The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Did anyone else lose interest on who Katniss selected as her lover?

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2If you are going to make the attempt to see Mockingjay – Part 2, I would strongly advise you to take teenagers as company. Following my own advice, my grandson and a friend, both 17, and my granddaughter, age 14, joined me for the last episode of The Hunger Games series. They all liked it, and I could only politely shake my head.

Though I really liked the first two Hunger Games movies, I found the third film, Mockingjay – Part 1, to be little more than a tedious attempt to make a large amount of money at the box office. As I noted in my review at the time, it was largely filled with repeated lectures from various actors which served as a long preview for the finale.

Unfortunately, this film, which lasts close to 2 hours and 20 minutes, is selectively held together by the accomplished performances of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Ms. Lawrence has emerged as a powerful actress, and her role as a female leader of a rebellion always captures your attention regardless of the film’s other shortcomings.

And Donald Sutherland is brilliant as the sarcastic, smirking leader of the opposition, and he makes for a noble adversary. Sure, you know Katniss is intent on killing him, but President Snow seems to admire her determination to send him to his grave.

While there is a great chase scene in a subterranean tunnel where our heroes are confronted by viscous, carnivorous zombies, the rest of the film continually loses traction. Sure, some of our heroes die, but Katniss proves to have more staying power than Daniel Craig’s James Bond.

While the film provides a bit of attention to Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), Julianne Moore  (President Alma Coin), Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) and Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), you see them one minute and they are gone the next. With the exception of Mr. Harrelson, all of these talented actors are wasted in forgettable roles, and it serves as a disappointing tribute to the great Mr. Hoffman.

The only supporting actress who makes any type of a contribution is Jenna Malone, here playing the bemused ally of Katniss, Johanna Mason. Tragically, she provides the only wit that you will see in the entire movie.

What crushes this film under its own weight is the continual focus on Katniss’ two suitors, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). This love triangle is as profoundly idiotic as it is foolish, and it is hard to try to figure why an accomplished young woman like Katniss would care for any one of these tepid losers.

In conclusion, there was a reason why the fourth film of the Hunger Games drew the smallest crowd on opening weekend in the entire series. Main characters from the prior films become lost in a jumbled script, and you can only imagine Ms. Lawrence being caught muttering, “Thank God the Hunger Games are over.”