Title: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Francis Lawrence
adapted from Suzanne Collins’ novel “Mockingjay”
Music: James Newton Howard
Cinematography: Jo Willems
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The final chapter of THE HUNGER GAMES, a franchise boosts Jennifer Lawrence as the most bankable and influential Hollywood star currently, but the curve of my fondness of the first three movies are linearly descending, after reaching the rock bottom with the first part of Mockingjay, this valedictory fourth installment actually elevates a notch above its unnecessary part I and at least reaches the level of CATCH FIRE (2013), still, on a whole, this franchise fails to live up to its expectation, quality wise.
Saw this in the 3D format, if one minuses the black oil surge and the mutants’ tunnel attack, Sci-Fi elements have been entirely taken out of the picture, and the visual showpieces are relatively economical and small-scaled, instead, it is a political war, which cunningly circumvents the front-line battle combat, with its focal point unflinchingly sticks with the star squad around Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), which initially assigned for promo-shooting to serve its propaganda mission, runs amok when Katniss decides to attempt a direct assassination of President Snow (Sutherland, who is beguilingly complex in his temperament), casualties arise, the fate of her unfortunate team members is foreshadowed without too much gore on screen. But an anti-climatic maneuver abruptly mutes the bugle of charging (when Katniss finally reaches the gate of Snow’s palace) and subsequently declares the war is finished. As scheming as President Coin (Moore), the rebel leader, seems to be, the unsatisfactory closure leaves an impression of implausibility, how come the almighty Snow can be overthrown solely by that move? The worse part follows, Coin, if she is truly as scheming as the story wants us to believe, she is way too remiss to trust Katniss’ loyalty, to allow her to get the access of the “truth” – who is the real deal behind the explosive parachutes, too early to reveal her true colour (another hunger game just after the hard-earned victory?) and exposes herself as an easy target to be terminated within an arrow’s range.
On the other hand, although the script is over-confident in its manipulation (the same weak point like Coin), the story does bring to light how often the power corruption resides in the political games, the shadowy flip side of every revolution under the name of freedom for hoi polloi. This could be the reason why THE HUNGER GAMES is above the average YA novels, although only by a small margin.
Tellingly, Lawrence is the core of the franchise’s success, sports an innate air of leadership, even deadens the cringeworthy reaction from the unabashed love-triangle (her kiss during a dead-or-alive situation can literally bring a raging Peeta back to sobriety). It is no denying that it is Lawrence’s superstar persona that rises Katniss above an average heroine stereotype. Also the coupling of Katniss and Peeta (Hutcherson) shows the resolution of subverting our typical conception, a strong female can find her prince charming being a less dominating male, which sounds and looks like a feminist stand but well-suited in today’s world.
Among the larger supporting group, expectedly Moore’s icy impersonation of Coin is my guilty pleasure, as predictable as it manifests, the reversal of her destiny becomes the most exciting part. A final word to one of the most talented thespian of his generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman, this picture is officially his swan song, not a high-water mark in his illustrious career, but at least it is a blockbuster to be seen by a massive audience, not a bad farewell, so R.I.P. Heavensbee.