Mockingjay Part 2 Review

The Mockingjay War

3.75 / 5

A dark and tense final chapter which settles the future of Panem.

The incredible journey of Katniss Everdeen comes to a close in this eagerly anticipated Mockingjay Part 2. Following on from the stale Part 1 which was somehow deemed by Hollywood producers important and entertaining enough to be a film of its own, Part 2 is inevitably a more exciting prospect. But it differs from the earlier films, in that Katniss, Peeta, Gale and other rebels are making their way through  war-torn Capitol and threatened with a multitude of booby traps, while Snow and Coin are vying for the loyalty from the Panem populace. Part 2 is much darker, political and personal than the other films, and it brings to a close the epic Hunger Games saga. 

Mockingjay P2

If this war occurred in our whole, undoubtedly media outlets, social media and the people would have called this war The Mockingjay War, given the significance of Katniss, the insignia and her whistle. Part 2 is all about war. Part 2 is less spectacular than the first two films, in that it shows less blood-pumping action sequences which were especially characteristic of Catching Fire, given the clockwork structure of the arena. There is more focus and attention paid to the effect of war on the common people and the competing politicians’ agendas, which demonstrates Collins’ critique on warfare and the politicians involved in the orchestration of such events. Collins’ original novel and the film have plenty of differences, but the differences neither added or detracted from the storyline in a major way, or affected the standard of the film. Though some of the scenes included in the film that did not feature in the book were pretty pointless.

One aspect in the book that was superior to the film was the togetherness of the group that entered the Capitol. The group’s journey through the Capitol and their maneuvering through the myriad of dangerous pods that are interspersed along their route to Snow’s mansion takes up the most screen time, but we seen very little of any bond between the members of the group. The beginning of their journey through the Capitol, the black tar scene in particular, was spectacularly shot, but it seemed to stand out as a set piece rather than flow smoothly as part of the storyline. The two action sequences, the black tar booby trap and the mutt scene in the sewage tunnel network were both idiosyncratic of Hunger Games action, but those two were the only notable scenes, in this otherwise politically focused installment. The relationship between the group comprised of wistful looks at each other as they make steady progress further into the Capitol and keeping one eye on an unpredictable Peeta.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were both excellent again in their respective roles, Hutcherson in particular, as Peeta battles his inner demon that has been unleashed by the Capitol through a process called “hijacking”. The gradual rediscovering of Peeta was paced well and plausible, with credit going to both Peeta and director Francis Lawrence for the way they handled Peeta’s hijacking and his acclimatisation. Lawrence, was once again terrific as Katniss Everdeen, the Girl on Fire, the Mockingjay. Her internal fight with herself concerning Peeta’s condition and the lives lost in the name of the Mockingjay is evident, and her emotional moments are captured perfectly. Most notably, her dance with Prim, her meeting with Snow and her return to District 13.

Tense and stylish was the director’s apparent aim for this film, rather than the raw emotional immediacy that came with the two best films (Hunger Games and Catching Fire). Granted, that is in part to the Mockingjay book, which does not possess the unique Games format which has made it successful. However, the book manages to convey the Capitol’s pods, Peacekeepers and mutts as obstacles that make up the Capitol’s own Games scenario, but the film was not able to achieve this, even with Finnick saying “Welcome to the 76th Hunger Games”. The action was intense and typical of the last two films in attempting to establish a building crescendo of emotion that would be unleashed as they reach Snow’s mansion. But while in the book, the shock factor which came with the ending was brutally brilliant, the film lacked it somewhat and the moment passed too quickly. The film builds and builds but fails to achieve a big finish which would have ended the film in a blaze of glory.

I will miss this genre-defying franchise that has expertly blended together an Orwellian view of politics and war, with the allegorising of the reality TV culture, to create this successful, slick and unique film series that will see it break the $3bn worldwide box office. The series has launched Jennifer Lawrence into the Hollywood spotlight which has seen her reap the rewards with her involvement in three David O. Russell films, which included a Best Actress Oscar in Silver Linings Playbook. Part 2 also seen the last film role of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died while the film was still being shot. Hoffman played the perfect Plutarch, a masterstroke by the casting department, his quiet, clever and aware persona was depicted by Hoffman to a T.

Royally Electrifying

The Red Queen

Victoria Aveyard

4.25 / 5

A pulsating Young Adult fantasy novel that will leave you aching for more.

The Red Queen is Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel, which uses the current trend of social injustice in Young Adult dystopian novels, and then blends in supernatural elements and world history to create a shockingly thrilling novel. Red Queen is a slickly executed novel that has managed through Mare as the stimulus, to deliver a shock of metaphorical current into the reader, to keep them mentally and physically attached to this pulsating novel, with Aveyard as it’s magnificent conductor. 

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Catching Fire

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

4.25 / 5

The breathtaking journey leaves you clamouring for the next book!

Hunger Games 2

Following their revolutionary performance in the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 as victors. They both now live in Victors Village along with Haymitch but Katniss still craves for parts of her old life where she goes hunting in the woods and her connection with Gale. This does not go unnoticed by President Snow who delivers a deadly warning to Katniss before she embarks on the cross-district Victory Tour.

They visit the other Districts, doing their best to give some verisimilitude through: giving speeches, acting in love and attending the feasts that go with the tour. However, through their compassion and thankfulness when giving a speech in Rue’s District they have such an effect that they set into motion a chain of events that they could not have foreseen.

The 75th Hunger Games is a Quarter Quell, which indicates that the Capitol is marking the anniversary of their defeat of the Districts in a special way. This time, incidentally means that living victors of each district are sent back into the arena. This is unpopular with Districts as it seems clear that President Snow is trying to quell *no pun intended* the rebellion by getting rid of Katniss, who is seen as a symbol of hope, and the people in the Capitol are distraught that Katniss and Peeta are going in again.

I won’t go into too much detail about the Hunger Games because I found the concept and location fascinating to read and won’t be spoiling it for you! Collins is simply breathtaking in her descriptions of Katniss’s trail of thought, it is very realistic and the reader becomes even more attached and sympathetic to her. Her heart wrenching feelings for Prim, her mother, Peeta and Gale are conveyed further in this book and coupled with the challenging environment and obstacles she faces in the arena, she is tested to the limit. Collins describes ineffable things and thoughts so precisely that the reader can imagine exactly what she is feeling or dealing with.

Fans of the 1st book will not be disappointed with the 2nd instalment, as in my opinion it is just as good as the 1st book. With the film coming out shortly, I would advise anyone planning on seeing the film to read Catching Fire because not only is it an awesome book but because there are plenty of unsaid things in this book that help to gauge Katniss’s emotions and what she is thinking.

With high expectations on the 2nd book and due to the hugely successful first book and now film, Catching Fire met the expectations and Collins has provided another excellently crafted novel that is exceptionally hard to put down. This is highly recommended to anyone who loves young adult literature or dystopian novels. The 2nd film is released in the UK on the 11th November in London but it is mainly released between the 20th-22nd November in most other countries. I for one cannot wait!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catching_Fire

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

4.25 / 5

An entertaining and fresh novel.

Hunger Games 1

 

With the 2nd film being released shortly I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle what has happened so far in this epic adventure. I am starting with the first novel written by Suzanna Collins in 2008. The setting for this science fiction novel is in a post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America.

Katniss Everdeen is a girl who lives with her sister, Prim and their mother in a place called District 12. In this dystopian nation of Panem, there are 12 Districts each with differing functions that all come under the rule of the Capitol. The Hunger Games are an annual televised event whereby, a boy and girl from each of the 12 Districts are submitted to take part in the event where the last survivor is crowned the victor and receives a new house, wealth, food and is exempt from being in the Hunger Games again.

When her sweet and innocent sister, Prim is called out in the reaping, the system where a person’s name is pulled out of the bowl to be entered into the games, Katniss volunteers herself as tribute in order to protect Prim. Her fellow competitor from District 12 is a boy named Peeta. She and Peeta are mentored by Haymitch, who is an alcoholic but he is the person who can be the reason for them living or dying in the arena with the parachute gifts that sponsors can give them in the arena, such as; medicine, weapons, food etc.

The arena in which the Hunger Games is held is a forest much similar to the one which Katniss explores back in District 12 when she goes hunting beyond the fence with Gale. With other competitors hunting each other, especially Katniss as she is seen as one of the favourites after the Gamemakers awarded her with a high rating after her performance in the training arena. During the Games, we get to know other tributes more, in particularly Rue. Her role in the story cannot be undervalued; this can only be possible through her alliance with Katniss during the Games. Without giving too much of the thrilling events of the arena away; all I can say is that there are twists and turns plenty, which are possible through Collins’ electric pace of writing that leaves the reader breathless and craving the next chapter.

Collins has expertly conjured up this brilliant and unique idea and she has used 1st person narrative to great effect. She draws the reader in and they becomes more emotionally involved with Katniss as we experience heart wrenching moments that she has to deal with. Collins does a brilliant job of conveying the inexpressible in terms that the reader can understand and can relate to. Also, the vivid imagery of the arena was well crafted which created an environment that the reader was able to imagine due to the succinctness of these descriptions.   

The end of novel is perfectly poised for the next stage of this entertaining and thrilling story.  I will be posting the film review and the Catching Fire review shortly in the build up to the 2nd film.  

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunger_Games

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Collins

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katniss_Everdeen