Michael's Review of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2"
#1
Now that I have seen the final installment I must say that I have really enjoyed this film series. I think it will have more staying power than "Twilight". At least, I am not so interested in the "Twilight" films now as I was when they first came out but I still enjoy watching "Hunger Games" movies.

"Mockingjay, Part 2" really doesn't have the complexity of the earlier movies. All the players have been set in their places and we just need to roll toward the conclusion of the story. There are still multiple angles as people pursue their own objectives but Katniss has become more focused on what she needs to do. The character has grown since the first movie where she just stumbled into the limelight by volunteering to take Prim's place in the Reaping.

This last version of Katniss is confident, resolute, and even strategic. She has learned the lessons of war, to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

But she has also retained that last shred of humanity that stands between her and the fallacies of the other Victors who have turned to drugs and alcohol to ease their pain. What has struck me as most cogent and meaningful about all these movies is just how well they represent the challenges faced by people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that is something all the Victors have to deal with.

They live in constant fear of being thrown back into that life-or-death situation and they dull their senses of the world around them so they don't have to watch more people suffer. I find these characterizations to be very realistic.

And it is that sense of being trapped that makes the whole story work so well for me. The characters are not just motivated by "a quest arc" or "a threat to the world". They are very intensely trapped in the world they want to unmake. We have watched them kill and lose friends and allies and we have watched President Snow play his delicate manipulation games. But you really get a sense for just how evil the government has become when the game makers themselves go to war.

Any sympathy that the audience once had for Caesar Flickerman also vanishes as he continues to support Snow despite the rebellion's success. It's hard to imagine Caesar wanting to be anywhere else. He is one of the Capital's true elite leaders and his fate is tied up with Snow's.

The special effects were mostly good. I was a little disappointed with the last set of mutts but I don't know what could have been done to make them seem more real. You think of Katniss as a killer throughout the movie because she has killed but there really isn't any loss of life (as portrayed in the movie) when mutts are slain. They are just game components waiting to be cut down.

The final confrontation between Katniss and Snow was also well done. Of course, anyone who has read the book knows what happens and how things turn out. But they did a very good job of leading up to the great moment. Donald Sutherland hammed it up for all it was worth. His President Snow, doomed and defeated, was defiantly arrogant until the very end. He was in a way Katniss' mentor for the most important decision of her life and they brought it off convincingly.

Finally, ever since Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death we have been wondering how they would plug the gap in the production schedule. It looks to me like they only needed to alter two scenes. One apparently reused previously filmed footage. The other scene was cleverly written and I won't spoil it.

All in all I would say that this is a very good movie and anyone who has seen the first three will want to watch this one at least twice if not more often. It's a definite tear-jerker and you could hear people in the audience openly crying for some of the characters.
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#2
I never had any interest in these movies, but this review changes that. Nice job!

I figured the series was an Americanization of Battle Royale, and I was satisfied with the original. I see now that it is much more than that.
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