The conclusion to the four movie Hunger Games series, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” comes out this Friday and I am very curious to see how things are going to turn out. I saw the first movie in the series, “The Hunger Games,” in 2012 when it came out and I was surprisingly blow away by how good it was. I knew that everyone was raving about how awesome the book was, so in my typical cynical manner, I assumed that it was probably crap. But the film made me into a believer. I picked up the book that same evening and read away. While I was a little underwhelmed by the writing style, the story really resonated with me. I finished The Hunger Games and moved to straight on to Catching Fire and then to Mockingjay. I was bedridden from a yoga injury for a day, so I had time. Since then, I’ve been a fan of the series. I was excited to see the film versions of the second and third books and I have yet to be disappointed. Assuming that the final installment of the series stays consistent with the quality of the first three, I think it should be a great way to end the saga.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
The last film left us with a cliffhanger where the newly rescued Pita Mellark (John Hutcherson) is lashed to a hospital bed looking extremely agitated. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is also in great emotional distress. It is obvious that she blames herself for Pita’s capture by the Capital. Moreover, she is ever reluctant to accept her role as a symbol of the revolution. Her guilt is compounded by the callousness of her newly found allies in District 13. Apparently everyone in 13, despite that they have experienced the Capitol’s cruelty firsthand, are unable to fathom that Pita is being coerced to be a weapon of propaganda against his will and view him as a craven traitor. Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and President Coin (Julianne Moore) are too preoccupied with the revolution than to care about how Katniss actually feels about being their puppet. Although, there is one touching scene where Coin comforts Katniss about madness and whatnot. Charming lady. We actually know that Coin is pretty short on charm, which Plutarch is trying to fix with speech lessons. Things in the rebellion are progressing and the Capital is shaking in their fancy boots. The “people” are rising and blowing up Capital Peacekeepers and dams, but most importantly, they are signing. It seems that Plutarch’s propaganda campaign is paying off. The sad part is that our main characters, like Katniss, Pita, and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) are all being manipulated into supporting an ally that they know very little about. Other than a few uninspired speeches, we don’t really know President’s Coin’s plans beyond overthrowing the Capital.
I’m most interested to see how the film will handle the attack on the Capital, mostly because that whole event was downright zany in the book. Same thing with the ending. It’s worth noting that the director for the first film in the series, Gary Ross, did tone down some of the zany science fiction elements from the first book. That scene with the dog-monsters near the end of film was much weirder in the book because the creatures had the faces of the dead tributes. I don’t know if the change in the film was made on purpose because it would have looked ridiculous or they just didn’t have the money for it. The final installation of the series has a different director named Francis Lawrence, he’s the guy who ruined I Am Legend, and it’ll be interesting to see just how closely “Mockingjay – Part 2” follows the craziness of the book. By the looks of the official trailer, we’re in for the whole surreal journey through the burning Capitol.