Kyle J. Steenblik

Mockingjay Part 2 is a Flat but Satisfactory Finale

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mockingjay_part_2The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Screenplay by: Danny Strong, Peter Craig
Based on Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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
Running time 137 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material

3 1/2 stars out of 5With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow [Donald Sutherland] in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends – including Gale [Liam Hemsworth], Finnick [Sam Claflin] and Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] – Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games. – Courtesy Lionsgate


 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 simply put was flat and lacking sufficient exposition to be a rousing conclusion to the Hunger Games film series.  It was a satisfactory ending in that it left few lose ends, and provided ample opportunity for some exciting action sequences.  Unfortunately, without sufficient character development the effectiveness of these action sequences was lost on the non-book reading audience.  The biggest flaw in the filmmaking in the two part Mockingjay films was the reliance on an audience that was already familiar with the story and the characters.  While nuance is present like an inside joke it is primarily perceived by readers of the book series.  I honestly felt like I was missing a great deal of information, as if I did not bring the necessary baggage to the theatre.  The film felt overly streamlined, having jettisoned critical expositional elements ether because screenwriters Danny Strong, and Peter Craig were too familiar with the story to recognize the loss, or director Francis Lawrence made too many concessions for a theater friendly running time.  Either way, this film is no exception to the unfortunately common shortcoming with adaptations of popular books, writing and directing for the existing fans, rather than the wider audience.

The fact that I felt nothing for the characters on screen left me to enjoy the technical construction of the film itself. Aside from the mute color pallet for the vast majority of the film, the careful construction of costume and makeup were remarkable. I honestly would watch these films simply for the costuming and makeup design, along with some understated cinematography.

I would love to say the final entry into this film series, which I do enjoy, left me wishing for more, or rushing to binge watch the films sitting on my shelf at home, but it did not, neither did it leave me disappointed.  It will surely thrill fans, it will resonate with the audience members that have a strong connection to the characters through the pages of Suzanne Collins’ novels, and I envy those fans.  Perhaps I will delve into those pages myself to find what I missed.

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