The Hunger Pangs
I’ve come to the conclusion that all movie industry accountants must be avid supporters of homeopathic dilutions, believing that the source materials vital energy can be diluted down whilst still maintaining the potency of the original. I’m not an accountant, and in my organic opinion, the third and final volume of The Hunger Games series ‘Mockingjay’ should NEVER have been split into two movies. It screams of greed and deceit, and fortuitously mimicking the propaganda narrative that permeates the pages of the book and the frames of the movie.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was a fairly lack lustre affair that soured alot of the good will of the previous two cinema chapters. Not a great deal happened except a fair amount of sombre furrowed brows, to the extent I’m sure all the actors got brow cramps for months after making it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the series, more so in it’s concept, design, actors, message, inspiration and it’s ability to thoughtfully introduce very adult intelligent themes into younger minds fat on the offal gristle of X-Factor and it’s sparkling dross clones. And anyone with a modicum of awareness will see the parallels and warnings between the fictional world of Panem and our contemporary societies with multiple imperialistic nations currently running riot around the world. Even factions deemed to be terrorists aren’t always what they are presented to be, where there are always operatives behind the scenes steering and directing the chaos and carnage. Sometimes these operatives are the ones deemed the good guys.
To it’s absolute credit The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015, by returning director Francis Lawrence) isn’t afraid to take on serious issues associated with war, the lies that get us there (they are always lies), the Pied Piper false ‘leaders’ who continuously skip ‘n slip us all round the blood saturated roundabouts of collateral damage, and their supporter distributors of the ‘messages’ ie main stream press who financially gain from such cyclical carnage. It’s almost as if the want to create the world of The Hunger Games.
All this destruction (as in real life) takes a heavy toil on the human condition resulting in wholly dehumanised individuals coping with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) having returned from the latest battlefield. But of course the puppet masters never have to worry about such trivial ailments.
Back in the land of Penam we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) slowly recuperating after sustaining severe injuries at the end of the previous engagement where she was nearly (like us) bored to death. Things are a bit bleak, and though there is a spark of hope in the fact that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been released from the talons of President Snow (Donald Sutherland), his mind is muesli. Ravaged with PTSD and obvious brain washing by Snow, he is openly willing to kill Katniss at the first opportunity. Bet she wished she just stayed in bed.
And that indeed is what President Alma Coin (Julianna Moore doing an incredible impression of Hilary Clinton) and Plutarch (the late Seymour Hoffman) her ‘adviser’ are suggesting she stays, so they can ‘present’ a publicity campaign to the free Districts to continue the uprising against Snow’s reign.
But Katniss is a battle scared warrior now, and they aren’t renowned for bubble baths and chilling. So to war it is. Snow will pay for the suffering he has caused. She’s off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Death. There’s no yellow brick road guiding them as everything is barren and deserted due to Snow ordering the inhabitants to gain sanctuary at his palace. We don’t have any flying monkeys, but the Gamemakers are having a flash sale on death machines, so things ain’t looking good.
There is much to really like in the final journey, but that in itself is infuriating. The moments of genuine (VERY dark) spectacular are sporadic, with ridiculous amounts of padding and repeated laden exposition. A massive contributor to this is splitting the last book into two movies, where there absolutely was one fantastic solid movie germinating.
Laurence has visibly grown with her character, and all the other work she has done in other movies adds gravitas and beautifully seeps back into Katniss, there is no question about following her into battle. Everyone else is in really good form, they’ve worn and loved these characters faces before, especially Sutherland who is REALLY enjoying and unleashing his inner megalomaniac. But despite a wealth of talent, it drags on repeatedly, especially with the tragic absence of Seymour Hoofman, who just sparkles in the few scenes he did before his passing.
In a few months when all the series is available on bluray, as a whole story it will sit better in an overall narrative, and it will be far more acceptable as a complete body of work. It’s by no means a bad movie at all, but I expected a heroes steak and was served soup, and I’m still starving.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is out now.