As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.
The Hunger Games movies have been a mixed bag, overall. The first film, simply titled “The Hunger Games,” delivered a well-made, escapist adventure set in a dystopian future in the fictional setting of “Panem,” a country divided into twelve districts, with its Capitol serving the wealthy. Every year, children are chosen to partake in an annual televised competition called The Hunger Games, where they fight each other to the death and there can be only one winner.
Its sequel, “Catching Fire,” upped the ante and was by far the best in the series. With “Mockingjay – Part 1,” many hoped the filmmakers would recreate the magic of its predecessor but that was not meant to be. The final book was unnecessarily split into two movies, when one would have sufficed. Granted, while other franchises, such as Harry Potter and Twilight, began the trend of separating their concluding books into two movies, with Mockingjay, it felt more like a money squeeze than a legitimate effort to successfully finish the story.
After the events of “Mockingjay – Part 1,” Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), and a ragtag military platoon, make their way into the Capitol so that Katniss can kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s merciless and tyrannical leader. Along the way, they encounter deadly booby traps, the Capitol’s formidable military, and traitors among themselves. However, once they reach the Capitol, they are apprehended and shortly thereafter, Katniss receives devastating news which prompts her to comprehend who the real enemy is.
While the first two movies remained solely within the Young Adult territory that the books were aimed at, the two Mockingjay films deviate more into the political aspects of the games. Rather than focus on the action of the story at hand, they concentrate more on the government’s affairs of state, the rebellion’s political theories, and the country’s cultural and developmental differences. The film becomes so oppressive and overly severe, taking itself so seriously, it forgets to let the audience have some moments of levity and because of this disregard and inattention, the movie itself becomes its own downfall.
Jennifer Lawrence is the only actor on display here who does any sort of emoting, but ultimately, she is relegated to scowling and looking afflictive, probably how most people will feel after watching this final installment. Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and even Woody Harrelson and the deliciously evil Donald Sutherland, are reduced to caricatures of their former selves. There has been talk on the internet about the possibility of making more Hunger Games movies down the road but if the last two films are anything to go by, I hope Katniss buries her crossbow in the wilderness and disappears into District 14.
In theaters November 20th
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