This morning I saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson.
I'm a big fan of The Hunger Games book series, and I loved the first two film adaptations, but the Mockingjay installments unfortunately leave a lot to be desired.
In this final curtain call, the boy who stole the heart of Katniss (Lawrence), Peeta (Hutcherson), has been brainwashed by the Big Bad Government and instead of wanting to live out his days with her, he wants to kill her. Of course, she still wants him and realizes that he doesn't have control of his mind.
He eventually comes back to the correct side of the war ... kinda. He has spontaneous, violent outbursts aimed at her from time to time, but for the most part behaves himself. They, along with their team of allies, set out to take back the world (and kill President Snow).
Donald Sutherland, as the hated leader, seems to be having a grand time in this one; less evil and more 'mad scientist' in spirit. It would be hard for anyone to think of him claiming victory when he's so jovial and Katniss is so serious.
So—what's wrong with the film?
#1 The pace. It's painfully slow for the first hour. I actually went and got a cup of coffee and when I came back they were still on the same scene.
#2 Wasted talent. Jennifer Lawrence is a gifted, sparkling superstar. She doesn't have much to do here except look sad. Look mad. Look tired.
#3 Anticlimactic action. Of course we know what's coming, but that's not what ruins it. The battle scenes just don't have the magic of the first two films. They're silly.
So—is there any reason to see it?
If you're a completist like me, it's your civic duty to sit through it. Also, it's Philip Seymour Hoffman's last film and just his mere presence—alive and breathing brilliance—is a gift.