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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth,
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Juliane Moore, Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 17 minutes
Release Date: November 16, 2015
DVD: March 22, 2016

I’m not a fan of The Hunger Games.  I didn’t particularly like Mockingjay, Part One so I didn’t review it.  But I was pleasantly surprised by Mockingjay, Part II. It wraps up The Hunger Games and it proves that the decision to divide the end into two sections was right.  It is not padded.  At over two hours, there’s so much plot you feel it could be longer.

The movie begins literally where Part One ended.  If you haven’t seen it, or read the books, you’ll be lost.  The movie sweeps on to the end of the trilogy in a grim, relentless, action-filled saga.  This is not like any of the Marvel Comics movies.  It is not light-hearted.  People we like get killed which is realistic in battle but it’s still grim.

These are the final days of the great war to overcome President Snow and his evil, corrupt circle.  Most of all, it’s a war to end The Hunger Games, in which young people are required to hunt down and kill each other for the amusement of the spectators. 

Of course, the romantic triangle gets resolved and this is the greatest weakness of the story.  The actors who play Peeta and Gayle are merely adequate.  Both roles could be star maker roles but they don’t bring anything special to their parts and that means the film sags during those scenes.  It’s truly a shame.  Jennifer Lawrence absolutely shines throughout.  She is what makes the whole series and it has been a star maker for her.  I just saw her in an utterly different role, Joy, and she shone in it.  She carried the movie just as she carried Hunger Games.

The movie, like the book, has a happy ending.  It’s realistic in that Katniss is a walking case of post-traumatic stress syndrome but she’s able to achieve a kind of normal life and we, the audience, applaud.  She deserves it.

She realistically carries the film’s final moral decision and here is where the movie works beautifully (or horribly). It makes a very grim point.  In a battle of good vs evil, not all your allies are going to be good people.  Some may be fighting on the right side for the wrong reason. I think this movie should be required viewing for all politicians. Katniss sees that the victory could be lost.  She acts to preserve the victory and the triumph of justice.

And that brings the happy ending.  There’s an underlying message to teenagers here.  If you think adults have made a mess of the world, there’s only one thing to do. Go out and change the world. ~~ Marian Powell

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