably watch Part 1 and 2 eventually. Still wanna check out Battle Royale too.

I don't remember much about Battle Royale other that 1.) it was ridiculously brutal in places, 2.) overall I really enjoyed it. It was a loooong time ago when I saw it.

The first two Hunger Games were great - the second movie was just more of the same, which suited me. Mockingjay Pt1 came across as pure filler, ending before anything thrilling happened. Pt2 has to be all the action missing from Pt1, obviously...but I can't bring myself to potentially waste money at the cinema after being so cheesed off with last year's release.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
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Azuardo said:
Still wanna check out Battle Royale too.

If you're tempted by the Director's Cut (which I have), don't bother too much, it doesn't add much to the story. Mostly useless flashbacks.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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