Rebels Without a Clue: A Review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hunger Games’ Donald Sutherland calls Jennifer Lawrence a ‘delivery system for truth’.

After surviving two battle-to-the-death films and one movie mostly about making propaganda material, Jennifer Lawrence’s ace archer Katniss Everdeen is in for one more fight for her life in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 (**½ out of four; rated PG-13; opens Friday nationwide), the explosively uneven finale to the successful movie franchise.The first Hunger Games was terrific: fresh and exciting, the unsavoury tale of children being coerced into killing children paved the way for how Young Adult dystopia should look, and then spawned too many similarly-themed franchises.

Talking about her in the latest and last instalment of the movie franchise, Donald, father to 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland, said: “She’s a delivery system for truth. It has the best action sequences of all four chapters, though its revolutionary message gets bogged down by a meandering plot and some good old-fashioned overacting. The second instalment had its charms (mainly in the wardrobe department), but when Hollywood hit upon dividing the third-and-final book into two drawn-out movies, it hit a bump in the road.

She’s wonderful.” He explained: “Young people when they see me in an airport walking down will grab hold of my trousers – they’re all small and their mother will stand them up on a chair or something and they’ll have their picture taken but they do ask when they’re standing beside me and whisper in my ear ‘look mean, please’.” When asked why he thinks the film resonates with such a wide audience, he said: “It has to. With terrific acting performances and a bygone era that sparks to life with impressive filmmaking, Carol crafts a memorable romance gift-wrapped for the holiday. Meanwhile, Katniss is determined to fulfil her own mission by killing the now ailing President Snow (a benign-looking Donald Sutherland, who just isn’t evil enough to warrant taking revenge on). And partly the brilliance of that genius child, Jennifer, to get it done, but it has to, otherwise we’re lost.” He recalled: “I know when I came out of (and I saw it by accident) Paths Of Glory – the Stanley Kubrick film with Kirk Douglas, Humphrey Cobb’s book – it filled me with so much rage at the injustice of the political system that I picked up gravel on the ground and threw it, threw it.

Boosted by its stellar cast and playful take on A Christmas Carol, The Night Before is a coming-of-age stoner-buddy comedy, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie, and laced with warm holiday cheer. Apart from watching the team weave its way through the booby-trapped city (these set-pieces provide the only jolts of excitement in the whole film, but are indeed nicely executed), the viewer’s biggest stimulus will be matching up what they see on screen with every dystopian trope they’ve seen in the last three years. The battle-torn city has echoes of Inception, while the creatures they flee from evoke the Cranks, who terrorise those other persecuted teens in The Scorch Trials. The screen lights up only when Jena Malone spits out some delicious bitterness – otherwise, the film’s sole aspect of human interest is the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale, which isn’t getting any less equilateral.

Granted, your heart thuds a little to see Philip Seymour Hoffman gracing the screen for one last time (his death during filming meant that a pivotal emotional moment had to be delivered by another character), and Julianne Moore is her usually reliable self, albeit in a one-dimensional part – but Mockingjay 2 is disappointingly low-key considering its importance to this extremely successful trilogy.

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