Anyone else feel like the ending was slightly anticlimatic?
|Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen|
|Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mallarck|
|Liam Hemsworth as Gayle Hawthorne|
|Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch|
|Julianne Moore as President Coin|
|Donald Sutherland as President Snow|
|with Woody Harrelson as Haymitch|
|and Elizabeth Banks as Effie|
The Hunger Games is the series that inspired all the other dystopian series, where the teenage hero breaks the world order. It’s finally finished, and my original thoughts that it might have been achieved without having to split the last book into two movies were squashed. I was sceptical that was required, but having now watched Mockingjay Part Two, I fully realise and understand why it was done. The question is whether this lead to two good movies?
We begin with a cliffhanger of sorts, as Katniss is holed up in District Thirteen recovering from her traumas and trying to not think about Peeta’s mental condition. Meanwhile President Coin is out to capitalise on her support base, by setting up a direct invation of The Capital, by first taking out the military assets of District Two.
Katniss, eager to help, is shipped off to District Two to rouse the troops. While there, she witnesses the cold blooded realities of war: how to meet your objectives without bloodshed. Unfortunately, this prooves to be impossible and her cynicism and helplessness increases as the entire district’s military personnel are buried underneath a mountain.
Even when Katniss is trying to be all secretive, like sneaking out of District Thirteen inside a cargo container to be on the front lines and assassinate President Snow, it doesn’t work. All she ends up doing is being more propaganda fodder for Coin. Her frustration with being days behind the fighting is made worse when her team starts losing members to all the traps laid out by Snow. Still, her quest to kill the President is pretty much the only thing she can practically do. Basically, the movie gets darker from there.
In a way, you could say the movie has two distinct parts. The first is the civil war that ends the tyranny and oppression of The Capital. But the final, decisive push has absolutely nothing to do with Katniss, apart from her face being used to inspire the troops. She sees the final climax of the battle for Panem, but misses the bigger picture until it’s far too late, and far too costly.
Then there’s the epilogue of the movie, which closes up all of the loose ends for the characters and their fates. Katniss and Peeta (spoilers) decide to stay with each other and raise a family in peace, away from the complications of Panem’s change in government. In fact, apart from one small grab about election results, Katniss retreats from the spotlight completely.
The epilogue feels a little bit like the sort of thing Peter Jackson did at the end of Return of the King. There’s still actually quite a lot of material to cover, and they’ve done it as quickly as practical, but it still feels like the ending was a little bit too long, and this dragging out of the movie makes it feel really anticlimatic. But I suppose that’s the message. War sucks, life afterwards is full of trauma and we all deal with it in our own way. If you can find a modicum of happiness in life, cling to it.
As the closing chapter of The Hunger Games saga, Mockingjay Part Two basically follows the bloody struggle for Panem to its inevitable conclusion. Katniss’ story remains the centre of attention, the actual war is bypassed, and it becomes a personal story about revenge. The war’s effects are also felt more personally, rather than numbers of anonymous people killed. It’s a good movie if you’ve watched all the preceding ones, and it does a good job of closing the series. Just don’t watch it in isolation.
As a conclusion to a series, it’s a fine ending. As a standalone movie…not so much.
Watch this if you…
Are are fan of the movies and/or books and are itching to watch the conclusion.
Skip this if you…
Have only now just heard of the series. Go watch the first one, and then we can talk.