As per usual, I would like to start by stating that I am by no means a fans of Hunger Games trilogy because the books weren’t that interesting and none of the main characters caught my eyes. And yes, I know the second reason was very shallow but it still is true. It is not until Catching Fire that I finally found a character I actually like in the form of one Finnick Odair. So him, and Francis Lawrence’s success in the two previous movies, prompted me to watch this finale act and see whether or not it go out with a bang.
Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Annie (Stef Dawson), and the other victors has came home. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and crew survived a rescue mission from Capitol. However, Oeeta is ripped to shreds, and Katniss is so fueled by rage she would do whatever Coin (Julianne Moore) asks of her as long as she can take down Snow (Donald Sutherland). And after a victory in District 2 finally unite all 13 districts as one, it is time to turn their weapons to the Capitol.
Welcome, to the 76th Hunger Games.
I never was a fan of this series, yes, but it doesn’t stop me from admitting that The Hunger Games Series was one of the best novel-to-movie adaptation. Once again, Francis Lawrence breathe life into this movie and refuse to just transfer the words into pictures. It adapts, in the purest sense, the essence of Mockingjay that Suzanne Collins wrote and expand it for the movie while staying true to the core. My memories about the book is a little fuzzy, but I don’t recall any major changes that made my eyebrows go up to my hairline
like any other novel adaptation like, say, PERCY JACKSON. Most importantly, I never thought that this movie would sink it’s venomous fans so deeply within me and got me shedding tears.
Mockingjay part 2 had to thank it’s first part because it took the brunt of the job. After all those drama and propaganda war inMockingjay part 1, all that’s left in part 2 is the war. Which means there are lots of actions and inventively cruel toys-slash-weapons to help Peter Craig and and Danny Strong build the tension in the script. Really, it actually was a gripping movie and I can feel my heart pounding from the moment Katniss step foot inside the Capitol. I know what would happen, but that doesn’t stop me from holding my breath and gasping in surprise from time to time. The additional characters and actions, especially the underground tunnel sequences, really helped in creating the atmosphere and urgency. Also the death. Like, seriously, all those death. THOSE WASTEFUL DEATH. I admire Craig and Strong, in a way, because the willingness to kill your characters off – those who had quite a presence and not those who were written just to die – is a bravery I couldn’t afford. And it is a very nice way of showcasing that war has no heart and anyone who got caught up in it may lost their life. But it still hurts. A lot.
Aside from the character death, another reason why this movie gets into me so much was because it hits another one of my main triggers: brainwashing. See, after the whole Winter Soldier debacle and falling down the rabbit hole of Bucky fucking Barnes, any love story that involves a brainwashed party while the other half is suffering because of the not-remembering and hair-trigger animosity would brought me down to my knees. And Peeta-Katniss portray just that. Not to mention Finnick and Annie, to some extent, even if it was just mentioned.
Which bring me to the point where I start to talk about the reason why this movie is not all that good. Much like the first part, this movie focuses too much on Katniss and her part in the war. There was barely any mention or room for the other characters to grow. Hell, I thought I would at least see more of Gale because wasn’t he a part of the love triangle? Even Katniss’ own family could only be scarcely seen at very convenient times. Most of the others were just passing by or were there just to fill the screen, so they barely left any mark. Especially the soldiers. From the moment they were introduced, you knew they’re the sacrificial lambs, and only their way of dying that made them memorable to some extent. Honestly, aside from Katniss’ internal fury and Peeta’s struggle to recovery, there were barely any emotional moment in this movie that does not involves death in any way. Or Katniss, because the only other two moment that came to my mind was Snow’s exchange with Katniss and Haymitch’s exchange with her.
At least some of the recurring character has understand their role enough to have decent screen presence and left some sort of a mark. Donald Sutherland’s Snow was my favourite, because he finally show moments of weakness that I gleefully revel in. Not to mention his honesty! I just love his words and the way he tick and, in some twisted way, I could sympathise with him. Then there is of course Josh Hutcherson, who showcased such array of emotions on his way to be himself. He was lost, scared, confused, angry, hateful, fragile and lovable at the same time. It literally is impossible for my heart to not go out to him – although maybe I’m a bit biased because he reminded me of my favourite comic book character. Anyway, he was heartbreaking and to see him get better with times was a little reprieve from all the negativity the movie gave me. Jennifer Lawrence was also great, despite her usual confused or resting-bitch-face looks. There was one particular breakdown where I can’t not cry with her, and all of her lines, her speech and her words send the same hopeful but aching message the way Katniss always does. A Mockingjay indeed.
Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, and Philip Seymour Hoffman all were scene stealer in their own way. Malone’s Johanna and Claflin’s Finnick were both presences that are impossible to miss once they’re on screen, even if for totally different reasons. While Malone exudes crude animosity, Claflin exudes warmth and the feeling of safety. While Harrelson’s Haymitch and Banks’ Effie were two old characters that I am so sad to find had been diminished to extras. Because they deserved better. Hoffman’s Plutarch, too, I wish he was more involved. Although given the condition, I suppose it is understandable. Who else? Oh right, Liam Hemsworth’s Gale managed to have a little development by moving on to being bitter and then sad and then guilt-ridden. While Natalie Dormer’s Cressida, Elden Henson’s Pollux, and Wes Chatham’s Castor were more of plot devices rather than decent characters. Still caught my eyes and break my heart at times, though. However, the biggest waste was Julianne Moore. Her Alma Coin could have been so much more, could have shown more depth instead of the cunning leader with dictator streak that she was portrayed. I mean, this movie managed to humanised Snow. Why can’t they do the same to Coin? She could actually have more character development that isn’t merely revealing her darkness.
All in all, Mockingjay part 2 carried on the Hunger Games’ tradition of exceeding my expectations. I expected it to be better than the book, but I never expected it to rouse such intense feelings out of me. And yes, maybe I was a little to prone to it because of my triggers, but it shouldn’t diminished the quality of the movie. It was good, gripping, and thrilling, with some surprises along the way. And heartbreaks. Even if it was another Katniss-centric movie where everyone else were nothing but extras. At least, Finnick and Cressida were such a sight for sore eyes and I finally root for Katniss and Peeta. In a way, Mockingjay part 2 did end the series with a bang. And indeed, nothing can prepare you for the end.
Director: Francis Lawrence. Writers: Peter Craig and Danny Strong. Released on: 20 November 2015. Casts: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman.