It’s another edition of “Maggie watches a movie that she should have watched back when it came out and she didn’t!”
So, I read the Hunger Games books about 5 years back, soon after the third book came out, and after getting recommendations from people that they were good. They were a fascinating dystopian read, and I breezed through, despite the fact that as the series go on, the books get darker, and sadder, and more real. But I enjoyed them, and had the audiobooks on my phone that I would listen to often when I was running (especially while training for the first half marathon I did). They were familiar, and interesting enough to keep my mind going.
And then the first movie came out, and while there was various controversies about the casting, but it didn’t stop me from seeing it and loving it. Rarely had a movie felt so much like the book. I saw the second movie and was just amazed. And then at the third movie, they split it up into two parts. This was in the golden age of breaking up single novels for multi-part movie franchises, so it wasn’t a surprise, and they did it at the ideal break in the novel, so I didn’t feel so bad about it. But the third movie was such a downer, and very meh on action and adventure the way that the first two had been that by the time the fourth movie came around to theaters, I just never saw it.
And then I watched it on the plane on the way back from London, and I can honestly say that I’m not sorry I missed it in theaters. I mean, it wasn’t bad. It was fine. But you can just tell from watching that the three leads were tired of playing these characters, of having this series extended just to bump up sales receipts for the movie studio.
Yes, there was more action and adventure than in the last movie. Yes, it kept up a decent pace so that you didn’t feel like it was dragging (this would be my only comment on that last book as well). But the main problem is and was that the emotional layer seems to have been removed. The characters have to feel less in order to push through the nightmare that is happening around them, and instead of becoming move concerned for their humanity, we as the viewers begin to feel numb to the world that they’re in as well. This movie is about an inch deep emotionally until we get towards the end.
And then, it’s not just the one ending – like The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, this too could have ended about 4 or 5 different times and it would have been a proper ending. They could have cut to black and people would have been satisfied. I know they were following the book, but for whatever reason, I don’t remember the book feeling that choppy at the end. Maybe it did. Maybe I’m looking back with rose-colored glasses on a story that needed wrapping up, and was done in a way that I was willing to overlook for a “happy ending”.
In any case, I’m glad I watched it? As someone who feels the need to see things through to the very end unless they’re completely horrible…yeah. It was fine. Should you watch it? Eh – not unless you too have seen all the other movies and need some kind of closure before you can move on with your life.
Details: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, written by Peter Craig and Danny Strong, directed by Francis Lawrence. On DVD/Blu-Ray, streaming services, etc.