Leaving the press screening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2, a feeling of bewilderment overcame me. It seemed that the audience was beyond thrilled after trudging through the one hundred and thirty-seven minutes of monotonous pacing. As we were exiting the theater, I heard things like, “ I loved it” … “Greatest Ever” … “Best in the series,” even my wife gushed about this film. The moment that I began to question parts of the movie, a collection of negative looks were directed my way and my wife proceeded to call me a “Grump.” Have we become so entranced with the exploits of Katniss Everdeen, that the merits of The Hunger Games films have now become distorted?
The good news, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 has far fewer scenes involving people sitting around and for waiting for things to happen that Mockingjay- Part 1. The bad news, Part 2 has a plethora of scenes involving people just waiting for things to happen.
Fans of the books were hoping the decision to split the final film into two would result in an action packed non-stop finale. Well, prepare yourself to be disappointed. Even though Mockingjay- Part 1 seemed to set the table for the grand finale, Part 2 has all the pacing of a snail on Ambien.
Once again Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage as Katniss Everdeen, the symbolic head of the rebellion against Donald Sutherland (President Snow), the dictator of the future world of Panem. Katniss nearly meet her end in Part 1 when Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) tried to kill her. The beginning of the film reveals that Peeta’s brain was infected with Tracker Jacker Venom, and the venom has now turned Peeta into an assassin. Because of this, Katniss is enraged and wants to charge right into the capital and assassinate President Snow. Julianne Moore (President Coin) has other ideas and wants Katniss to stay in District 13 away from the fight so she can be used for propaganda against the capital. We all know that Mrs. Everdeen will throw caution to the wind, she sneaks onto a medical ship and heads to fight on the frontlines as the rebels march into a heavily booby-trapped capital. You are probably reading this and saying to yourself “That sounds like a pretty fantastic movie, I’m starting to see why your wife called you a grump”, but imagine all those juicy bits spread out unevenly over one-hundred and thirty-seven minutes.
One thing that should be noted is how much focus was placed on the powerful female characters. Katniss, Coin, and numerous other supporting cast mates were seen as way more with it and a lot more charismatic than the male counterparts. Probably the one scene that gave me a glimmer of hope in this film was in Panem sewers, it popped with tension and horror. Other than that, Mockingjay – Part 2 was boring. The fact that the blockbuster film is boring truly didn’t add up at first. The production design was top-notch, the dystopian costumes were ravishing, and director Francis Lawrence knows how to use properly large-scale computer visuals The movie has an all-star cast. So what went wrong with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the editing.
Must every single part of Mockingjay transpire on screen? It would seem that the easiest job on this set was the script writers because all they had to do was transcribe the book. The first Hunger Games is considered to be the best of the four movies because it adapted for the screen. Only after the “super-fans” were up in arms about what was left out the film, that the studio seemed to be considerate about whether or not they forgot a part of the book and not about whether or not the adaptation translates well on screen.
Mockingjay-Part 2 is as rambling and schizophrenic as the Part 1. One minute they are discussing the horrors of war and then the next page the film seems to be reveling in it. Essentially, the flow of the film is choppy at best.
The biggest frustration in all of this is that Mockingjay-Part 2 could have been a fantastic movie. The source material is so rich with action and political intrigue that if they had edited the frivolity from Mockingjay-Part 2; we would have had quite a film to discuss.
Unfortunately, the movie ends up being just another example of Hollywood just streamlining a series of books into a series of films in an attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of us.