Before I give my review on this movie, let me just say this. Honestly, Mockingjay could have been one movie. There I said it. In fact, I hope when Mockingjay 2 comes out on DVD they have a special edition where both movies are combined. I try to give the movie business the benefit of a doubt about splitting a book into two movies, BUT after watching Mockingjay Part 2, I believe there was two because of money. With that said I will move on to my thoughts on Mockingjay Part 2.
Hunger Games changed me. Okay, I exaggerate. But I remember feeling like I hit a gold mine when I read Hunger Games. I had never read anything like it. I was sucked into this world. I was Katniss Everdeen or at least a minion on her shoulder. As a fan of the books, I was a little scared about a movie depiction. However, after every movie came out, my fears dissipated until there was only one book left for adaption—Mockingjay. Could the film industry pull it off? Yes, they stuck to the heart of the book, and that in itself is an amazing feat.
Side note to those who still have not read the books for various reasons:
First things first, if you are a fan of action oblivion than watch Spectre. Not to downplay Spectre, but it is a stunt heavy, all action, entertainment movie. It was a fun watch and you should not expect Mockingjay to be that.
Also, if you are looking for a steamy romance in perilous situations than watch Twilight. Mockingjay is a sad ballad (cue Hanging Tree). The book is the grimmest of the series, and that is saying something with Hunger Games being all about kids fighting to death. Mockingjay is dark, almost hopeless. In the end, the reader feels a little like a person left in limbo. The fate of the most of the characters is uncertain or they already died. Characters find some peace, but you can tell the Games still lingers with them, a shadow that never quit goes away.
The last movie Mockingjay stayed true to the book’s roots/mood. Here are a few of my reasons about why the movie is epic and should be watched at least twice.
Katniss’s journey to kill Snow is tense and scary. At one point I considered whether I should look away. Yes, I knew what was coming, but seriously the behind the scenes people did a good job of building suspense. I literally had to wiggle a little bit, so I wouldn’t embarrass myself by jumping every time Katniss and her squad unexpectedly faced a booby trap.
Cat Lady. She has a name, but her name should be have been Cat Lady. Her face was disturbing (like I just saw Michael Jackson’s face for the first time as a kid disturbing), but nailed my expectations. At this point I wondered if turning ourselves into cats would be a future thing.
Once again my hat goes off to Jennifer Lawrence. This was her best performance yet. I read a few reviews in which people complained about the lack of dialogue Katniss has. Yea, Katniss doesn’t talk much. Her longest book conversations were honestly with Gale, Peeta, and Haymitch. Her dialogue plays within her mind. How do you transfer this to a movie, especially when you have no voice over? To create an extroverted, socially inclined Katniss would have ruined the epicenter of the series.
In the first movie, I believe it may have been a little easier. Katniss is still untouched by war or violence. She is more trusting and interacts with more characters. However by Mockingjay, Katniss is struggling with PTSD. Friends she trust could be counted on one hand and she spends a better part of the book thinking about Peeta, beating President Snow, and staying sane. So yes, she has little time to converse. Plus, when Prim dies (sorry spoiler) she loses it and barely talks to anyone. Jennifer Lawrence uses her facial expressions and body language as a way of communicating the internal conflict, especially when it comes to death. (spoiler in next paragraph)
In the movie, they don’t really emphasize Prim’s death. Just like the book it is a quick blurb that you almost miss. Wait Prim died? In the movie, Katniss appears unaffected by Prim’s death. She is cold and precise as she says her last goodbye to Snow, does the unthinkable and is sent home. And then there is that scene where Jennifer Lawrence unleashes all of Katniss’s grief in 2 minutes tops. Man, nailed it.
Other notables about the movie: Johanna’s smirks and one liners, Gale-Katniss-Peeta triangle (still don’t understand the appeal for Gale), Coin’s transformation, women hold a majority of the leadership roles, and the end.
Well, that is it folks. Hunger Games is over. I am very pleased with the performance of the actors and all the other people who made the series possible. They committed. Sure, it might not have been the best movies ever made, but it did the book series justice. As a fan, I am happy. One day, “I volunteer!”
“Girl on Fire” and “May the odds be ever in your favor” will possibly fade away and be replaced by a bigger book turn movie franchise references, but for now it is Hunger Games. I am probably going to see it again in the coming month, because truthfully I am a Hunger Games fan and I loved Mockingjay Part 2. So this whole review was going to be positive any way.
I think the next time I will be excited about a movie adaption of a book is. . . Red Rising, but again an entirely different conversation.