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Finale to The Hunger Games franchise

Has it come to this?

Kim Taylor-Foster

Reporter:

Kim Taylor-Foster

Finale to The Hunger Games franchise

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (12A)
Running time 1hr 77 min
Rating **

FANS of teen fiction series The Hunger Games have been feverishly awaiting the cinema drop of the fourth and final instalment. The franchise’s legions of adoring Katniss Everdeen worshippers will love it (no doubt); plus, it’ll rake in the cash, and the studio’s job will be done. But is it a good film? The short answer is no.

In this conclusion to the dystopian saga, we basically see the war of Panem get way worse, with the Capitol ordering the destruction of other districts, while reluctant rebel leader Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) attempts to rally an army to topple President Snow (Donald Sutherland) – but all is not what it seems; and what price must Katniss pay?

Messily told, the film is also a plodding bore, with buckets of perfunctory, humourless dialogue delivered by a disengaged cast in
am-dram mode.The film never seems sure of itself and responds to its brief as if it’s scared to be adventurous. Compelled to play it safe, even action scenes are infused with seen-it-all-before tedium. It’s actually shocking that a film that includes acting greats such as Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore can’t elicit better performances from its talent – and the less said about the criminal waste of Philip Seymour Hoffman (in his final film role) the better.

While the series explores some relevant themes around democracy, dictatorships, war, media, propaganda and terrorism, they’re topics better explored elsewhere – although some of the scenes in the wake of recent events do pack a visceral punch. The Hunger Games, for the most part, is derivative and unoriginal, with muddled messages that lack any real impact. The way the film leaves Katniss is also problematic. A strong, independent female lead, she’s a character that draws praise, and rightly so. But the ending – spoiler alert – sees our butt-kicking hero reduced to a tea-dress wearing yummy mummy role; sitting in a meadow and viewed through a Vaseline-smeared lens. Katniss would surely never settle for this stereotypical gender role. Where’s her spirit? Oh, there it is… crushed by soft focus.

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