Movie Analysis: ‘Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2’

“Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2” is the final chapter in the “Hunger Games” series. It’s the climactic end to a series that had been going on for three years. Though not the longest book to film adaptation, I would argue it was the most accurate to the books.

Though this is a common poster for the film, this red outfit is never shown in the film. Photo courtesy of Wallpaper Abyss.

This film was released on Nov. 20, 2015 and was directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Peter Craig, along with Danny Strong.

The budget was about $160 million and grossed $102.7 million in its opening weekend. This was the lowest grossing opening in the entire franchise, according to IMDB.

“Mockingjay Part 2” won 16 awards and was nominated for 34. It won 2 awards from the Golden Trailer Awards for Best Fantasy/Adventure TV spot and Best Fantasy/Adventure poster. It also won an award for Best Original Score in the Sci Fi Fantasy Film Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

Unfortunately, this was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (who plays Plutarch Heavensbee) final film due to his death a year before the release.

Spoiler warning ahead.

“Mockingjay Part 1” left us in shock to see that Peeta was not what he seemed to be. We found out that he had been tortured with tracker jacker venom and was constantly being told that Katniss was the enemy. Now that Peeta is back with Katniss, the rebellion can start making moves to overthrow The Capitol.

The Mockingjay has been the symbol of the rebellion, and now Katniss is fully willing to be it. Photo courtesy of Wallpaper Abyss.
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I remember watching this film in the theater opening day after school. I had just finished reading the final book and was so excited to watch it. I was very underwhelmed the first time I watched it and watching it again hasn’t changed that.

It surprised me that this film was from the same directors and writers as the first part because the tone and how things were handled in this film was so different. In the first part of “Mockingjay,” they lingered on scenes to draw it out and make it more dramatic. In the books, there was a whole chapter of Fidnicks death, but in the film they barely acknowledged it. It was so dark in the theater that you could barely see what was happening. Though it’s more of a technical issue, it’s still important to see when a character dies.

Another issue I had with the film was that it didn’t tell the backstory of Haymitch. As a victor of the Hunger Games you live a lavish life, but like what Fidnick says in passing, you become a slave to The Capitol. In the books, it’s explained that Haymitch didn’t want to do some of the things The Capitol was going to make him do, so they killed his whole family including his girlfriend. With this context in mind, I think it would have given so much more depth to his character. Haymitch’s history as a victor is so sad and I would have loved to see it in the films.

I’ve only been talking about the negatives so far, but there are some things that I do like about this last film in the series. I loved what they did with Effie in these last movies. They portrayed her as someone who was aligned with The Capitol in the first two films, but then they ‘saved’ her from The Capitol. I thought this was an odd choice when it came to her history, but then you end up rooting for her. She becomes more than a stylist, she becomes one of the main motivators for Katniss to agree to become the Mockingjay. The last scene in which we see Effie got me choked up. When she says “promise me you’ll find it…the life of a victor,” you really feel for her in this moment. She understands that her job is done being the motivator for the Mockingjay.

Something that the director admitted was that this is the most violent Hunger Games film out of all of them and I would have to agree. In the first film we see children getting killed, but in this one, you see characters that you’ve been rooting for getting mauled and it’s gut wrenching. However, I do think it was necessary for it to be that graphic in order to keep the integrity of the books.

I absolutely love when films callback to another incident or event that happens in the previous movies and this film is filled with those moments. My favorite one is when Peeta is freaking out over the gunshots and Katniss goes over to him and she says, “Stay with me,” and he responds, “Always,” this was a call back to “Catching Fire” when Katniss had a nightmare and she asked Peeta to stay with her. Another callback moment that I didn’t even realize until my most recent viewing was when Gale is talking about how to deal with District 2’s resistance to joining the rebellion. He talks about a tactic that involves an unexpected bombing and then when people go to aid the wounded they plan another bombing. Katniss said that she didn’t like the idea of killing innocent people who didn’t want any part of it. Later in the film this is the exact thing that happens, but in the capitol and causes Katniss’s sister Prim to die.

Overall, it’s a good finale to an amazing series of films. I’ve said this many times, but I believe that “The Hunger Games” films are the most accurate of all the book to film adaptations. If you have the time, I would definitely recommend the films and the books. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Do you have any recommendations on what films I should look into next? Send your suggestions to [email protected]