Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Still on fire
Last week I almost watched Mockingjay - Part 2, the fourth and final installment in the Hunger Games franchise. I say 'almost' because my cinema experience was not without flaws, as we were asked to evacuate the cinema hall, only to have it be a false alarm, after which followed 20 minutes of sound but no picture, in the end resulting in a full-on evacuation. I really wish you'd have made up your mind faster, Kinepolis! Fortunately we were never in any real danger and nothing happened, but I want to inform you that this review is based on only 70% of the movie. 

Kinepolis ontruimd november 2015
Welcome to the Capitol!
Anyway, MJ2 signifies the end of a blockbuster dystopian science fiction adventure franchise that churned out four movies in as many years, launching the flawless Jennifer Lawcrence into Hollywood superstardom. Just like #2 Catching Fire and #3 MJ1, Mockingjay- Part 2 was directed by Austrian director Francis Lawrence (no relation), who took the reins from Gary Ross early in 2012. 

The skinny

As is often the case with sequels, MJ2 picks up right where MJ1 left off. After nearly being murdered by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a traumatized Katniss (Lawrence) is found recovering in District 13, where Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are still leading the rebellion against the Capitol. When the Capitol's weapons supply in District 2 is neutralized, all President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has left standing is the Capitol, inciting Katniss to approach Coin and volunteer to go there and kill him. Coin declines, wanting to preserve her Mockingjay as the symbol of the revolution, but Katniss doesn't like that and sneaks away. She is assigned to Squad 451, dodging ambushes in the streets of the Capitol as they work their way toward Snow.

The review

As I said before, I have not yet watched the entire movie, so my opinion might change in the future.

While I absolutely love the concept of the franchise and all the actors in it, I believe that director Francis Lawrence did MJ2 a disservice by basically "doing more of the same". MJ1 felt largely like filler for the franchise's grand finale, which I understand, but there are no excuses for the first 65 minutes of said finale to also drag and be boring. Less stage-setting and yakking would have been preferable, since it made the ending of the much-loved franchise appear rushed, with hardly any time dedicated to solving all the loose ends. Wobbliness aside, Mockingjay - Part 2 is still a powerful piece of cinema, if only because we have become so familiar with the characters and conflicts over time. 

All in all, MJ2 is an enjoyable and fitting conclusion to what started as a child-versus-child death match in 2012.

Oh, and I'm just going to leave this here:

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