In theaters now…
The circle and the saga are now complete.
This week, as consumers of turkey and Black Friday sales take to the malls, we thought we’d add our two cents on the completion of The Hunger Games film franchise. We’ve been a fan of the saga since seeing and reviewing the first film, and the wife and I actually went on to read and review the second and third books prior to the release of the movies.
By now, you’ve probably seen the mixed reviews of Mockingjay Part 2 across the web. Few sequels can make it to a forth movie without wearing out a bit, and the decision to split the third book into two movies was a controversial one among fans.
We maintain the split was warranted, as the final film does a great job of hitting on the vital points in the book. A compression of the final saga would have meant a crucial loss in plot and pacing. That being said, Mockingjay Part 2 doesn’t stand alone, as it jumps right in to an opening scene between Katniss and Peata moments after the end of Part 1.
The darkest of the four, Mockingjay Part 2 brings Katniss into full force against the Capital as the Mockingjay, a post-apocalyptic Joan of Arc. The movie actually does a better job than the final book of driving home the fact that the final invasion of the capital and the war is the final Hunger Games. Some of the subterranean battle scenes under the city between the rebels and monstrosities unleashed by President Snow are reminiscent of the second Aliens film.
The films were shot in rapid succession, allowing them to be released at a pace of nearly one per year. This definitely levels off the look and continuity to the saga, another plus. You’ve got a narrow window when it comes to teen sagas, before your audience outgrows and turns on you…
How does the final film compare to the book? District 13 and the final invasion of The Capital are true to Collins’ vision. Trust between Peata and Katniss is strained to the max, as it was in the book. Heck, even the cat survives (spoiler alert), a small but meaningful touch that made it to the big screen.
Overall, the completion of the film saga adds a worthy finale to The Hunger Games universe. Though considered young adult fiction, The Hunger Games series doesn’t back away from tough issues involving loss, betrayal, and doing the right thing in the face of injustice, definitely a message for our times. Like Star Wars, The Hunger Games saga may well be what future generations study when they try to get inside the minds of 21st century humanity.
Is the final Hunger Games movie worth seeing this holiday weekend? We’d say yes, especially if you’re a fan of the film or the franchise. Make sure you watch the first three if you’ve never read the books, and Amazon Prime now has Mockingjay: Part 1 up for viewing.
We’d still like to see the creator of the series authorize more tales from The Hunger Games universe, either at her own hand or by the fans… how about Haymitch’s victory at the 50th Quarter Quell? Over the very first Hunger Games? There’s at least 73 other earlier tales to tell…
It was sad to see it end, but at least the inclusion of a fourth film ended the saga right.