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.

Mockingjay Doesn’t Quite Catch Fire

Mockingjay Part 1

3 / 5

After the dramatic conclusion of the Quarter Quell, Katniss finds herself in District 13 but Peeta has been captured by the Capitol, thus a game between Coin and Snow ensues as they appeal to the people of Panem. Coin uses Katniss as the symbol of the rebellion, while Snow uses Peeta to psychologically torture Katniss and also to attempt to keep the rebelling districts in check.

Mockingjay Poster

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Mockingjay on Fire

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
Suzanne Collins

4 / 5

Suspenseful and thought-provoking till the last.

Mockingjay

The finale of Katniss Everdeen’s adventure takes her to varying locations that not only test her physical toughness but principally, her mental toughness. She undergoes a rollercoaster of feelings that are targeted by Snow and are also the result of decisions made by the rebels. Her distress begins to engulf her as Katniss is met with circumstances that test her resolve and that question her wants and needs. We follow her through District 13, the front line of war and the Capitol as the war rages between the rebels and the Capitol. But she has only one thing on her mind. Kill Snow.

Following the explosive ending to the Quarter Quell, Katniss is rescued by District 13, who have been planning an uprising along with various people from the Districts and the Capitol. District 13 use Katniss as their Mockingjay, and her chief duty for the rebel cause is to be filmed in propos highlighting the Capitol’s destruction of the Districts and how the rebels are attempting to wrestle control from them. Meanwhile, Katniss is also consumed with anger and desperation in getting Peeta back alive, because the Capitol have him broadcasting messages to the rebels to call a halt to the war. Peeta’s condition is visibly worsening with every announcement; this motivates Katniss as she becomes hell-bent on getting Peeta back and killing President Snow for his crimes.

With President Snow’s dystopic world diminishing before him, he uses all the tricks the Capitol has to offer to break Katniss emotionally due to Katniss’s influence as the Mockingjay and the perceived leader of the rebellion. There is excitement and tension at every turn. Whether it be the frantic and electric pace that Collins uses when there is front line action, or the excruciatingly slow pace she uses when describing Katniss’s tormenting nightmares and when she is evaluating her feelings for Peeta and Gale.

The ending was somewhat surprising, even I daresay, anti-climatic. Collins had created a situation where the end was tantalisingly in sight and as the reader my heart rate increased and I was reading quicker as I eagerly anticipated the last twist in the plot, but suddenly it’s over, and I felt a sense of exhaustion. After three wonderfully written books, it ends quickly and I was expecting a finale worthy of something magnificent like her previous endings.

Despite the little underwhelming ending, Mockingjay is a fantastically written novel which keeps its readers on tenterhooks throughout. Although, the format is different from the previous two books, the same games of power and judgement of trust are evident, and these progress as Katniss descends further into the Capitol and closer to achieving her goal. Fans of the series will enjoy reading it and the un-put-down-ability of this book is so strong, your eyes will be glued to the pages.

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

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

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

 

JLaw on Fire!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Film 2)

4 / 5

Enthralling from first minute to the last minute.

Catching Fire Film

The second film based on Suzanne Collins’ hugely successful book trilogy. The film picks up in the immediate aftermath of the 74th Annual Hunger Games where Katniss and Peeta won. They will now embark on the Victory Tour of the 12 Districts while stirrings of rebellion have begun in other districts.

Katniss attempts to appease President Snow by trying to make her final act in the Hunger Games appear to be an act of love rather than rebellious act against the Capitol. Ructions are caused aplenty as they go on their Victory Tour with confrontations between the Districts and the Peacekeepers.

The film progresses to the Quarter Quell (75th Hunger Games) and this time Katniss and Peeta are entered again as the twist for this year’s competition is that the competitors are comprised of the winners from each of the Districts.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in the arena is simply superb, the way she is utterly traumatised by the japperjays copying Prim’s scream is extremely convincing and the audience feel real empathy for her character. Lawrence is also the perfect actress to play the role of Katniss because of the striking resemblance in terms of fighting for a certain beliefs that they are passionate about. Without doubt Jennifer Lawrence will become a multi-Oscar-winning actress and will be involved in many other successful films.

The special effects, CGI team and set designers did an absolutely astounding job for the arena of the Quarter Quell. The way they turned the fictional and imaginative arena of Collins into something realistic and awe-inspiring on the big screen was unbelievable and they deserve great credit for that. One thing that I wondered was whether the ending of the Quarter Quell would live up to the ending in the book and how I imagined in would be. Just so you know, it unequivocally did! Everyone’s jaw dropped in the cinema when the ending came and it was truly brilliant cinema.

Having read the first 2 books and now seen the first 2 films, I can honestly say I will be picking up the third book very soon and the next film can’t come soon enough!

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

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