Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Nov 23, 2015 by     No Comments    Posted under: Entertainment, Screenplay

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There is no shortage of Young Adult (YA) book-to-film adaptations and now with the release of The Hunger Games: Mocking Part 2, I am reminded of how far this series has come in terms of YA book-to-film adaptations. Not to rain over the parade of numerous such adaptations out there (How can I, being such an avid Harry Potter fan?) but truly, Suzanne Collins’ science fiction series The Hunger Games film adaptation has been the best book-to-film adaptation I have ever seen. These movies are more than just movies that provide entertainment. If we read them with an open mind and look at them closely, we can observe that these adaptations have succeeded where others have not.

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In case you have been living under a rock, The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian world where the evil Capitol rules over the remaining country that comprises of 13 Districts and maintains law and order in the most twisted way imaginable; by forcing children from varying districts to compete in a gladiatorial fashion. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is a victor of the bloodsport and becomes a symbol of hope for the ordinary people of Panem by outwitting the rules of the game. In the last movie, she becomes an actual leader of the uprising against the sadistic Capitol.

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Mockingjay Part 2 is the most brutal of all films due to its sheer ugliness. The action sequences, along with the small intimate moments, make you feel the complete weight of how terrible things have been for Katniss. This is something you don’t feel whilst reading the book probably because reading about war sequences is not as bad as watching. Going back, Mockingjay Part 1 opened with a damaged Katniss, whispering in the dark. Similarly, Mockingjay Part 2 opens up with Katniss in bad shape. An interesting parallel to note? The stark contrast between Part 2 and the rest of the movies is that Katniss is finally stepping up to her legend and owning it. Instead of following the rules, she is creating her own by taking control of her own destiny, something that she was unable to do before. The Mockingjay has freed herself, at last.

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That is not to say Mockingjay Part 2 doesn’t have serious flaws. The ending was not as powerful as someone who is familiar with the text of the book and has high expectations would hope for. Perhaps the reason for that lied in the fact that s series such as The Hunger Games has so much to say that when  it comes to adapting it to a movie the writers are determined on including every important detail and as a result they tend to trip over most of the crucial parts.

Current world events have had no small impact on the way these films have been received. The way the theme of these series overlaps with the kind of news we hear everyday from around the globe have allowed us to think of this series as “important” an even “powerful”.  Indeed, when Mockingjay, Part 1 premiered n the midst of the Ferguson riots, we saw just how great of an impact these films have, seeing “If we burn, you burn with us” scrawled on an St. Louis arch suddenly gave the films a new power. The Hunger Games films were so alive in our collective consciousness that protestors were not only inspired by their message, they also knew that the general public would understand the reference. Whereas in Thailand the movie had been banned from releasing due to the government’s fear that it would instill a rebellion in the general public.

Unsurprisingly, author Suzanne Collins was inspired to write her trilogy after channel surfing between reality TV shows and war coverage. This is where The Hunger Games differs from Harry Potter and other YA adaptations; The Hunger Games feels real. To the point where we can ask ourselves: Are we the Capitol? in the world of the Hunger Games the residents of the Capitol are exaggerated but there are not unrecognizable from our affluent societies. The rebels in the districts may be fighting in the fictional Hunger Games but are they really all that different from the oppressed groups from around the globe?

Remember that iconic line from Mockingjay, the book ? “Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences.” because that is one of the most resounding lines from the entire series.

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The Hunger Games do challenge us they so rightly should. With the last movie in the franchise out we say goodbye to yet another powerful series that gave us one of most impressive heroes of the 21st century. In a recent article, actor Donald Sutherland who plays President Coriolanus Snow in the movies. had a pretty shocking statement to say when asked what he thought the real message of The Hunger Games is; “If there’s any question as to what it’s an allegory for I will tell you. It is the powers that be in the United States of America. It’s profiteers. War is for profit. It’s not “to save the world for democracy” or “for king and country.” No, bulls**t. It’s for the profit of the top 10%, and the young people who see this film must recognize that for the future ‘blind faith in their leaders,’ as Bruce Springsteen said, “will get you dead.”

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