'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2' review: Even Jennifer Lawrence can't save this soap opera finale

It’s been an agonizingly slow, four year journey from the first Hunger Games movie to the second part of the final installment in the franchise, awkwardly titled The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2. The previous film was a disappointingly languid film set up as a cash grab and as a pad to kick start this film. One expects a big payoff in Part 2, and frustratingly, the film does a belly flop on that front.

If you’ve never watched the previous films in the series there’s no point in showing up for this one. Those who have been following the series won’t need much of a description of the plot. Katniss now leads the revolution to thwart the tyrannical dystopian corporation run by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Joining her forces are Peeta (Josh Hutherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and the rag tag team of previous winners of the Hunger Games. And yes, both Peeta and Gale are still battling against each other to be with Katniss. The love triangle continues as battle lines are drawn and a couple of action packed setups leads Katniss closer to Snow. You don’t need much imagination how the film finally ends.

 Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 review: Even Jennifer Lawrence cant save this soap opera finale

A still from Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Image from Youtube.

Much like the Harry Potter and Twilight final films, Mockingjay Part 2 also reminds us how splitting the finale in two separate films was a bad idea. Because of the lack of exciting voluminous content in the source material, the final book in the series, the film tries to make up for running time with meandering ‘atmospheric’ shots where nothing of note really happens. The dour and languid tone of the film juxtaposed with the spurts of unconvincing battle scenes don’t really gel together well.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was introduced in the second film as a key character named Plutarch only gets two short scenes and is sorely missed – his untimely death clearly affected the plot of the film. To compensate for his lack of presence, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks show up in un-interestingly long cameos that add little value to the storyline.

And since most of the battles in this film take place in confined spaces, the cameras invite you to care more about the characters. This becomes difficult considering the central love triangle is so cheesy and the actors playing the boys are so unconvincing and limited in range. Ultimately their storyline is more a bad soap opera than an absorbing teen love story.

There’s only so much weight the luminous Lawrence can take and salvage when the rest of the film is falling apart around her. Even though she shines in a dramatic scene she seems like she’s going through the motions in the film as a contractual obligation rather than genuine interest in making an entertaining film. It’s probably about time she gave up on big franchises and got back to making meaningful smaller budget titles – the films that made everyone fall in love with her in the first place.

The special effects are fine, but never surprising. By now the dystopia of the universe depicted in the movie has become old hat. So when there’s nothing new to look at it becomes easier to spot the shoddy CGI in some of the scenes. It’s not entirely clear if the Young Adult audiences will show up in droves to watch the film – the falling box office numbers of all the films of this genre indicate the genre has reached a saturation point. It’s up to the finale of The Maze Runner trilogy to turn things around, or at least end on a high.

Updated Date: Nov 07, 2016 20:35:06 IST