When it comes to young adult dystopian novels, none has set the benchmark like The Hunger Games series. The last three films in the series have lit the box office on fire, pardon the pun and now the final chapter is finally here.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is out now on Blu-ray. Jennifer Lawrence is back as heroine Katniss Everdeen. When we last saw her, she just rescued Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and once safe he tried to kill her. It was not of his own accord however, he had been brainwashed and infused with tracker jacker venom.
Katniss is working with the rebels and is being used by Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) who is the leader of the rebels, to further her cause. She is still at the center of their propaganda campaign and is working to overthrown President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Peeta is still tethered to a hospital bed after attacking Katniss but everyone is trying to help him regain some semblance of his former self.
When the gang we’ve been following for the past three films finally heads out to kill President Snow, which is where the inevitable conclusion lies, Mockingjay Part 2 picks up steam but does show that the final book has been padded a bit to stretch into two films. Katniss, Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) get information about where Snow is and plot a course to take care of him once and for all, they have to go through the capital which has been rigged like the Hunger Games area with traps and pitfalls along the way.
The film has a quiet intensity that so many other young adult translations lack. That of course is due to the amazing performance of Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland. Two worthy adversaries, who play off each other so well. When Donald Sutherland smiles you can practically see the evil surge under the calm and careful exterior. Jennifer Lawrence has perfected Katniss’ steely glare and while this Katniss is more world weathered she’s still somewhat optimistic.
This is a an extremely satisfying conclusion if not totally unexpected. It soars and doesn’t let the audience who has followed these films for the past few years down. That’s not to say there are not a few bumps along the way. Liam Hemsworth brings nothing to his role as Gale and you can easily see why Katniss would be bored with him. This final chapter is also a bit dour, yes it’s a dystopian novel but they are still young adults, still I do believe it’s real and where the characters would have ended up after going through what they have for the past four films.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 arrived on Blu-ray in an excellent transfer thanks to Lionsgate Films. The colors in this chapter are very much muted which visually doesn’t lend itself to high definition as well, but what color there is looks great. The darker scenes, of which there are many, tend to lose some of the details and definition especially in the action scenes. When the action shifts to the capital and outdoors the details are much more pronounced and look fantastic. The fine details, especially in close up, look excellent.
Special features included in this release are:
An audio commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson – it’s good and provides a lot of background detail on the production.
Pawns No More: the Making of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – This is eight featurettes put together that talk about different aspects of the production like the SFX, Casting and production design. Really worth a look.
The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey – A nice set of production stills from photographer Murray Close.
Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor – This is a fine look at the costumes from the films.
Jet to the Set – This is a series and one episode that featured a look at the Hunger Games. It’s good and has a look at the sets and also features interviews as well.
Overall, I have really enjoyed the Hunger Games series and while this final chapter might seem like extra padding, it’s still a fine film nonetheless. The performances are top notch and I’m so happy that this entire series has been a sold set of films worthy of the fans attention.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is out now on Blu-ray!
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