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Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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Mockingjay Part 2 Review

Katniss Everdeen put it in her hands to end the life of President Snow. To do that, she must infiltrate the Capitol even by lying to her assigned squad about her made-up secret mission from the rebels' leader Coin while endangering the lives of her crew.

Not a year after the Charlie Hebdo attack last week, Paris was again gripped with terror as ISIS attacked multiple establishments killing 153 people. The world grieved for France. Two days later, France answered with bombs against ISIS-laden territory, killing more than 400 civilians. I think it is a disservice to humanity that while Syria and Beirut suffered, the world seem to only care for a first-world country and more so, this highly-regarded elite country acted in retribution without so much a blink for civilian casualties.

That was last week. G20 in Turkey just closed its curtains and this week paved way for APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation).

The opening for The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2 in theaters is just very timely that it goes in line with current events. Its theme ignites the already roused hearts of people watching the news that if they're not fans of the books or the movie franchise, when they go to the theaters and just decide to watch this film, they'd have a better wake-up call.

I'm still heady with all the events from the past weeks (including watching a speculative documentary of what really transpired on the 911 attack of the WTC) that watching this film is not only entertaining but liberating.

Running 140 minutes, the overall pacing was just right. The division of the book into two for adaptation is just perfect for this film. There was never a point where I feel that the film is dragging.


Just like with the first three prequels, the first part is solemn (some flare of little dramatics), the second part tension-building, and the third part, action-filled. It's melancholic for the resolution or ending of this film, just like the book where the other three are adrenaline-crushers when they're aptly cliffhangers.

Let me skip through the dramatics. The only thing you need to know is that Katniss' group will try to infiltrate the Capitol. We all know what happened to Peeta Mellark (his memories were severely tampered by Snow that he interprets Katniss as an enemy he needs to kill and now he's a threat to Katniss). There's not much focus on the romance aspect (not even a love triangle with Gale Hawthorne), it's more on Katniss Everdeen's survival and the need to right the wrongs of her dystopian world. So to do that, she must kill Snow at all cost. But to do that, she and her team must get past all the hurdles towards her target: hundreds of pods (heavily improvised booby traps) set up all throughout the city.
Mockingjay Part 2 Pods
The best part of the film is the tension-building. The moment Katniss' team entered the underground drainage system after suffering heavy loss from engaging with pods, the film transformed into a horror film (think The Descent, The Tunnel, Rec 2). The transformation was really gripping. Not only were the viewers glued to their seats (with my right hand gripping the armrest), heads were cringing for the awaited horror. For readers and non-readers alike, the experience was equally terrorizing.

The fun part was when you expect a jump scare, people were already bemoaning the scare when apparently there was not... until that time when you know it's finally going to happen and when it did come, while it's not that much of a scare anymore, it's still really scary all the same.

That chase part really is just the most memorable part for me, you know when you're chased with that fear of something that isn't even there yet. How I wish it was made longer.
Mockingjay Part 2 Mutt
So when the expected mutts did come, I was disappointed though. It's as if watching a horde of naked dementors. It's not about how the monsters look so similar with the dreaded creatures of Harry Potter or that scary thing in the Spanish fantasy film by Guillermo del Torro, Pan's Labyrinth, it's that the rendition dilutes the surely awaited demise of Finnick Odair. I'm terribly sorry for the spoiler for those who didn't know but I expect for other people to have spoiled you already from the previous film because for my part, I thought Finnick will die in the third film as his death is in the early part of the book.

So basically, I will spoil you more on how Finnick will die. In the book, the mutt would have the mouth of the alien in the Alien films. The mutt is part-lizard. That's how big and really scary the mouth of the mutts that it's just wide enough to open its mouth and cut Finnick's head in one bite and yes, gorge on it. Yikes! But that's not going to happen in the film. So luckily, you won't throw up on your seat because I remember how badly I want to puke while reading that part more than 5 years ago. I was traumatized for a week. Not only am I a fan of Finnick but the manner of his death was just horrible. Basically, you wouldn't feel sorry for him in the film as much as if you've read the book.

Viewers were walked through so much horror (sans blood) that overall, I can tell that this finale is not as emotionally gripping as the previous film. Aside from Finnick, there's death that will haunt Katniss for years but that part is so sudden, if you do so much as pick up your dropped phone, you'll miss it.
Mockingjay Part 2 Plutarch
There's one thing I will surely not miss though. Philip Seymour Hoffman died before filmmakers could wrap his part up for the whole franchise. He did little but relevant lines in the first part of the film and for the rest, he communicates through gestures or telling facial expressions. For his role as the gamekeeper Plutarch Heavensbee, I can't tell if he's real or just pure CGI. So for that, I truly bow my head down to the team who made it even though his appearance is limited (in that you seldom see him).

I remember how the finale of the finale of the Harry Potter films became a laughingstock when the young actors were made to portray their older self (adults sending their kids to Hogwarts) with their makeups looking like a mockery. I appreciate how the filmmakers of Mockingjay Part 2 didn't go the same route (unless if they'd hired the team who made it possible for Jupiter Ascending had they done so) for Katniss and Peeta. Because the two are really broken, in the book it took them 14 years to finally have a child of their own. In the film, it's as if after just a year since the war has ended, they just have a child. Everyone laughed when it turned out Katniss was carrying another baby. That's the only laughable bit.

As the credits roll, Jennifer Lawrence croons with her solemn voice. It's amusing that Katniss and Peeta's babies by the end are played by actors with the surname of Lawrence. They're either J-Law's relatives or the director's.

The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2 is a form of entertainment with a soul. It's a great movie companion for your shaken being if you're aware with how the world bleeds for the past weeks (I know the world is aching throughout time when social implication is concerned). But at any given time, it's a great movie companion still even when you don't care, or even if you've never read the books. Too bad, it couldn't be treated as a standalone; you must watch the other films to get the nuances of this final installment of The Hunger Games movie franchise.

72%7.4/10

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