The creators of The
Hunger Games series have done themselves, and their fans, a disservice by splitting
the final chapter of Suzanne Collins’ saga into two movies. Up until now the
films have been on an upward climb, each one topping the last. The one constant
has been Jennifer Lawrence’s charismatic, committed performance as Katniss
Everdeen, aka Mockingjay.
concluding entry in the series is possibly the weakest. It’s unrelentingly glum
(as is Katniss) and its purported twists and surprises can be seen coming a
line is Katniss’ determination to assassinate President Snow (a gleefully
malevolent Donald Sutherland). At the same time, President Coin (Julianne
Moore) becomes more transparent in her efforts to use Katniss as a propaganda
weapon in the war for control of Panem—with Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) at
her side. Meanwhile, our heroine is distressed to find Peeta (Josh Hutcherson)
a victim of brainwashing whose tendency toward violence has become almost
Some of the more
colorful recurring characters (Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci,
and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) have little to do this time around, which
further flattens the proceedings and gives the picture a one-note quality. Lawrence
is as solid as ever, but her character isn’t as compelling as it was in the
earlier installments of the story.
There are some
exciting action scenes and impressive visual effects, but they aren’t the
reason people go to see The Hunger Games.
It’s the characters and their dilemmas that propel this series, and this
one concludes with more of a whimper than a bang.