Review: ‘Mockingjay – Part 2’ brings a satisfying conclusion to ‘The Hunger Games’ saga

2015-11-27-Mockingjay-Part-II-movie-posterBy MARK VIOLA

After three and a half years and four movies, we have finally reached the conclusion of the cinematic adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling “Hunger Games” trilogy. Last year we were given the first half of “Mockingjay,” the third and final installment in the series, and now we have “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” (is that a mouthful or what?). I said last year that reviewing only the first half of a movie is difficult. While the filmmakers get double the time to tell their story, the audience has to wait six to 12 months to see the completed project. And no matter how good it might be–and it was–you are still left with only half a movie.

And as such, the first half of any story is typically filled with set-up and development and is somewhat lacking in action, at least compared with the eventual final act. “Mockingjay” was no exception, and so there was a lot riding on “Part 2,” not only for this installment but for the series as a whole. While I really enjoyed both parts of “Mockingjay,” as well as the combined whole, Collins’ story does not supply the level of action I’m betting many fans–especially those who haven’t read the books–were hoping for after such a long wait. This of course, leads to the question of whether the expanding runtime–a combined four hours, 20 minutes–was too much for the amount of story to be found in the source material.

Based on what I’ve heard since the film’s release, I am going to wager the majority opinion will probably fall on the side of it being too long. But, in my opinion–and this is my review–I do not have a problem with the expanded runtime and while it may be too long for the amount of action offered, it is not too long for the amount of story and character development to be found in Collins’ third and final “Hunger Games” novel.

As such, I feel that my opinion of the movie is going to be more positive than some, although I had the benefit of having read the books and knowing to temper my expectations when it comes to the action.Bouyed once again by a stellar performance by Jennifer Lawrance as Katniss Everdeen, “Mockingjay – Part 2” is not a perfect conclusion to the series, but it is enjoyable, although that enjoyment may vary depending on whether or not you’ve read the books.

I’m sure “Mockingjay – Part 2” is not going to satisfy all movie-goers, but I found it a faithful adaptation of an enjoyable novel, complaints and all.

The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material.

(This is a abbreviated version of the full review available in our printed or e-edition papers.)

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