Film Review: ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’

Chapman W.

As perhaps the biggest young adult book-to-movie adaption to come out of recent years, the “Hunger Games” series offers a look into a dystopian future where a capitol controls its people through making sport of children killing each other. While many of the series’ themes are significant to events today, does the final film in the series, “Mockingjay Part 2,” live up to the hype, or is there simply too much going on to make a cohesive story?

“Mockingjay Part 2,” the second half of the finale based on the books by Suzanne Collins, follows Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, as she takes the role of the “Mockingjay” to lead the rebellion in their fight against the all-powerful Capitol and its leader, President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland. The story immediately follows the climactic build-up that was the first half, and brings many of the events from the series full-circle.

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The cast of the film was strong. Although this second half saw very few fresh faces, the actors from the previous movies play their parts well, and show the emotional growth that many of the characters have experienced. Lawrence continues to play a fantastic lead, and fits the part of a girl a revolution could follow. Despite the complaint I have about them white-washing the part of a character described in the books as black-haired and olive-skinned, I feel that Lawrence conveys the emotion well of a girl who has been through hell, and is often living off of basic survival instincts. I felt empathy for the character through Lawrence’s acting, and it made the film all that much stronger.

Video courtesy of Lionsgate.

The rest of the cast was excellent as well. Josh Hutcherson plays a convincingly broken Peeta Mellark, and he looks the part, being much more gaunt and tired-looking than in previous movies. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman returns as Plutarch Heavensbee and Julianne Moore is a powerfully-played President Coin. Altogether, the cast is powerful and by far one of the best aspects of the film.

The plot, on the other hand, can be almost too intense at times. While I loved the excitement, and how many plot points they attempted to fit into the movie, there was so much going on at all times that some things felt pushed under the rug. This is a common problem with film adaptions of books, since it can be very hard to convey the feeling of book chapters. The film felt divided into chunks, but not in a way that felt well-done. I was hoping that splitting the film into two parts would prevent this somewhat, but the second half still felt too full of information. However, the dramatic scenes were handled well, which may have been “Mockingjay’s” saving grace.

To be totally honest, I cried. I came into the movie having read the books and knowing what was going to happen, and I still was glad to drive home alone, so nobody could judge me for how much I wept. Very rarely do I feel like young adult sci-fi films handle emotion well, oftentimes being over-exaggerated or unrealistic. However, this film had me empathizing right along with the characters thanks to the level of depth and the realistic way it handled loss and even mental illness. If you’re anything like me, and you get far too emotional about movies, this is one I highly recommend bringing tissues to.

The film was beautiful, both visually and emotionally. One of my biggest compliments of the “Hunger Games” series has always been its visuals, as I feel the set, makeup and costuming teams are always on point with their work. “Mockingjay” is no different, conveying the feeling of a utopia gone to war. One scene is incredibly powerful, taking the “girl on fire” theme from the first two films to a whole new level. Overall, the look and feel of the film is exactly what the final part of the story needed.

Final Score: 9.2/10

I really did love “Mockingjay Part 2.” The cast was excellent, the visuals were mesmerizing and despite the overflowing plot, I cried more than I have for a movie in a long time. This film perfectly ends the “Hunger Games” series, and I fear that it will be a while before I fall in love with another movie adaption of a dystopian young adult series as much as I have with the story of the girl from District 12.

Collegian Reporter Chapman W. Croskell can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @Nescwick.

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