It’s truly the end of an era. With Thanksgiving heading our way in less than a week, we are thankful for our last hurrah with Katniss Everdeen and company in The Mockingjay: Part 2. This film is the final goodbye, and what an incredible farewell it was. It seems oddly appropriate that the number one box office hit this week features a war riddled class system that employs political propaganda to sway ideals. From filmography to acting, this movie was so intensely heartbreaking and satisfying, that I don’t know if I ever have to watch it again.
Jennifer Lawrence gave the performance of a lifetime. One of the greatest opportunities we have as viewers of these multi-year spanning young adult adaptations is that we get to watch the actors grow and develop. That certainly applies to the now Oscar winning, Ms. Lawrence. She has gone from a poor, scrappy hunter to the epitome of a war woman, doting battle scars and a never-give-up attitude. There was so much love put in to this performance. With every rah-rah monologue and battle of inner demons, you can literally see every wrinkle of emotion written on her face. Paired along with Josh Hutcherson who portrayed a shockingly convincing enactment of PTSD, we were left viewing an immaculate performance. It was a very powerful think to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman on screen one last time. Mockingjay: Part Two was just about finished filming when news of his untimely death hit papers, and to see him as Plutarch one last time was bittersweet.
This film was brutal. Considering the theme of the last couple of films have been throwing kids into a televised death ring, I’ll go ahead and say that this movie far surpasses small scale targeted death. Katniss and crew go on a suicide mission through the capital in attempts to assassinate President Snow. The Capital is riddled with traps called PODS that have one purpose, to kill. This was a nice little nod to the “Hunger Games”, and a common theme throughout the film is that in life you are constantly playing a game. It’s fitting that the characters, even though they are leading a rebellion, are still just pawns. There are some scenes that have some civilian casualties that are extremely difficult to take in. Be prepared for a lot of ugly crying, I mean that literally. There’s a lot of ugly crying.
This series is so visually dynamic. The attention to detail depending on where you are and what color palette is used is absolutely remarkable. When traveling through the different districts there is a palpable change from the grays and blacks of District 12 to the vibrant colors of the Capital. This theme of color coding has been a constant from the very beginning all the way through the end.
There’s some serious plot twists and some devastating deaths in this film. I feel like every ten minutes I was gasping for air, because reading about someone dying then watching their fate come into fruition is a completely different experience, and it’s gut-wrenching. When you travel on this journey with these characters you’re in it for the long haul, and when they aren’t, it has a devastating effect.
I think my only serious gripe with this film is the very ending scene. I don’t know who brought the happy ending flash forward to the future clip to cinema, but that person needs to burn. Please don’t get it twisted, I loved how the film’s plot ended, I just found the very end unnecessary.
I have to take time to applaud director Francis Lawrence and screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong. Those guys have crafted a masterpiece. There will never be a need to reboot this series. There will never be another actress who should play Katniss. This was the end all be all in post-apocalyptic thrillers, and their representation of themes in the world today was seamless to the plot.
I remember the first time I read Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay. I sat in my living room, next to my piano, barely capable of reading the last pages through water glazed eyes. Five years doesn’t seem that long however, looking back on the themes and understanding I had of the plot, I wish I had known more. There are so many heavy tones in these films, and with this one especially. Children dealing with meaningless death, tragedy of a war-ridden country, buying in to lies so long as you are comfortable. After leaving the theaters having just seen the first movie, I remember thinking, “I don’t really identify with Panem. This could never be a real place.” Years later, I realize the reality of the themes, and how close to home they really are. That is the cornerstone of an incredible film. Being able to dictate strands of reality through a story that makes one sit back and think. The Hunger Games accomplished just that.