Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Spoilers)

Sooooooo. Another franchise has ended. I've seen through so many. The Hobbit (ridiculous), Harry Potter (epic but not without flaws), Pirates of the Caribbean... All the things.

I read the Hunger Games trilogy at uni and as I recall, I finished Mockingjay at about 3.40am and sat there on the end of my bed in floods of tears, feeling a huge pit of disappointment and betrayal.

I guess I finally found myself fully sympathising with poor, long-suffering hedgehog, Katniss.  I felt a huge sense of loss and a sense that everything was for nothing, whilst desperately clinging to the epilogue.

Did I feel this when the films finished?  Not so much.  I felt more that in an attempt to keep the age ratings down, everything was watered down. So many scenes failed to punch me in the gut the way the book managed to.

I did see one review title out there calling it a "Hot Mess" - this is hyperbole. It wasn't the strongest film in the franchise, no, but I don't think it was a hot mess... unless you are coming to it completely ignorant of the events in the book, in which case, yeah, I suppose it was sloppy.

It picks up exactly where Part 1 left off: Peeta had just strangled Katniss.
This was dealt with well - we see a pained Katniss struggling to flex her vocal cords after having been silent for so long.  Plutarch calmly explains that Peeta has been hijacked and that with the right care, he is 'optimistic' that he will be rehabilitated.

Under-used excellence: Jenna Malone was unable to shine as Johanna Mason.
There are lots of glimmers of page-to-screen faithfulness, but there are several changes to the plot that were deemed either necessary or more appropriate, such as Katniss sneaking to the Capitol to join the fight rather than training up with Johanna (which in some ways was a real shame).

I think I'll stick to the positives... Cause I don't want this to be a total moaner of a post.
There are lots of positives. The effects are great. They work.
The acting was good and the extra characters from the book were well-cast.

Donald Sutherland was finally able to show his full abilities in that monumental scene where Katniss faces Snow in the Roses Greenhouse. He was the perfect blend of unhinged with possible sincerity. The book was always ambiguous as to whether Coin was behind the bombing that killed Prim, and the film decided to leave it that way.

Julianne Moor showed more with her eyes than any other part of her utterly grey-clad body was allowed. I enjoyed disliking her and hating her more than I did in the book. No amount of background building done in the first half of Mockingjay would make me like her. Also who can trust anybody who wears the same shade of clothing as their hair?

Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson were unsung stars, in my opinion. They built their characters on screen and played with the chemistry they had as actors, encorporating a new dynamic to their relationship. In my view, that's all now canon.  Whether he immediately fell off the wagon in the book or not.

Personally, I thought Lawrence was able to continue with her emotive performances, though the scene with the cat was perhaps spoiled by the comical expression on the cat's face... perhaps if the cat had been mewing pitifully rather than looking at her reproachfully.  If they had had the time, they should have played out Katniss's emotional turmoil, PTSD and depression as well as showing the time between Katniss and Haymitch's return to District 12 and Peeta's.

They should also have included the letter from Katniss's mother. She was just dropped from all consciousness.

Overall, I think it was a satisfactory end to the series, however with plenty of room for improvement.
It was a 'meh', film. It wasn't as inspiring or emotional as it should have been. This was down to a combination of factors, a couple of which were unavoidable.

It did feel as though there should have been this version for the kiddies and the real version for the adults which went all out and ripped your hearts from your throats. I mean, I felt more in the anticipation of Finnick's death than I did from the actual scene!  I think that says a lot as somebody who has read the books, compared to someone who has not.

No comments: