RELEASE DATE: November 20, 2015
(2D theaters and IMAX)
DIRECTOR: Francis Lawrence
MPAA RATING: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material)
SCREENWRITERS: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
STARRING: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
GENRE: Drama, Action, Sci-Fi
Review by David S. Dawson
The blockbuster franchise that began in 2012 comes to its explosive and deadly conclusion in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Starting immediately from the conclusion of Part 1 Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) must face the reality that her partner in the games, Peeta (Josh Hutchinson) may never be the same. With Peeta’s fate in question and with politicians from both sides playing Katniss’ role as inspiration for the rebellion into their own favor, she must find a way to reach the Capitol and take down President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
It is important to state that having never read the books I was able to enjoy the conclusion of the film franchise without expectation or pre-conceived notions of how it should end. With that in mind here we go. I really enjoyed it. The Hunger Games franchise has accomplished something I never would have expected from a young adult franchise, it was brutally honest. Katniss’ journey from poor small town hunter to the leader of the rebellion was fun in the early films and has matured as the films have progressed. The machinations of those in power pulling the strings of her life and manipulating everything around her is a truly complex and sophisticated story to tell. One that George Lucas failed at with the Star Wars prequels. The Hunger Games has managed to show that in war nothing is what it seems. Good… Bad… these are titles that mean nothing. People make choices. People seek power. People inevitably use other people to gain what they want. When President Coin (Julianne Moore) finds that Katniss is actually beyond her control she is just as dangerous to our hero as President Snow ever was. The line between right and wrong is always blurred for those seeking power. This is a story that is masterfully handled in the film and pays off in the final act.
The fallout of the Hunger Games and the war that follows is also told with a maturity that took me by surprise. No one leaves this battlefield unaffected. I remember thinking throughout the first two films that Post Traumatic Stress must be a tremendous problem for the Victors of the games. This final story drives that home ten-fold as all of the characters we’ve come to know in the films join in the battle to liberate Panem. I found the depth of these conclusions very satisfying and surprising.