Photo from Entertainment Weekly
By Rylie Bernard
Nearly one year after Part 1 of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” Part 2 has been released, ending the series with a bang. Mostly.
The final movie to depict the famed book trilogy picks up with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark recovering in the hospital – after a Capitol-brainwashed Peeta attempted to murder Katniss. The war on Panem continues, and Katniss (the Mockingjay herself) remains the manipulated face of the resistance, however reluctantly. When the support of all the districts has finally been won, Katniss is determined to end everything once and for all – by taking out President Snow.
That mission is made slightly more complicated by the necessity of manipulating the public through Katniss’ image and actions (which also makes her instantly recognizable to almost anyone, a fact that made room for many good moments of tension during the movie). Peeta’s constant struggle to rediscover reality and remember the truth also complicates things, as he often has to be restrained from attacking Katniss – a difficult feat when Katniss and the rest of their crew are already battling through difficult enemies on their trek through the Capitol.
Right in the beginning, we got to see what I thought was Josh Hutcherson’s best acting to date; tied into his hospital bed, he screams that Katniss is a monster, with his eyes fiery and spit flying. Actually, I thought a lot of the acting in this movie was well done – Jennifer Lawrence had a similarly impressive scene, spent screaming and then crying at her sister Prim’s cat.
I believe the quality acting and the well-planned action scenes would entice even someone who has never seen the other movies or read the books to stay and watch it through.
Although some of the sets were obviously sets (which yes, quite a lot of movies are shot on sets, but for a bigger-budget film like The Hunger Games series, it was surprisingly obvious), the special effects remained strong. The effects used for the oil scene stood out – even the noise the oil made perfectly matched the sludge that was engineered.
The camera work was also very good – during a scene in tunnels under the Capitol, a great combination of shaky camera – it followed different fighters and mimicked the motions one might make in a real fight – and different angles made the viewer feel as if they were part of it. The movie was very good at creating tension, especially in the fighting or escaping scenes – almost like a jump-scare horror movie at some points, where scenes have you holding your breath along with the characters.
However, after what I thought was one of the most exciting scenes in the movie – the squad fighting mutts and escaping into the heart of the Capitol after a series of deadly traps – is interrupted by a poorly planned and awkward kiss between Peeta and Katniss. The intense adventure scene was ended by Peeta breaking down in defeat, only to regain heart due to an instantaneously-given kiss from Katniss. Hollywood can never resist a good romance moment, but this one just seemed crammed into an otherwise well-planned scene.
All in all, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 was a good movie, although some of the writing led to cringe-worthy scenes, the actors showed their potential and the action remained high throughout the movie, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.