Ah, how I enjoy “The Hunger Games.” You and your family sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, when suddenly your grandmother jams her fork into the table in a declaration of war, then your sister throws her knife at your head like it’s a dagger, then your parents proceed to slit each other’s throats in a bloody dining room battle to the dea–oh…wrong Hunger Games…
Normally, I do not care to review films based off young adult books, however I find “The Hunger Games” to be rather intriguing, despite the fact that it is based off of the Japanese novel-turned-manga-turned-film “Battle Royale,” which is in turn based off of Stephen King’s “The Running Man.” This film is yet another book adaptation split into two parts (Harry Potter anyone?), and in this case, “Mockingjay” is the most polarizing book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy due to bad pacing and plot. However, I rather enjoyed the conclusion to this tiring series.
To start things off, our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, portrayed by Jennifer “She Gets To Kiss Chris Pratt In Next Year’s ‘Passengers’ Film Therefore I Hate Her” Lawrence continues her assault against The Capital. A merry bunch of misfits joins her, including Josh “Legohead” Hutchinson as Peeta, Liam “Inferior Hemsworth Brother And Former Cyrus Fiancee” Hemsworth as Gale, and Sam “British…that’s all” Clafin as Finnick. Their goal is to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem to assassinate President Snow, portrayed by Donald “He’s Still Alive?” Sutherland. Assisting the gang on their journey this time is Margaery Tyrell herself, Natalie Dormer as Cressida, a resident director of The Capital. (Dormer’s fellow Game of Thrones costar Gwendoline “She’s Very Tall” Christie is also new to the series, playing Commander Lyme, a relatively small role.) Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci are also in the film in supporting roles, but both are woefully underused characters.
If you have seen the previous films, you know that Katniss Everdeen approaches the Games themselves in pretty much the same fashion that Angela Anthony tackles graduate school: with fierce determination and skill. Standing in Katniss’ way, in addition to Snow, is the brilliant grey-haired president of the rebellion, Alma Coin, played by Julianne “I Saw Her in Person and I Love Her” Moore. Coin dresses like “X-Men” villain Magneto and she has an absolute hatred of Katniss. She is involved in one of the biggest twists in the series. In addition to all of these, we have Lauren Bujaky look-a-like Jena Malone, as Johanna Mason, who returns to the series in full form. Elizabeth Banks returns as Effie Trinket, as well as the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his final, fairly minimal screen role as Coin’s PR person, Plutarch Heavensbee. Try saying that name three times fast!
This film serves as a fitting conclusion to the franchise, but it is dour and oddly paced, unless you watched the first three films. There is plenty of unnecessary downtime in this film and some distractingly poor lighting. Hemsworth’s portrayal of Gale is essentially Edward Cullen with a pulse and a pout, and I cannot stand Hutchinson’s Lego-shaped head and face. One thing it does right however, is that it successfully resolving the story for its long-suffering characters. Katniss Everdeen has finally reached the end of her painstakingly emotional journey, as have the viewers of these films, which may be you.