I had the opportunity to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 last Tuesday and, while I think it was a beautifully made tribute to the book that made it famous, many may not be as pleased about this final installment as myself. I was not excited about the splitting of the final book into two films, thinking that it is an overdone technique just to make money; however, in this instance, I think it was the right move. Having watched Mockingjay - Part 1 the night before, Mockingjay - Part 2 picked right up where the first had left off, seamlessly continuing Katniss' story of healing after Peeta's first brainwashed attack from the end of Part 1.
Though much of the movie goes between fast-paced action and slow-paced preparation for that action, much like the book, even the supporting actors--from Liam Hemsworth to Josh Hutcherson--did an excellent job in creating their morally-not-so-clear-cut characters culminating in a dramatic and satisfying ending to this fantastic franchise. Thanks to Suzanne Collins' involvement and the incredible performances of Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Jena Malone, and the rest of the cast, this conclusion film truly made the book jump off the pages. Filling our hearts with the pain that comes from war and dictatorship, the final scenes are as hopeful as can be expected after such a menacing story arch.
Where the first movie, The Hunger Games, was somewhat lacking due to budget (though, obviously not in talent), Mockingjay upped the ante making their finale one of the best films in the series. I do not see myself as a purist when it comes to books-turned-movies; in fact, I think that movies have to make changes that will make things in that medium more understandable, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 did that in only the best ways while keeping what was true to the books very much intact. Many saw the final book installment lacking, with a disastrously dreadful ending, but in the face of war the outcome is always less than ideal and this film clearly kept that truth, which is what I think makes it so fantastically done.
Much of what Katniss feels in the book (much like the first two books) is an inner dialogue that is expressed in her own head space, while maintaining her somewhat removed characteristics to the rest of her dystopian world. Obviously, that is hard to pull off in a movie without adding a narration from the main character (whether in true narration form or in breaking the fourth wall, ala House of Cards), but, due to Jennifer Lawrence's fantastic performance, Katniss Everdeen is brought to life even more than before with her emotions being fantastically communicated not by her words, but through her eyes and body language while maintaining her hardened exterior. If history remembers nothing else is from The Hunger Games series, I can only hope that Jennifer Lawrence's performance lands her many more future roles.