The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 (Lionsgate)
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci & Donald Sutherland
Mockingjay Part 2 picks up exactly where we left off in Part 1. These movies could be spliced together as is, except for a two second title sequence that would seem weird right in the middle of the movie. I almost expected to hear a Katniss Everdeen voice over saying, “Previously on Hunger Games.” A good movie. However my feelings on Mockingjay Part 2 are formed by my intense hatred of the new Hollywood money grab of splitting movies into parts to get more than one admission. Whenever this happens, I will continue to skip the first one and wait for the DVD and then see the second one in the theater. I’m buying ONE ticket for your ONE movie. So this time I saw Part 2 in the theater and Part 1 at home. And I liked it, so no spoilers.
What I like about the first two Hunger Games movies is that they start with a morality tale about politics & freedom and they end with a game of death in the arena. It’s a beautiful pattern. Mockingjay is the same. But because they had to split the third book into two movies, the rhythm is gone. The pattern is broken. Mockingjay is just the same as the others but they ruin it by having to make Part 1 about the politics & the propaganda and Part 2 the fight to the death. But without both parts together you don’t get the feel of the repetition. And I love that pattern about the first two. You get the politics and then you get the battle. It’s the same movie but it’s bigger each time. And I’m going to stop complaining about it but THEY RUIN IT with this money grab. I’m done.
And before you think I’m knocking it. I’m really not knocking it. As one movie, Mockingjay is amazing. Except for maybe the normal problem when this happens where there is too much filler. Oh yeah, that’s the other problem when you have two movies but only one movie’s worth of entertainment. You have to add all this filler. I know I said I’d stop complaining but I’m trying to review half a movie here and it’s difficult. Being half a movie stretched to its limit, it starts in the middle, the pacing is all wrong, and there’s like five fucking endings. Now I’m done.
There’s other things to talk about though. Like my other reviews all concentrate on the politics. I love the political intrigue. I love the revolution and the propaganda. The Hunger Games is an excellent story. And I’m kind of sorry I saw the movies before reading the books. (Though I may still listen to the audio books later). In Part 2 of Part 3, the politics is in full effect and the ending (the first one) the conclusion to all this madness is perfect. It is pure perfection. I thought after all this time it would be anti-climactic. It was not.
Jennifer Lawrence is her same amazing self. She doesn’t give her best performances in the Hunger Games movies because she knows it’s not that kind of a party. Yet she still carries all four movies (THREE!!! …sorry) on her talented shoulders. And honestly, she could blow the rest of the cast off the screen if she wanted. But they’re all decent. Philip Seymour Hoffman is noticeably silent here however, and sometimes conspicuously absent. But you can’t blame the guy for dying. So there is a scene missing at the end. And you can most definitely feel its absence.
But as a purely political movie about income inequality and the horrors of a fascist dictatorship and a state-run media and a rebellion and a revolution and the pitfalls that it creates, The Hunger Games and especially Mockingjay parts 1 & 2, without all the fantasy elements, is a phenomenally excellent example of revolution done right. Pay attention.
If I had to find something to criticize it would be that I assumed the arena effects were built-in to the arena. In this movie they’re in the streets and in the sewers and in the subways. Maybe I just don’t know how it works. I need to read the books. It just seems like a whole lot of construction involved to make these locations into elaborate traps.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is a good movie as long as you watch Part 1 right before you see Part 2. Mockingjay is one very good movie cut in two parts. A movie that needs to be sewn back together as soon as fucking possible.