The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 marks the final chapter in the Hunger Games series. That’s right, there is only one last journey to take with Katniss Everdeen (unless Peter Jackson ever gets his hands on it, he loves overextending a book) and be warned – it’s dark. The dark tone is everywhere you look from the dark brown /grey and black uniforms to the murky grey skies and buildings. Gone are all those lovely warm autumnal greens and oranges from the first film, even Effie is wearing a muted colour palette, well muted for her at least. Darkest of all though are the proceeding events,Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, to quote the tagline from James Cameron’s Aliens – this time its war.Despite its 12A certificate, Mockingjay Part 2 explores some very dark complex themes and issues, and highlights the true price of war – not everyone makes it out alive. The hierarchy of power within the series has always been compelling, and with the world the way it is right now it’s entirely relevant. Those who have read Suzanne Collins’ novels on which the franchise has been adapted from will know the depths of which the story and warring sides sink to, and whilst director Francis Lawrence could have easily sugar-coated events with a saccharine glaze, his decision to be unflinching in the portrayal of war and rebellion is to be commended. Fortunately however, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are plenty of witty one-liners scattered through-out.
The heart, soul and pulse of the movie is Katniss, and Jennifer Lawrence is once again superb as Miss Everdeen; playing her in such a way that you almost believe that she is a real person. Just when you think that a character can’t possibly be put through any more of an emotional ringer, she is. As brave as Katniss might appear she is not a warrior and whilst those around her shut down and let the nature of war consume them, Katniss still strives to be fair. Once again the relationship between herself and Peeta,Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, and herself and Gale, is kept in the background; well they are at war after all. By having the relationships once more on the back-burner it strengthens the story and makes the romance much more palatable than the likes of Twilight.There isn’t necessarily a lot by way of plot this time around, but then the purpose of the other films was surely to build everything up to this final battle crescendo. That’s not to say that it’s completely devoid of narrative, there’s still plenty of that, but it doesn’t concern itself with re-treading old ground which is refreshing and appreciated.For those that were upset about the lack of ‘games’ in the first half of Mockingjay, rest assured the games are back and on a Capitol wide scale. The traps are more devious than Jigsaw ever devised, one of them featuring some black oil reminiscent of The X-Files, another sees some Giger-esque creatures stalk Katniss and her friends deep within the bowels of Capitol. The scenes underground are uncomfortably claustrophobic and eerie; again this isn’t a film for youngsters.
The pace does disappointingly sag in a few places, especially near the end where we almost fall into a ‘Return of the King cycle of multiple endings’. Jena Malone is once more underused as previous victor Johanna Mason, and there isn’t anywhere near enough of Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair.Where The Hunger Games series has excelled past other young adult franchises is in keeping a continuity of directors. Both the Twilight and Harry Potter franchises switched directors almost on a film by film basis, with each new director wanting to put their stamp on the series, most of the time at the expense of the franchise.Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Francis Lawrence has directed all but the first movie, and that means he’s been able to sculpt the tale through three movies, creating a series that feels fully formed and fleshed.Based on the best-selling novels by Suzanne Collins, the “Hunger Games” movies have always been a little smarter and a little more assured than their many competitors in the young-adult arena, and now the story comes to a close in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2,” a sequel that, in a crowded field, winds up being one of the year’s most satisfying popcorn movies.The political satire is intelligent and trenchant (and, it should be noted, far wittier than almost anything in “Our Brand Is Crisis”), the action is thrilling, the characters are empathetic, and while its taken me three previous movies to get there, I find myself getting chills when her fellow rebels give Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) that three-fingered salute of defiance.
For all of its pulpy thrills, “Mockingjay Part 2” has a lot to say about the nature of warfare and propaganda, the dangers of regime change, and the challenges and rewards of rebuilding your life after it’s been systematically chipped into rubble. That these movies never got completely bogged down by their central love triangle — even though it’s handled skillfully, and we still care about how it’s resolved — is but one of the many achievements of this franchise’s architects. The men in Katniss’ life are important, yes, but they’re not her reason for being.The film begins without so much as a “Previously on” montage, as we see a close-up of Katniss’ bruised neck, still recovering from the attack by a brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, She can barely speak, but it’s important that she regain her voice since District 13 rebel leaders Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) need the Mockingjay to unite the districts of Panem so that they can jointly overthrow the corrupt, dictatorial regime of President Snow (Donald Sutherland).For Katniss, it’s important that the rebels not stare so long into the abyss that they become what they have beheld; when others callously plan to bury one of Snow’s underground bases with an avalanche, it’s Katniss who insists that one tunnel be left open so that civilians can escape and soldiers, if they choose, can surrender. (Not that her idealism is always rewarded — early on, she saves one of those presumably surrendering officers from being shot only to find herself being held at gunpoint by him.)
Katniss tries to shake off the propaganda team documenting her every move so that she can go into the Capitol by herself to assassinate Snow, but Coin wants Katniss on camera, even if that means pretending like Katniss’ rogue decisions were actually Coin’s ideas all along. The Capitol itself has been threaded with deadly traps (not to mention the horrifying “Mutts” in the sewer),Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, so traversing its streets becomes, in the words of Finnick (Sam Claflin), “the 76th Hunger Games.”Can Katniss battle monsters without becoming one herself? Will Peeta be able to overcome his torture-induced programming and realize that he loves Katniss? Does Gale (Liam Hemsworth) still have a chance to win her heart? And will Katniss discover that she runs the risk of being more useful as a martyred hero than a surviving one?Readers of the books, of which I am not one, presumably already know the answers to these and other questions, but returning screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong and director Francis Lawrence skillfully interweave political intrigue and deadly obstacles, all while still finding time for moments with the characters we’ve gotten to know over the course of the series. (There’s even room for a little self-mockery, as when Johanna (Jena Malone) commandeers a hospitalized Katniss’ morphine drip and then busts our heroine’s chops for “the whole tacky romance drama and [your] defender-of-the-hopeless bit.”)
Cinematographer Jo Willems, who shot all but the first “Hunger Games” movie, once again creates vivid contrasts between the bunkers of District 13, the now-ruined grandeur of the Capitol and the rustic beauty of Katniss’ home in District 12, and he unpacks an impressive 360-cam that whirls around Katniss, dancing with her sister Prim (Willow Shields), in a rare moment of calm. The effects team pulls off the Capitol’s many deathtraps, even one that could have looked supremely phony — it involves an enclosed space filling up with what looks like crude oil – but instead seems utterly real.Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Some might dismiss “Mockingjay Part 2” as “A Child’s First War-Is-Hell,” but given that most mainstream movies have little more on their mind than selling backpacks and action figures, this is a film that dares to be about something while still delivering as a piece of straightforward entertainment. Like most movies featuring and presumably aimed at women, it’s been easy for the culture to slough off this series, but the passing of the years, and the rise of future franchise entertainments, will only burnish the reputation of “The Hunger Games.”
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her allies prepare to liberate the people of Panem and defeat President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his troops once and for all. The fourth and final chapter in this franchise is largely an overblown war movie, with scenes that might remind audiences of Full Metal Jacket and Aliens. Far from a family-friendly experience,Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, in spite of its PG-13 rating, the film does offer a lot of excitement in 3D (especially a scene where mutated animals attack) and a gruesome twist near the end that ups the stakes even more. Impressively staged, but less satisfying in its quieter, emotional moments.There's a lot riding on this one, but the odds are stacked in its favour. It's hard to overestimate the impact of the Hunger Games film franchise.Adapted from Suzanne Collins' trilogy of YA novels, the three movies thus far have grossed more than $2bn at the worldwide box office, and helped make a megastar of Jennifer Lawrence. Her Katniss Everdeen – resourceful, independent hunter-survivor – shines a light on the dearth of great female leads in modern action blockbusters. So it's a relief that, as a saga-closer, Mockingjay – Part 2 hits the target.
It's a noticeable improvement on last year's draggy Part 1. Picking up with Katniss in rebel base District 13, where she's recovering from the attack by brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), it doesn't take long for boots to hit the ground and war to kick off. After spending the whole of the last film deliberating, Katniss is ready to take action against the Capitol. Claiming the head of President Snow (Donald Sutherland, deliciously despicable as ever) is at the top of her to-do list, even if that means defying the orders of the power-hungry leader of 13, President Coin (Julianne Moore).While Collins ditched her own formula for the third book by leaving out any actual Games, Mockingjay – Part 2 more closely apes the structure of the first two films, with the booby-trapped Capitol making for an impressive ersatz arena as the action is televised and beamed to the masses.Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Screens are even illuminated with the day's 'kills', displayed along with the Games' trademark musical theme.Torrents of tar, motion-sensitive machine guns and the freakiest mutts yet await Katniss and co as they make their way through the city to Snow’s palatial safehouse. The scale of the action is impressive, from the helijet bombings and the abandoned cityscapes, to the teeming crowds of extras.That said, some of the most impressive set-pieces take place on a much smaller scale, the highlight being a particularly tense subterranean showdown, with director Francis Lawrence (who has been with the series since Catching Fire) ratcheting up the claustrophobia.
And while the special-effects budget is flaunted on the screen for all to see, there’s still time for the pointed satirical messages that have always separated the franchise from its more lightweight peers; Katniss sets off on her mission as the figurehead of the ‘Star Squad’, an elite team whose objective is to lag behind and film propaganda videos in relative safety. The cost of war – and its rules – is ruminated on frequently.Trying to cram so much in to an action-heavy narrative does lead to some clunky moments and the dialogue can occasionally jar. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the majority of the supporting players get short shrift.Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Liam Hemsworth’s Gale might be nearing its conclusion, but it's as inconsequential to the overall story as it has ever been, meaning it’s hard to care all that much about its outcome.With so many characters accumulated over the last three films, anyone outside of the central Katniss-Peeta-Gale triptych struggles to get a word in, limiting the emotional impact of some of the farewells. You might end up feeling that your particular favourite got shortchanged. Newcomers get even less to work with. Let’s hope Gwendoline Christie has a more substantial presence in Star Wars: The Force Awakens than her single scene here.
Thankfully, Jennifer Lawrence is predictably superb. At this point, you wouldn’t expect any less. The Oscar-winner once again imbues Katniss with an utterly convincing steeliness that’s offset by a subtly played vulnerability. It’s this performance that has been such a key hook for the series as a whole, and never more so than here. If there’s a poignancy that comes from knowing that she’ll (probably) never be seen on screen as the character again, that feeling is boosted by a couple of low-key moments for the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final posthumous role.To the series’ credit, the stakes feel genuinely high.Download The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, It’s a welcome quality in a blockbuster landscape dominated by inconsequential CGI-smackdown climaxes. OK, so it’s hard not to see the decision to split the final book into two films as a cynical one – a single Mockingjay film might’ve made for a more urgent conclusion. But for anyone who has been keenly following the series, it’s impossible to see Part 2 as anything other than a satisfying ending.Staying true to the source material and refusing to talk down to its audience (as well as once again pushing the 12A rating to its limits) this is assured and confident franchise filmmaking. After the dust has settled on this installment, its absence will be keenly felt. Let’s hope, like the Mockingjay, its legacy can continue to inspire.