The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Lionsgate)
Since 2012, we have been receiving movie versions of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy. That was the year we were introduced to Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). In 2013, there was Catching Fire and in 2014 we got Mockingjay Part 1. Finally Mockingjay Part 2 has arrived and we get to the end of the stories. The trouble is many members of the potential audience are just not that hungry for the games anymore.
This latest film starts right where "Part 1" ended. Katniss is working with the rebels under the leadership of Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Gale is right there alongside her, and Peta has been taken by the rebels but is undergoing treatment to stabilize him. He was brainwashed so to speak by President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
Katniss has two missions in this movie. She intends to find and kill Snow, and she also knows at some point she will have to choose between Peeta and Gale. That is the basic plot of the movie and laying it out should be a simple task. Director Frances Lawrence, however, takes his own sweet time to get these intentions accomplished. It takes forever for anything of interest to take place on the screen, and when the mission to kill does kick in it is two steps forward and one step back.
Only the most loyal of Hunger Games fans will be engrossed by this over-extended story. Most will recognize filler for what it is and chomp at the bit for something valid to occur on screen. In the early movies the cast of talented actors shared the load, but not anymore. Lawrence is the big star in Hollywood and this movie focuses on Katniss from beginning to end. Actors such as Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Willow Shields have a scene or two and then disappear.
Lawrence is a good actress, but she now seems to be just going through the motions with her Katniss character. She has many, many moments of inner reflection, but this does nothing to move the story along. Plus her energy level is lacking in this film. Everyone knows she has been fighting battles for a long time but shouldn't adrenaline click in at some point?
This is a dark, somber movie about Katniss' final journey to find justice for herself and her family. It doesn't stir the audience up as much as wear them down. For the "conclusion" to a four part series, it is without any emotional involvement or triumphant celebration. It answers most of the questions raised along the way but it doesn't do it with any panache.
The film is rated PG-13 for violence.
Fans have waited a long time to get the full Hunger Games story. This second half of the story could easily have been incorporated into "Part 1" if they had adhered to the basic plot line and peppered it with exciting but concise action sequences. This "Mockingjay" makes a mockery of the movie that could have been.
I scored The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 a bloated 5 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper, www.jackiekcooper.com.