Today is my birthday! For the past 4 years it has been a tradition that my boyfriend and I go and see the new Hunger Games movies and this year was no exception. So we bought our movie tickets on Fandango, packed up in the car and headed north to the IMAX theatre to see the final installment of The Hunger Games franchise.
My immediate reaction was “Holy Cow!” After I took some time to digest what I had just witnessed, I came up with the top 5 reasons I believe director Francis Lawrence hit it out of the park with this last movie.
- Stuck with the storyline of the novels
The movie stays true to the events of the book, even keeping them in chronological order. Fans of the books will be pleased to see that not much has been changed or been altered from the book to the screen (at least not the big pieces).
- Kept Snow’s Perspective Going
Something the writers and directors have injected into the movies as an addition to the original novel is the perspective of President Snow. Once again we see glimpses into how Snow is perceiving the events around him – His obsession with Katniss, the eminent threat of the rebels. We get brief but insightful glimpses into the last moments of Snow’s reign in the Capitol.
- Introduced Coin’s Perspective
There are now two puppeteers in the lives of the Victors. President Snow has been using the Hunger Games, his power and his influence to control the people for years. This isn’t a fear that dissipates solely because a few of the districts have made headway in a rebel uprising.
But if Snow is the puppeteer in front of the curtain, Coin is the one behind the curtains. Under the guise of freeing the people from their current dictatorship, Coin is proving to be just as calculating and callous as her counterpart.
- Poignant Scenes
There are 3 scenes that really stood out to me in the film as cinematic genius on behalf of Francis Lawrence.
The first scene that comes up is when Lt. Jackson has to choose between using force to bring Katniss back in line with Coin’s orders or ignoring her mission for the greater cause of assassinating President Snow. Such amazing acting on the behalf of Michelle Forbes. I really felt as if we were witnessing her making the decision for the first time right there. What would she choose?
When Katniss and Gale are walking within the crowd of refugees to Snow’s gates there is scene where a little girl recognizes her face. I could feel the tension and the anxiety of that scene. Even though I already know how the scene will go according to the novel, I still feel as if this little girl is on the edge of giving it all always. And the later pan to the girl as she is crying after the action sequence begins is heartbreaking. I felt like screaming out loud “Katniss, grab the girl!” It was a powerful scene to behold.
At the end of the movie Prim’s cat shows up at the old house. Scarred, rattled, but alive. Katniss has a powerful reaction to the presence of the cat and I was struck. I felt slapped across the face by her words, but the cat takes it all in. Makes me wonder how they filmed that scene. As I have one of the most sensitive, skittish cats alive I thought to myself “Lulu would never sit through this.” Another powerful scene.
- Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen has grown over the years
Do you remember four years ago when I did a review of the first movie? In the review, I talk about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance when she’s in the tunnel being brought into the arena. Her near convulsions of fear had me shaking in my seat as well.
Likewise, her performance in this movie was equally compelling. Her ability to portray a girl going through extreme PSTD while trying to save her friends and family from an eminent threat to their life is amazing. While I was impressed with her acting in the first movie, I felt as her performances fell a little shorter in the 2nd film. For some reason it just felt like she wanted it more in these last two movies – like she had really come further with her skills as an actor and she had found a way to use that for Katniss.
Overall, I give this movie 5 stars. I have been pleasantly surprised throughout the process of watching this dystopic YA drama play itself out on the big screen. I think part of it is the award-winning cast and part of it is that Collin’s ideas that come forth in these films are universal to all – finding your voice among the masses, trading one evil for another and just needing to take a break and get away from a world that seems to beat you up every chance you get. And let’s not forget about finding that one love that won’t let go of you even as you may or may not being trying to suppress it. From age 15 to age 90, there’s something for everyone in this collection of films.
Did you see Mockingjay Part 2? How do you think the films ended – are you satisfied or hungry for more?