‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ — What The Critics Have To Say, Do Fans Really Care? [Video]

Mockingjay Part 2, a concise title for the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, will be released nationwide on Friday, November 20. It’s a good idea to watch the previous three movies before viewing this final installment, which is bound to be a hit with fans. The fans and critics may have different perspectives. Not all film critics love the second installment of the Mockingjay, but do fans care? For most, the answer is likely a resounding “No.”

Christy Lemire, a reviewer on the Roger Ebert website, said the first hour of Part 2 is boring, but she still gave it a “thumbs up.”

The stakes are higher because this is the end—It really is this time!—but the first hour or so of returning director Francis Lawrence’s film is legitimately nap-inducing. From the very first moments, when Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen struggles to speak her name as the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman looks on sadly as gamesmaker-turned-ally Plutarch Heavensbee, it’s just unrelentingly dour, even for a film set in a dystopian future.

The slow start to Part 2 could be interpreted as a build up to an exciting denouement. Homage had to be paid to Hoffman, who died while the film was in production, and Lawrence found the perfect way to do it. Philip Seymour Hoffman was a great actor, and his role in Mockingjay Part 2 was meant to be greater, but the film editors and director could only work with what had been completed before Seymour’s death.

A New York Times review, by Manohla Dargis, offered a positive and glowing synopsis of the movie. It’s apparent that Dargis enjoyed Part 2 and is a Hunger Games loyalist.

Part 2 looks much like most contemporary dystopian future worlds, one that’s by turns similar enough to ours to be reassuring and different enough to be diverting. What makes the material still feel personal — other than the yearslong investment and love that transform entertainments into fan communities — is the combination of Katniss and Ms. Lawrence, who have become a perfect fit. Ms. Lawrence now inhabits the role as effortlessly as breathing, partly because, like all great stars, she seems to be playing a version of her ‘real’ self.

Kenneth Turan, a Los Angeles Times film critic, said Part 2 is less than “satisfying” and “not quite enough.” He believes audiences would have been better served if there had been one film that covered the happenings in what is now Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2.

But what made the best of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies so effective was the emotional connection its shrewd plotting created by combining a coming-of-age saga, romantic rivalry and broader concerns about violent spectacle used to manipulate public opinion. In theory, all this should come to a head in this final film, but the aesthetically misguided idea of breaking the final book into two films, commercially remunerative though it might have been, has ended up making the dragged-out proceedings feel anti-climactic and emotionally static.

It makes sense that Katniss, Peeta, Effie, and everyone else needed to regroup (some would say chill) and gather their strength and sensibilities (especially Peeta) for the final battle against President Snow and the Capitol. It’s about survival for the body and soul of humanity. If the last two movies were made into one, the running time would have been much longer than 2 hours and 17 minutes–way past acceptable for many moviegoers.

Watching Mockingjay Part 2 might be bittersweet for Hunger Games fans, because this is the epic finale. But professional film reviewers aside, everyone can be a film critic, or at least, give a critique. If you’ve seen Part 2 already or would like to share your thoughts, feel free to comment below.

[Image via Moviepilot.com/Film Promo]