Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The (2015)

Review #1,236






THE SCOOP
Director:  Francis Lawrence
Cast:  Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Plot:  As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.

Genre:  Adventure / Sci-Fi
Awards:  -
Runtime:  137min
Rating:  PG13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material.
Distributor:  Lionsgate
Singapore Distributor:  Cathay-Keris Films

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
We can take down the Capitol.

I would be sympathetic to fans having had to wait this long for the franchise to complete its final lap.  The anticipation is there, but I don't think it is at the level of the previous three movies.  The excitement has fizzled somewhat, and surveyors of young adult fiction based movies would notice a kind of fatigue creeping in.  After all, 'Hunger Games' wannabe franchises – the 'Divergent' and 'Maze Runner' series, are not exactly lighting up the box-office, let alone being great movies to boot.

But Mockingjay Part 2 continues the series' good form, once again directed by Francis Lawrence in a serviceable picture that has the requisite spectacle and drama to make it worth another trip to the theaters, however barely.  There is just enough fanfare to satisfy the die-hards, and for me as a non-fan, the stakes as built up by the earlier movies put me in a position of curiosity.  I'm keen to see how the drama plays out (having not read the book) and the fates that the characters await. 

There's not much to say about Jennifer Lawrence; she is commanding as usual though in this movie she has to navigate more dramatic terrain than at any point in the franchise.  Much of the political subtext is also now made more obvious, and to be honest, Mockingjay Part 2 works better as such than it is as an action blockbuster.  Speaking of which, the film is also less on action and more on suspense – there is an incredibly tense underground tunnel sequence that would have felt at home in a film like Aliens (1986). 

One might be inclined to feel that Mockingjay Part 2 is one film too many, possibly superfluous though necessary to provide closure.  I am sure it would have worked better as a single 3-hour movie with Part 1.  But then again, fans would lap up any opportunity to see 'another' Hunger Games movie.  As the dust settles, albeit with good, but not-so-fantastic box-office results, the big question is not so much if there will be another installment (in the not-so-distant future with blessings from author Susannze Collins), but which tentpole movie will J. Law headline next. 

Verdict:  Not exactly a rousing finale, but it rounds up the popular franchise with just enough fanfare and satisfaction.

GRADE: B 






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