Let’s Get Reel: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Kevin Doyle ’16, Movie Columnist

Though many people already saw Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 over Thanksgiving break, I only just saw it this past weekend. This is the final entry in the Hunger Games franchise and it followed the trend of breaking up the last book of the series into two parts (à la Harry Potter, Twilight, etc.).

The plot starts where the last movie left off. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is still recovering from a near-fatal attack inflicted by her former lover and Hunger Games companion, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). After Katniss sees how the Capitol has brainwashed Peeta, she is spurred to go fight on the frontlines of the rebel forces, which are quickly approaching the Capitol. Against the wishes of rebel leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss sneaks away from District 13 to join the soldiers.Once joined with her friend and sometimes lover Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Katniss is integrated into an all-star unit, with the goal of shooting propaganda films. Katniss has no interest in this side mission and has the one goal of killing President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

I have already written on one of the Hunger Games movies earlier in The Dickinsonian, and my opinion of the series has not improved as it has progressed. I will say that I have never read the books that this series is based on, but many have told me that it did not merit being split into two parts. Regardless of whether there was material or not, Mockingjay Part 2 felt uneven in its pacing (though not nearly as boring as the first Mockingjay). This movie is not irredeemable and it certainly had its moments, but they were surrounded by mediocre filler scenes. It is easy to envision both Mockingjay movies combined into a much better single movie, as the director Francis Lawrence should have done. I hope that someday soon studios will collectively decide to stop needlessly lengthening movies based on famous source material.

One interesting part of the movie that stood out to me were the political elements in the fictional world of Panem. It touched on several interesting aspects of asymmetric warfare, such as who the combatant is and who can be legitimately targeted. While these ideas were not fully developed, there were many uncomfortable parallels between the freedom fighters in Panem and the terrorist threats faced today (as the quote goes “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”). The scene that stood out in my mind was when Katniss and Gale decide to attempt the assassination against President Snow by disguising themselves as refugees. The production team would have had no way to predict the political climate in 2015 when they started filming in 2013, but that scene seemed unintentionally relevant to today’s current refugee quagmire.

If you are a diehard fan of the book series, really enjoyed the last movies, or just want a standard blockbuster, Mockingjay Part 2 will suffice. Otherwise, rewatch Harry Potter for a good “young adult” film series.