The first official [Celluloid Hero] published for 105.7 the Hawk was "The Hunger Games".  For some reason I never wrote a review for the "Catching Fire" sequel, but one year ago I did "Mockingjay - Part 1", which all leads up to the grand finale.

For the quickest of recaps, America is in a post-Civil War state, with thirteen districts making up what is now called "Panem", and every year each district places two children (one male, one female, ages 12-18) to battle to the death until one victor remains. Katniss Everdeen wins the Games in the first movie, but does so in a way that defies the leadership of Panem. She is forced to compete again in the sequel, and eventually is recruited to fight for the rebellion which makes up the two-part "Mockingjay" portion of the trilogy-and-a-half.

There is the twisted part of me that loved the idea of having a televised, fatal bloodbath. I feel like if I were alive during Roman times, I would have loved going to the Colosseum for gladiator games. The first two movies of this series focus on the actual Games, while the last two take place in a world that is in social and political upheaval, fighting a war that precludes the Games. I did miss the action of watching teenagers stab and strangle eachother, but the battle scenes definitely held their own.

There was an interesting shift among the actors from the first two to the final two movies. Things started with dominant performances from great actors like Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson, while you could see some of the inexperience of Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. In the last two, Lawrence and Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth take on much stronger roles. Sutherland plays his character perfectly, but the story direction does push away Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks. Julianne Moore was something of a weak spot for me this time around. The greatest maturation has actually come from the direction/camerawork. The first movie was so full of shaky-cam that it was hard to focus on anything. While the action is still intense, the cinematography has greatly improved.

I do have to say that the story itself was mostly predictable. Certain moments I anticipated, almost from a writing standpoint, where I would think "okay, how would I write out of this situation?"   There was one big surprise for me, which I'll be nice and not spoil. If you've read the books you know, but if you're like me and haven't read any, I don't want to ruin it. Earlier in the movie I had a feeling of "if something happens to character X, I'm gonna lose it" and my gut turned out to be right. I didn't lose it in the theatre, I promise.

I noticed while looking back at the previous reviews, I keep giving these movies the same score. I'm standing by that, for each movie individually and for the series as a whole. They're all really fun, really enjoyable movie-watching experiences. Are they masterpieces? Of course not. Are they worth spending the time on? Definitely.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" gets a 7 out of 10.


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