“We all have one enemy. Tonight,
turn your weapons to Snow!”
Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Hunger Games era has (finally) come to an end. With three books, four films and a host of MTV and Teen Choice awards, Hunger Games has officially become one of the most successful YA (Young Adult) book adaptations, to date. The final chapter concludes the beloved series, with front-runner Katniss being forced to decide whether or not she is strong enough to face President Snow once more, and do what has to be done, for the good of the 13 districts. Faced with almost impossible odds, she must once again don her ‘GIrl On Fire’ mantle to fight for the freedom of her friends, family and the future of Panem.
The Hunger Games has been a fantastically well-received series from start to finish, and has skyrocketed the newbie acting trio Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth to widespread Hollywood fame and fortune. The series has also set a very high standard for other book-to-film adaptations, and, in particular, set the standard for the slew of other YA dystopian adaptations that came out around the same time – for example, the less well-received Divergent and Maze Runner series. But the Hunger Games success doesn’t stop there. Over its opening weekend, Mockingjay Part 2 has made $101 million (following the same path as it’s box-office record breaking prequels). Now, the Hunger Games series has officially become the 16th highest grossing-film franchise ever – grossing over $2 billion worldwide. In a recent interview, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said that the immense popularity (and dare I mention, profitability?) of the series, has led the film company to consider extending the franchise by “actively looking at … prequel and sequel possibilities”. If you’ve either seen the film or read the books, then you’d know that the ending seems rather ‘final’, but who knows? Let’s just hope that the bigwigs at Lionsgate don’t get it into their heads to give it a Star Wars prequel treatment…*shudders*
In all honesty, I didn’t enjoy this film as much as I thought I was going to. The film just seemed to lack something that made it a poor reflection on the series, as a whole. The biggest problems I had, with the film, was that there were so many extras and well-known actors/actresses used to ‘bulk’ out the bigger scenes in this film, that many of them ended up having so little screen time, that if they hadn’t turned up for shooting, it really wouldn’t have really mattered that much.
One great example of one of these ‘useless castings’ was (unfortunately) Gwendoline Christie – a.k.a Forgettable Rebel #43. Not only did she have the worst American accent ever, she was underused and generally irrelevant to the progress of the story. In fact I was actually quite disappointed that she turned out to be a rebel leader person because the trailers had led me to believe she’d finally gotten the ‘baddie’ role we were all waiting for! Gale was another non-event. He was dull and made little to no impression on me, the story and (sadly) his career – sorry, you’re beautiful but this really wasn’t your role! In terms of the movie’s ‘big bads’, Donald Sutherland easily outshone Julianne Moore as the unhinged dictator, President Snow. But again, both were underused for actors of their ‘quality’ and this was a clear detriment to the overall story.
However, the film definitely had positive aspects, too. Once again, Jennifer Lawrence’s performance was (as usual) a credit to her and the series – with Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) and Jena Malone (Johanna Mason) both placing a close joint-second place. Also, the visual effects and overall ‘atmosphere’ were also top-notch – but with a $160 million budget, you’d expect nothing less.
In what has been a spectacularly popular and enjoyable film series, I’m sad to say that it just didn’t live up to the surmounting hype. Mockingjay Part 2 has definitely not my favourite of the series, but I can’t say that it’s actually that bad a film – trust me when I say that’s there’s a lot worse out there. In fact, I think that if it was an unrelated, standalone film, I think it may even have gotten a slightly higher rating. But it’s not, and I can’t help but judge it against the rest of the series.
In the end, forcing three books in to four films just didn’t really work. The lack of any ‘real’ storyline, useless castings and the dulling down of any emotional scenes let down what should have been an outstanding ending, to an outstanding YA film series. If you’ve seen the other films then I would say that you should definitely watch Mockingjay Part 2, just don’t get your hopes up too high.