The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 2
January 19, 2016
One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter… and how quickly one can become the other is the main theme thread throughout Mockingjay : Part 2. But watching director Francis Lawrence try to weave the complex political and personal entanglements of Suzanne Collins’ novel into a stirring and entertaining watch is like trying to watch a child learn Baker Street on the Sax. You hear the familiar tune beneath the juvenile clatter but he doesn’t have the requisite skill to make you actually feel it.
The grim, unrelenting conclusion to The Hunger Games series takes place in the moments directly after the previous flick ended. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is recovering from her injuries after a brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) tried to strangle her. Which should lend an air of tension to the love triangle between her, Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), but doesn’t, probably cause the later is little more than an animated splinter.
One by one the districts crumble as the rebels make on the capitol in the hopes of overthrowing Donald Sutherland’s nefarious President Snow. With Julianne Moore’s rebel leader President Coin  trying to neutralise the threat posed by Katniss to her post-rebellion power play (turning her into a poster girl for the war effort), she flees to the front, determined to avenge Peeta.
Blunt plotting ships us from one bit of the novel to the next without finding a visual substitute for the drama we create in our own imaginations. We just don’t believe their machinations, particularly when the movie careens past the beats of the plot like a high-speed train, with no consideration for the emotions or complicated thought processes they distill in the characters.
Which is Mockingjay’s biggest problem. It lacks engaging characters that are memorable enough for us to care about when they are put in perils way. We are introduced to scads, but are never given the time to get to know them, what their back story is, or see them develop a connection with other players in the tale. So that when one of the many booby-traps that Snow has fortified his city with- to ‘make sport of their death’, kill them, we don’t notice their disappearance from the story. (And little or no effort is put into making these deaths seem chilling, scary or even that fresh).
The best characters from previous films (Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci) are barely concealed as afterthoughts- and are let down by a movie that has no idea where its focus should be. Hutcherson is good, Sutherland is great and Moore is always solid, but their characters are never given a chance to develop.
Instead they are dragged through the movie like bogroll stuck to Katniss’s shoe. And Lawrence, despite what you may have been told, doesn’t have the chops to make this movie feel like something that is happening to a human being. She vacillates between pained blankness and snot-and-tear strewn hysterics, receding into naturalistic nothingness by the movies end.
With the best action occuring off screen, what does make the cut is derivative of The Descent, Battlestar Galactica and Alien Resurrection,even the romance is handled poory. It will make YA audiences laugh, actual adults groan and make the type of girl who will grow up to make a lot of cats very happy, swoon. It’s boring, forgettable and skittish.
Just like the movie.