DIRECTOR: Francis Lawrence LEAD CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh HutchersonLiam Hemsworth PRODUCERS: Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik SUPERVISING ART DIRECTORS: David Sheunemnn, Stefan Speth, Dan Webster ADAPTATION: Suzanne Collins (from her novel “Mockingjay”) SCREENPLAY: Peter Craig, Danny Strong FILM EDITORS: Alan Edward Bell, Mark Yoshikawa MUSIC: James Newton Howard GENRE: Adventure, Science Fiction CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jo PRODUCTION MANAGER: Lucy Appleby PRODUCTION DESIGN: Philip Messina COSTUME DESIGNERS: Kurt and Bart PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Color Force, Lionsgate, Studio Babelsberg (co-production) DISTRIBUTORS: Lionsgate FILMING LOCATIONS: 13 locations in Germany, USA and France LANGUAGE: English RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes
Technical assessment: 4
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating: V14
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), both a victor in and subverter of Panem’s Hunger Games, is now a symbol of the revolution whom rebel president Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and power broker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) want to use strictly as a poster girl. Stubborn freedom-fighter Katniss, however, has her own agenda, and that includes killing President Snow (Donald Sutherland]) to end once and for all the senseless deaths of so many young people. Forming a team of rag-tag soldiers that include closest friends Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin), and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), she goes off on a mission, risking their lives through a booby-trapped war to liberate the citizens of Panem. The final confrontation between Katniss and Snow, presided over by Coin, is an electrifying game-changer.
The Hunger Games is not exempted from the fad of chopping into “parts” the movie adaptations of popular books. Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hobbit—they have all stretched their heroes’ exploits to prolong box office earning power, and yet the fans wait. After Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which, judging from its relatively weak performance at the tills, must have been a forgettable movie that tested the patience of fans, Mockingjay Part 2 revs up with more of the thrills that have made the Hunger Games series the prototype of dystopia flicks for young adults (Divergent, et al.). The strong cast monumentally contributes to the realism of the Hunger Games franchise—how can it go wrong with a leonine Sutherland, a steely Moore, a sly Hoffman? And, of course, the winner Lawrence who can equally sell with aplomb parts calling for either vulnerability or verve. In Mockingjay 2 the stars’ solid performances, interwoven with heart-stopping CGI, make for a fitting finale to a story that capitalizes on man’s inhumanity to man.It’s surprising that a number of film critics are disappointed with the film’s ending, calling it “sappy” and an anti-climactic conclusion to an adrenalin-packed series that promised so much by way of action and heroism. Their cynical remarks remind us of biblical Israel waiting for a savior who would topple down the ruling elite with its own brand of kingship, but is instead given a Jesus Christ. CINEMA thinks the ending is actually a statement that magnifies the upbeat message of the whole story: enough is enough. Murder as spectator sport is sub-human. At least, when beasts kill, it is to survive, but in Panem, the poor young people are robbed of choice and must kill in order to live—as entertainment for the elite. So Mockingjay mocks the elite; it cries, “Give humanity a chance.” What’s wrong with wanting to dump violence to start afresh? Choose life, not death. Arrows that used to kill people are also useful for hunting fowl for the dinner table—is that against the law? “Turn your swords into ploughs and your spears into pruning hooks.” Maybe the cynics’ eyes have grown to love the Hunger Games’ darkness that the sunlight-dappled scenery blinds them. Or maybe after falling in love with the couture of Panem’s stylish crowd, they’re simply horrified by Katniss’ drastic costume change. Whatever, CINEMA wouldn’t have wanted the ending any other way.