“I’ve been watching you and you’re watching me. But dear Miss Everdeen, make no mistake, the game is coming to its end.”
The public’s hunger for “Hunger Games” may be insatiable, but I, for one, am glad the series has, at long last, come to an end.
The phenomenally successful trilogy of young adult dystopian novels by Suzanne Collins spawned a phenomenally successful quartet of movies that had the good fortune of casting rising star Jennifer Lawrence as its lead.
In the unfortunate Hollywood tradition of the day, the final volume of the Hunger Games series was divided into two long movies – “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.”
As a result, the book’s already thin plot is stretched even thinner over the course of two films. The best that can be said is that, unlike Part 1 which was little more than a place holder, at least Part 2 brings everything to a conclusion and there’s some satisfaction in that.
This fourth installment, by the way, makes no concessions to newcomers. The movie jumps right into a conversation that drops names and places as if we’ve known them all our lives. For a movie that drags on for two hours and 20 minutes, it’s odd that it thinks it’s in such a hurry to get going.
No worries. The movie’s storyline is pretty simple. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is leading an army of rebels that has now grown to include legions from all 13 districts of Panem.
“We all have one enemy and that’s President Snow. He corrupts everyone and everything. Tonight, turn your weapons to the Capitol. Turn your weapons to Snow.”
The rebels launch a complicated attack against the evil, smug Snow who’s holed up in the heavily fortified Capitol. In order to protect the president, all the city streets have been booby-trapped, so the rebel assault begins to resemble yet another version of the original Hunger Games (In fact, one of the rebels sardonically says, “Welcome to the 76th edition of the Hunger Games”).
The movie pulls off a number of exciting action set pieces – the long sequence in the sewers is especially tense and nerve-wracking – but time and again, and at the oddest times, the film comes to a screeching halt in order to address the burning question: Who does Katniss love more, Gale, her childhood friend, or Peeta, her Hunger Games compatriot? The two romantic rivals even discuss between themselves each others’ prospects for winning Katniss’ heart. Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” eventually builds to a dramatic climax and even throws in a twist of sorts, but both are so drawn out that the series ends with more whimper than bang.
And the epilogue is pure hokum, although at least we find out who Katniss loves more. That’s a relief.