Last week the penultimate chapter in The Hunger Games film series hit our cinemas. Based on the bestselling trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the film series that first hit our screens in 2012 starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as the main three characters has firmly planted itself into the hearts and minds of our society. Mockingjay, whilst actually my favourite of the books, is a lot of readers’ least favourites, so upon hearing it was to be split into two parts there were mixed reactions from the fanbase. However, after seeing the film myself now, I completely back the decision for it being split. It was completely the right decision.
At over 2 hours long, this film had to ensure that it held the attention of its audience the whole way through. Considering the first half of the novel Mockingjay is more build up than action, this film potentially could have felt actionless and been a flop. As an avid fan of The Hunger Games, I’m very pleased to report that this did not happen.
As would be expected, Lawrence’s performance as the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, was exceptional. Peeta Mellark (portrayed by Hutcherson), otherwise known as the other half to Katniss’ shared sufferings, actually hardly features in this film; the previous film, Catching Fire, ends with him being captured by the cruel and forboding Capitol. His features were brief, yet the level of impact and emotion they brought was massive. Lawrence perfectly portrayed the anguish and pain you feel Katniss go through in the book as Peeta is visibly tortured and inflicted pain upon by the Capitol.
There was a perfect balance of action to emotion, something The Hunger Games can actually always be credited for managing very successfully. It also brought in scenes that weren’t actually spoken of in the books, as there we are somewhat limited by only seeing through Katniss’ eyes; such as the uproar in District 5 of cutting out power supplies. It is scenes like this which broaden the world of Panem and therefore make these films so strong. Lawrence’s emotion as Katniss was paired right next to scenes of mass action, such as visiting a hospital and then taking down Capitol bombers. Lovers of the books will also be pleased to know that Finnick Odair’s (Sam Claflin) back story was very accurately told, explaining why this strongly liked character is how he is. There was a moment when I thought they were not going to fully tell it and I was sat furiously in my seat, but it was simply strung out longer for dramatic tension.
Overall, this film was a total ride of emotions, from happiness to sadness, to feeling quite genuinely stressed about the situations the characters were in to literally laughing out loud at some brilliant lines of humour. The “Hanging Tree” scene is, in my opinion, one of the most visually incredible scenes I have seen in cinema for a very long time, and I have had the song on repeat in my room ever since I saw the film. As for the ending of the film? It’s about as dramatic as it could get. Those who have read the book will probably be able to make a fairly good guess as to where the film ends – those who have not, prepare yourself for one of the biggest plot twists this series could ever have given you. I fully recommend this film. As somebody who is an avid fan of both the books and films, in my opinions this was the best of the current 3 films, so go on down to your local cinema and give it a watch.