On occasion we will publish movie and music reviews. Jimmy Connolly, a Blackbird Review staff writer, weighs in today with his take of the latest movie in The Hunger Games series, “Mockingjay: Part Two.”
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!
Picking up where “Mockingjay: Part One” left off, “Mockingjay: Part Two,” the final installment in the Hunger Games series, did not disappoint. Modeled after a young adult book series, “Mockingjay: Part Two” included some very mature themes such as democracy and propaganda. As usual, Jennifer Lawrence is the ideal heroine. Lawrence does an excellent job portraying a strong woman making the most of desperate times. The coincidentally named Francis Lawrence does an excellent balancing the action with the more thought provoking scenes. That being said, the film tended to sway away from the action and visual effects that many hardcore fans wanted to see. The invasion of the Capital didn’t live up to expectations because the Capital looked like any other bombed out city. For all we know it could have been filmed in a rundown section of Albany or Buffalo. Anyway, I digress. A fair warning to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet, stop reading. This review may contain spoilers.
The first order of business in this review is obvious. Jennifer Lawrence booked another spectacular performance as Katniss Everdeen. Sometimes with actors/actresses, as a fan, they can literally become a character. One example of this is Leonard Nimoy as Spock in “Star Trek.” After her latest performance, Jennifer Lawrence is joining this group. As far as the movie goes, Katniss Everdeen is an example worth following. Selfless and determined, Katniss becomes a symbol for defiance and strength. In these neo-feminist times, people should look to Katniss Everdeen. To many people, Jennifer Lawrence is how they pictured Katniss. Beautiful but not delicate. Jennifer Lawrence did Katniss justice.
The director, Francis Lawrence, did a very good job with themes. As stated before, Mockingjay posses some very relevant and mature themes. Propaganda and Democracy are two that stand out. Propaganda is evident throughout the entire series. In reality, the entire Hunger Games competition is propaganda. The Games were used to continue to heal tensions between the Capital and the districts. Today, propaganda is evident in all facets of our society, politicians cite statistics from biased studies and attack ads blare on our televisions during Monday Night football. President Snow utilizes a “mandatory announcement” system to spread his rhetoric throughout the city. A panic is whipped up when Snow announces that Rebels who “disagree with our way of life” had entered the city. That led to a mass exodus of citizens towards the center of the city where they would be blown up by literally every bomb from both sides. Such is the power of words.
The theme of “democracy” or the lack thereof also plays a large part. Optimism played a huge role throughout the movie and series in general. Most believed that if President Snow was deposed, democracy would rise. Mockingjay showed us otherwise. Maybe a dictatorship is just a society without the illusion of democracy. It seems the case when President Coin takes over for President Snow and precedes to act in the same authoritarian manner. I wonder how Katniss would react to that? Oh, right, she killed President Coin. Overall the themes lying behind the movie contributed immensely to “Mockingjay: Part 2.”
Now that we’ve had the good, let us move on to some of the issues with “Mockingjay: Part 2.” As a very good movie, these issues are few. The principal issue in this movie is that the film seemed to feel a tad bit stretched at times. By that I mean, one book of above average length was stretched into two long movies. At times it felt like the film was meandering along and spending too much time on certain events. This wasn’t a huge issue but it’s disheartening to fans of the book series that the producers of this film would risk harming the content of the series over another box office killing. Look I get it, this is capitalism. I only bring it up because this is a similar trend throughout movie franchises, including Harry Potter. This wasn’t a huge deal but it was worth mentioning.
The secondary issue was the lack of action at times. If you’ve read the books, you would know that Mockingjay was intended to be a battle royale. Thousands of Peacekeepers versus thousands of protesters. Instead we just heard about it over the radio of several of the characters. Most people want to see the action. What’s the point of 3D glasses if you can’t see the bullets flying during the action scenes? But overall the detriments of this movie are far outweighed by it positive elements.
“Mockingjay: Part Two” was a very good movie. One of the key reasons for this was its appeal to hard core fans as well as casual movie goers. It isn’t hard to appreciate the core themes of the movie without being a huge fan of the Hunger Games. It’s also possible to appreciate the action sequences throughout the movie as well. To conclude my review, in my infinite wisdom, I would give “Mockingjay Part 2” an eight out of ten. This could have been a great movie if I had felt more a part of it. I wanted to feel like I was in the bombed out capital as Katniss stormed it with her rag tag band of Rebels. This was a good movie, maybe not a great one.