Screenplay: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrleson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore.
I had to play catch up with this one, having missed the last two releases.
Catching Fire was a pleasant surprise. I love the characters going back into The Games. And what a pleasure to see Philip Seymour Hoffman on the screen again (sob, sob). What an amazing actor (Capote (2005), Doubt (2008), The Ides of March (2011), A Most Wanted Man (2014), to name a few). It was a nice touch to dedicate the Mockingjay Part 1 to him in the credits. The reworking of the script to include a letter written by Hoffman’s character, Heavensbee, for the final instalment was well done by director, Francis Lawrence (director of the final three instalments). The letter read by Woody Harrelson’s character, Haymmitch Abernathy. See article in The Los Angeles Times here…
There was potential for Mockingjay to become saccharine, with the propaganda, and emotive speeches that became the focus of Part 1. Thankfully, the character Johanna Mason (Jena Malone, well cast, I say), had the hard authentic nasty to bring the film back from too much cheese.
Mockingjay 2 takes us to the final battle against the Capitol and tyranny of President Snow. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), has become the symbol of the rebellion and under the direction of Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of District 13, the Districts are aligning behind the symbol of the Mockingjay.
Facing battles from all sides, including her once trusted ally, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss must stay strong to overthrow Snow. But Snow won’t go quietly, and hence the battle for the Capitol becomes the final Hunger Games.
I haven’t read the books so the story with its twists and turns was a welcome surprise for me. The characters were becoming a little flat, the story a bit too: bad guys versus good guys in Part 1; Part 2 has enough twists to keep the story interesting.
The inclusion of Katniss singing The Hanging Tree in Part 1 as the rebels’ anthem was genius. Jennifer Lawrence has a lovely, simple warm voice that was a nice finishing touch in Part 2.
I liked this film. It was a well thought-out conclusion to the saga, and I left with a satisfied, warm feeling.