By Gwen Reyes// Publisher
Tackling a book adaption requires patience, ambition, and love of the original text. For the past four years fans of Suzanne Collins THE HUNGER GAMES series have given their time, money, and expectations to Hollywood to bring to life the characters they love, and I have felt the filmmakers have never missed a beat. Yes, there were moments in the first THE HUNGER GAMES film where the mark was not quite hit, but at the end of the day the cast, lead by Jennifer Lawrence as the Girl on Fire Katniss, was always the life blood of the series.
The final chapter opens in theaters today and boy is it an emotional wallop. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 picks up right where the first half left off, with Katniss in recovery following a horrific attack by her fellow Hunger Games victor Peeta (Josh Hutchison). She can’t speak, which is a perfect physical representation for her inability to find her voice when it comes to the on-going war against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol. She was a pawn in Panem and now she is a pawn in District 13. Director Francis Lawrence never leaves Jennifer Lawrence’s face for long, casting a brutal sense of unease as we see the personal devastation pass in her eyes.
When Katniss sets out on her own to avenge Peeta and the put-upon residents of the other districts, she is not met with opposition from her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth), but with open arms. They move forth, with the support of District 13 and President Coin (Julianne Moore), and are joined by a battalion of pretty faces who are tasked with filming Katniss and broadcasting it back to the rebel supporters. Katniss continues to be the Mockingjay, the Girl on Fire, even though she thirsts for blood and revenge. Whatever it takes, Katniss thinks, even if that means partnering up with the man who is trying to kill her. The man who also played the part of lover and fiance on screen, and confident behind the Capitol’s cameras.
Peeta is a broken man, taken down by the scientists who oppress all the residents of Panem, and brainwashed to loathe and want to murder Katniss. It’s a race against time as the soldiers make their way through the Capitol before Snow finds them.
The action is tight in MOCKINGJAY PART 2. It never misses a moment to exploit tension and capitalize on the terribleness of war. Katniss is no stranger to death, but with each friend lost she stumbles a little more until the final scenes where she finally breaks, having lost the one thing she was living for. In the book, we never have time to mourn our dead friends, but Frances Lawrence is not playing that same game. He gives each death the time it needs, and offers us and Katniss the right to be angry, hurt, and numb. That is the power of a good film, and MOCKINGJAY PART 2 is all about exploiting power.