Mockingjay Part 2 Expects Up to Speed Audience

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Mockingjay Part 2 BD

I count myself among those who discovered Suzanne Collins' THE HUNGER GAME series organically. I was there from the first printing, and I was immediately drawn into the first novel. When the second novel came out, I was just as drawn into that, surprised that I could be as solidly hooked again into this world.

And, like many readers, I found the third novel, MOCKINGJAY, to be less-than-thrilling, and was rather cynical that the movie makers (not to be confused with the game makers -- although...) planned on splitting the least of the series into two parts. To me, that plan could only have made the screen adaptation twice as boring.

I have to confess, Director Francis Lawrence assured that the second half of MOCKINGJAY was anything but boring, given the action sequences as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her squadron of rebels advance on the Capitol to kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland). But aside from that, complicated by the occassional freakout of Katniss's maybe-boyfriend Peete Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) due to the brainwashing he got from the Capitol after the last Hunger Games, there's just not a lot of "there" there. The Capitol feels strangely deserted -- even when we see the residents, as they make their last final way to refuge in the governor's mansion (which tells me there couldn't possibly be that many of them in the first place). The interactions we get between Katniss and her other maybe-boyfriend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) lay the groundwork for the climax of the film although not nearly as well as the book did.

As far as accessibility, it is unlikely that anyone who had not seen MOCKINGJAY PART 1 would be able to jump into this film without at least having read the books. Without that groundwork, we don't know who President Coin (Julianne Moore) is, or why she's working with Capitol gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman). And Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) just seems a sad figure thrown in now and then to remind us her character exists, having fallen quite far from her role as the ambassador of the Hunger Games and harbinger of death to the districts.

I'd recommend watching all four of the movies in a binge for maximum effect and satisfaction. But on a standalone basis, MOCKINGJAY PART 2 lacks critical elements necessary to tell the story.

At least on Blu-ray, the action looks amazing -- and that's really what a Capitol Gamesmaker...pardon me, Hollywood Producer really cares about.

Bonus features on this release include a good number of decent-length documentaries, although none longer than a half-hour (unless you count them collectively under their umbrella heading, then it's nearly two-and-a-half hours). They focus on things like visual design, costuming, and stunts, as well as interviews with the cast and crew. You'll also get to see Cinna's hidden gems built into the Mockingjay armor, and a detailed look at the filming of key scenes (in Atlanta, Paris and Berlin).

Previews on this release include NOW YOU SEE ME 2, THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT, GODS OF EGYPT and THE LAST WITCH HUNTER.

Grade: 
3.0 / 5.0