The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

 

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Let the games end: and about time, too.

 

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

On the game: Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Evan Ross and Jennifer Lawrence

   

Fans of Suzanne Collins’ young adult franchise have waited 43 months – and will have waded through 548 minutes of film – to witness the showdown between the defiant Katniss Everdeen and the ruthless, amoral Coriolanus Snow. Yet, in spite of the film’s poster screaming “Nothing Can Prepare You For the End,” even the most undiscerning devotee can but feel short-changed.

 

Compared to other film series featuring young people trapped in dystopian futures – notably Divergent and The Maze RunnerThe Hunger Games remains the most impressive, if only for Jennifer Lawrence’s radiant presence in the central role. But to spin out the third chapter over two films – à la Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – is a slap in the face for Katniss converts. After the subtle tensions of Mockingjay – Part 1, one might have expected something pretty amazing for the climactic finale. But not only does the concluding instalment seem to switch genres, but the repeated deaths of Katniss almost become comical. We know that our heroine isn’t going to cop it, so to repeatedly shoot her down and blow her up seems rather pointless.

 

One might have hoped for Donald Sutherland’s President Snow to carve us a thicker slice of ham this time, but the best we get is a twinkle in the eye when he admits to Katniss, “we both know I’m not above killing children,” while such Oscar-winning stars as Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman are given precious little to do. Stranger still is the film’s tone, a sobriety at odds with much of its silliness, as if a clown, mid-act, had decided to recite Milton. However, it is consistently ravishing to the eye.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Mahershala Ali, Natalie Dormer, Michelle Forbes, Elden Henson, Evan Ross.

 

Dir Francis Lawrence, Pro Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, Screenplay Peter Craig and Danny Strong, Ph Jo Willems, Pro Des Philip Messina, Ed Alan Edward Bell and Mark Yoshikawa, Music James Newton Howard, Costumes Kurt and Bart.

 

Color Force/Studio Babelsberg-Lionsgate.

136 mins. USA/Germany. 2015. Rel: 19 November 2015. Cert. 12A.