The Hunger Games has come to an end. The final film in the series, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, is now playing in theaters and moviegoers everywhere can see how the story of Katniss Everdeen reaches its conclusion. With this finale marks another franchise based on a popular book series that has reached its end. For almost 15 years stories such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have become hit films. Now as Hunger Games joins the rank of completed franchises, I feel the need to look back at these series and their finale to see how these endings played an impact on the movie world.
The Lord of the Rings
It began in 2001 when director Peter Jackson took moviegoers to Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Lord of the Rings became a household name in the world of film, and to this day the trilogy are some of my favorite movies of all time. For three years the tales of Middle Earth graced the silver screen, but it all came to a head in 2003 with The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. With previous chapters making such an impact, many could only hope that Return of the King would be a great send off to this trilogy; and sure enough it was. Though it could be extensive, Return of the King featured the proper atmosphere to end the story of the one ring. To this day the film is one of the most solid endings to a film. The Lord of the Rings is one of the best trilogy in film history and, thanks to Return of the King, it is a set of films that I love to watch again and again.
Along with Lord of the Rings, another popular fantasy series made its way to the silver screen in 2001. Though the stories had yet to be completed, it did not stop Warner Bros from turning Harry Potter into a movie series.It was uncommon for something like Harry Potter to become movie franchise when the novels had yet to conclude, but oddly enough the stories of J.K Rowling were just as successful in a celluloid format as they were in written print. For ten years Harry Potter charmed moviegoers with eight films to its name. It all came to a head in 2010 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrived in theaters. Though 2010 marked the beginning of the series' final journey, it was not the last film as The Deathly Hallows was split into two films with Part 2 premiering in the summer of 2011. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would start the trend to split these films into parts. Despite the intention behind the concept, I found splitting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two films to be a unique experience; and fortunately the split did pay off. Like its source, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a strong send off to the series. Everything, from the story to the spectacle, made the finale worthwhile to see. Even being split into two films, Deathly Hallows' presentation was still effective as both parts felt like one massive movie. In the end Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was fitting end for the franchise, and experiencing the films made it pleasing to be both a Harry Potter fan as well as a moviegoer.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Following the likes of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter was none other then The Chronicles of Narnia. The stories by C.S. Lewis have been known for years, but the series never had a coherent film franchise. It was not until Walt Disney Pictures decided to bring the books to the silver screen starting with The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Since then there have been three movies to the Narnia name. The last film arrived in 2011 with The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. While it may not have been as strong as its predecessors, Voyage of the Dawn Treader was a satisfying ending to the story started in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; not to mention it being a fun adventure. Though it is possible for more Narnia films in the future, I feel that Voyage of Dawn Treader was satisfying way to conclude this fantasy series for the time being.
The Twilight Saga
If ever there was a more polarizing film franchise, it would have to be The Twilight Saga. The books from Stephanie Meyer created a massive following; so Twilight becoming a film series was all but inevitable. For Twilight fans the movies seemed to be fitting interpretation of the books, but for this Film Adventurer, it was not the most pleasing experience. I found the films aggravating to say the least as they tried to make romance novels into blockbusters and the transition did not work. Nevertheless the franchise came to end in 2011-2012 with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Sticking to the trend started by Deathly Hallows, Breaking Dawn would be split into two films with both parts coming out a year between each other. In my case, the ending to The Twilight Saga was not as strong as something like Harry Potter. The first part exceeded at the concept of padding while Part 2 (though not as aggravating) was anticlimactic. Breaking Dawn just strengthen the fact that much of Twilight's story was unnecessary. While Twilight fans were likely pleased with the Saga's ending, I cannot share the same sentiments.
Just because Lord of the Rings ended in 2003 did not mean we were finished with the tales of Middle Earth. Talk began to brew of Warner Bros/New Line Cinemas creating a film on The Hobbit. Sure enough the story of Bilbo Baggins found its way to become a movie, but the development of this film interesting to say the least. Not only did the film see a change in its director with Peter Jackson returning to Middle Earth oppose to be Guillermo Del Toro, but The Hobbit managed to become a trilogy. It began with An Unexpected Journey and the trilogy would play out like The Lord of the Rings with each film hitting theaters a year apart. The ending to this trilogy came in 2014 with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (originally titled There and Back Again). I stand in the minority on The Hobbit as I accepted the idea of this series being a trilogy. The series could have worked with just two films, but I found that The Hobbit found a way to work as a trilogy. In the case of The Battle of the Fives Armies, the film did make the conclusion of The Hobbit worthwhile. While there were some issues, I thought The Battle of the Five Armies had a strong presentation (plus the issues I had with the film were resolved thanks the movie's extended edition). In the end, The Battle of the Five Armies may not have been as definitive as The Return of the King, but this movie still made for a satisfying conclusion; and it did help to bring the Middle Earth Saga together as coherent saga.
The Hunger Games
Last and not least is the guest of honor: The Hunger Games. The series got its start in the spring of 2012, and the first film certainly got viewers attention (well it got my attention at least). Since then, The Hunger Games films have hit theaters in holiday season and each part has arrived in a year times. Like films before it The Hunger Games: Mockingjay would be split into two parts. Part 1 arrived last year and now The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has now hit theaters. While I was skeptical about Mockingjay being split into two films, I could not deny the end results. Mockingjay managed to be solid finale to the series as both parts capture the engaging concepts that were created in this franchise. In the case of Mockingjay Part 2, the film was quite thrilling as it was filled with plenty of twists and turns. In the end the last Hunger Games film was proper ending for the series and, much it like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Mockingjay used both parts to the best of their abilities. I was not a big fan of The Hunger Games before the films arrived, but I was very pleased to see this novel series receive a fitting finale.
This might be a tad presumptuous but I feel that with the ending of the Hunger Games we are reaching a conclusion of a trend. While franchises such as Divergent and Maze Runner have yet to conclude, I feel that after those films we will see an end to popular book franchises (at least for the time being). While this movie type could be excessive, there is no denying that many of the movies have help shape a decade of film. Many of these movie proved to be not just solid adaptions but good movies as well. Though good things must come to an end, it has pleasing to see so many popular books help to continue the ever expanding novel that is movies.