In an age where it seems that the final book of any Young Adult series is bound to be split into two film adaptations, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” reveals the weaknesses of the model. Aside from a few high-energy action sequences, “Part 2’s” long-winded plot is more likely to induce a two hour nap than captivate its viewers.
Many movie-goers were disappointed last fall when they realized that “Mockingjay Part 1” was merely the repetitive and slow-moving build up to “Part 2,” and those who returned to theaters this November experienced little pay off.
The film boasts a supporting cast of established and talented actors, including Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, but their all-too-brief screen time flashes by quickly—the majority of the movie is focused upon Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.
Tough and battle-scarred, the Katniss of the first “Hunger Games” installment and “Catching Fire” was a strong-willed and empowering female role model. However, by “Part 2,” Katniss’s lack of emotion—other than a few angry outbursts—and perpetually blank face are more frustrating than admirable. Rather than feeling empathy for this traumatized shell of a girl, the viewer is merely desperate for her to make some sort of facial expression.
Though Lawrence is an exceptionally talented actress and it is clear that she takes the role seriously, even her skill is not enough to save the film from itself.
One of the only exciting elements of “Part 2” is its action scenes. The film’s special effects are undeniably impressive and the agony of watching Katniss’s beloved companions get picked off one-by-one by twisted booby-traps, like a giant oil tsunami, as well as mutated serpent-people called “mutts” is suspenseful and horrifically mesmerizing.
Another one of the movie’s bright spot is Jena Malone’s Johanna Mason. Despite being just as traumatized and emotionally broken as Katniss, Johanna’s rawness and bitter nature, along with her caustic humor, are a breath of fresh air from Katniss’s never-ending stoicism.
In between these action sequences, the plot meanders slowly. Katniss broods, Peeta struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder after being tortured and brainwashed by President Snow, Gale creates cruel and violent weapons for the rebels and the dry, power-hungry President Coin is given far too much screen time.
“Part 2’s” most egregious error, however, is its ending. Completely inconsistent with the dark, sober tone of the rest of the film, it takes place several years later in a sunny meadow as Katniss speaks saccharinely to her newborn child. Cheesy and absolutely unnecessary, it feels as though it’s part of a different film.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” is a disappointing and rambling ending to an otherwise-fascinating film series. Not even the talent of its star-studded cast can salvage the film.
Had it been combined with “Part 1,” the “Hunger Games” series’ final installment would’ve been a much more concise and satisfying conclusion.
Helen Stec is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.