The young adult movie phenomenon is now at its end, the closing chapters of Katniss and her (not so) merry followers hits the big screen and after a year wait is it worth it? My rapid answer is to say no. After what I now deem a well paced and interesting political agenda theme from Part 1, this promise of excitement and action never flies straight or aims true.
We pick up from 2014 with just strangled Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) coming to terms with the fact that Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) may never be the same thanks to President Snow (Donald Sutherland), which leads to her want of killing the Capitol head and bringing Panem to unity. Now with President Coin (Julianne Moore) in the mix, Katniss must work out who there is to trust as she makes her way through the districts to end this war.
With three of the four Hunger Games movies under his belt, Francis Lawrence should know what he’s doing right? Wrong, it seems to all come to a dreary finale as this last film does nearly everything to make you wonder why you liked the franchise in the first place. I mean, granted I haven’t read the books yet but with this direction, there’s no intrigue or suspense and Lawrence brings the movie no pacing quality, it’s almost as if he just sat back and let the dialogue be shot not even thinking of how slow and laborious it makes the film feel.
Danny Strong and Peter Craig double up to take on Suzanne Collins’ well received novels, but whatever may happen on the page doesn’t all need to be seen on screen. The most tedious element is this almost Deal or no Deal game of real or no real between Katniss and Peeta that bores to the core. I won’t even go into the closing moments of the movie that had me cringing and laughing in equal measure of horror. It loses the political, conspiracy edge and is quickly replaced by predictable teen romance that taints what could have been a cool run of films that thrust society and its problems in the spotlight.
I always feel a film is best when it leaves the audience asking questions and making it their own by having their own interpretations of what could happen down the timeline but this Part 2 is nonsense and closes everything, spoon-feeding the audience so they have nothing to ponder about. It’s a real shame because after the grit of the first and the set up of the third, this just goes and makes me hate the whole HG story.
Not even the rare moments of darkness or grim action can save this film but I will go into the points that I enjoyed. ‘The Descent’-esque sequence of mutts in the underground escape is shot fast and cut like a madman editing for the first time but in this crazed scene of hell breaking loose it works well. The oil slick beginning was interesting before becoming stupid and Jennifer Lawrence gives Katniss that strong yet emotional female lead the power it deserves as everything possible gets in her way.
A lot of things ultimately feel lost in this movie, the editing truly doesn’t help us immerse into the story, it cuts so damn often that we never see who’s died and we don’t know much about them in the first place which severely lessens the impact of their deaths. The idea of uprising is so pushed yet lost to the wayside for effects and ‘Peeniss’ love struggles that when it does come back to the fore it’s presented so clearly that we can tell what’s going to happen a mile off, once again I haven’t read the books but I guessed most of what was going to happen throughout this film which lands like a massive weakness in my eyes.
Jennifer Lawrence leads us through this savage landscape with clear motivation yet troubled emotion as she flickers between determined symbol of hope to saddened lover and sister. She has become the perfect actress for Katniss and especially as she acts opposite, hopefully Best Supporting cat she demonstrates the raw talent she has in her arsenal. Josh Hutcherson does good with the evil brainwashed moments but then is nothing more than a loyal and romantic character for Katniss, so too with Liam Hemsworth’s Gale that is still one of the most dull characters. Woody Harrelson brings much needed laughter in the little things he does or says, Elizabeth Banks is apparently not in the last book and nor was she really needed in this movie, only giving the costuming department more work to do. Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore battle it out as opposing leaders and do in fact give interesting moments about right and wrong in their equal flawed beliefs but for me the bittersweet aspect was seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last ever film still showing that with even a small role he possessed the acting magic many can but dream of.
I can’t say I hated this film but I most defintley didn’t like it either. It suffers under a heavy amount of dragging, laughable writing and how it’s shown and as everything watched over three years boils down to this, we lift the lid to a Capitol whimper.