If I’m lucky, the teen action/drama genre will finally die now that the final Hunger Games movie has been released. However, if this movie ends up pulling a Deathly Hallows Part 2 and grosses over one billion dollars at the box office, I can pretty much guarantee that at some point someone will continue the story (even if it is blatantly pointless). Hey, if someone can get away with rebooting Spider-Man only 5 years after his last big screen appearance (Spider-Man 3), who says there are limits? Sorry, I just needed to vent. Mockingjay Part 2, a movie which surprised me with how boring it turned out to be. Let’s find out why, shall we? Mockingjay Part 2 is directed by Francis Lawrence (no, he is not Jennifer’s father), and written by Peter Craig, Danny Strong, and Suzanne Collins (who wrote the “adaptation,” which I don’t understand). Stars-Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, and Donald Southerland. Premise-Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen, must work alongside President Coin in an effort to rally all of their resources to battle the Capitol to determine the future of Panem.
Because everyone is praising this movie for its dark tone and Jennifer’s performance (both which I disagree with), I will talk about what I think deserves praise first. The production design is cool, the F/X is decent, Donald Southerland, Sam Claflin, and Jena Malone are awesome, and James Newton Howard’s score makes every scene much more powerful. Some of the action scenes are entertaining, and there are many creative shots scattered throughout. In regards to Philip Seymour Hoffman (who influences every scene he is in with his mere presence), I believe they CGI’d him into each shot whenever it was necessary. It is pretty noticeable, but at least it’s not as painfully obvious as CGI Paul Walker. *Disclaimer: I actually miss Paul Walker and I understand that the filmmakers of Furious 7 only had so much time to find a solution*
Boy oh boy, what I am about to say may not be very well-received. I don’t like Jennifer Lawrence in this movie. She just keeps the same bland, uninterested facial expression throughout the entirety of the movie and because the movie tries very hard to get across this depressingly dark tone, it just doesn’t fit. Again, she won an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook and she has played a variety of different roles in her career, whether it is because of bad direction, or just her phoning it in, it is still a waste of rare talent. In regards to the script, well let’s just say that little was improved upon since Part 1. There are many scenes which are pointless, excruciatingly slow, or both. Not as atrocious as Part 1, but because they just HAD to split it into two parts, it only makes sense that the story would seem incomplete. Then again, they could have solved this problem by tightening up the editing and shortening the runtime (all movies don’t have to be over 2 hours in order to be entertaining guys). Aside from that, the dialog in this movie is pretty generic. Nearly everything Katniss says is a line you’ve heard before from another motivational underdog character, and a lot of the remaining dialog is very predictable. Finally, the camerawork. I like Francis Lawrence: his direction is primarily what made Catching Fire the best film in this franchise; he directed the very underrated (in my opinion) Constantine, and the decent I am Legend. However, with both Mockingjay films, he utilized shaky cam for whatever reason, and there are even jump scares in Part 2! What the heck? The Hunger Games is not an amateur horror film about cannibals, why are there jump scares (one of the most annoying clichés in all of cinema) in a Hunger Games movie?! It doesn’t help that these jump scares are extremely predictable and very poorly shot.
The last thing I want to say is actually a counter argument to the main reason most critics are praising this movie, the tone and atmosphere. Everyone loves how dark and gloomy this movie feels, I do not. Here’s the thing, every Hunger Games movie is depressingly dark! How is this a surprise to anyone, or better yet, how does this make Part 2 better than the other films? I think that because this movie tones down the humor and enjoyable side characters and replaces them with more scenes of rebels fighting back it actually makes it worse. Unlike when the Harry Potter movies changed their tone between Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban (which albeit, was distractingly sudden), when each movie has a similar tone it does not feel any different.
While better than Mockingjay Part 1, Mockingjay Part 2 still suffers from an average screenplay, a bland lead, and poor camerawork. Sure it has its moments, and even a few great action sequences, but I found myself (and my sister, who’s an avid lover of The Hunger Games) very disappointed. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C.
Hunger Games Films Ranked
The Hunger Games- C-
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire- B+
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- D
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2- C