"the hunger games: mockingjay

     

The fun và games grow darker still as Suzanne Collins' dystopian sci-fi series reaches its grlặng conclusion.

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What started as a game culminates in deadly serious terms with a full-scale overthrow of the system itself in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 2,” which counters the meager helpings offered by most teen-driven entertainment with one of the heartiest character arcs ever afforded a young female protagonist. After being forced khổng lồ hunt other innocent children for sport, Katniss Everdeen rallies her fellow rebels khổng lồ rise up against the Capitol, & that’s not even the most revolutionary thing about this fourth & final installment in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian adventure series, which continues khổng lồ implicate its own tín đồ base in the bloodlust even as it kills off many of their favorite characters. Though domestic B.O. dipped some 20% for the previous feature, this ultra-dark, deliberately paced climax should recover somewhat even as it ventures down bleaker channels still, paying off the gamble of having stayed true to its source.


Katniss may be 17 years old as “The Hunger Games” reaches its long-awaited finale, but in the hands of director Francis Lawrence (who took the reins from Gary Ross after the first film), the series has veered far from the realm of traditional young-adult entertainment. For all intents và purposes, “Mockingjay” is a war movie, albeit one starring an iconic, athletic Joan of Arc-lượt thích heroine (once again played by Jennifer Lawrence) và featuringbattle scenes that feel suspiciously like extensions of previous Hunger Games — those arena death matches where sadistic dictator Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherlvà, that master of the menacing grin) unleashed high-tech and bioengineered weapons, which have sầu since been tucked away into booby-trapped “pods” all over the Capitol streets.


Though these inventive challenges make for an entertaining Capture the Flag-style obstacle course, Collins (who once again earns an “adaptation” credit) and returning screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong are clearly more concerned with the mass-truyền thông manipulation of combat footage than the are in what actually transpires in the trenches. Modern warfare, Collins suggests, is literally a “show of force,” complete with all the theatricality that implies, và her dystopian Oz will ultimately be ruled by the showman — or woman, since Snow’s worthiestrival is Alma Coin(a severe if somewhat less interesting Julianne Moore) — with the most compelling narrative to chia sẻ over the airwaves.

Needless khổng lồ say, it would be unwise for anyone not yet versed in the series’ mythology to lớn jump in at this late stage, as “Mockingjay —Part 2” is no mere sequel, but the finale of an ambitious narrative in which the tragedy of each fatality relies on connections established in previous films. While hardly quality to lớn “The Hunger Games,” this cumulative-storytelling approach feels perfectly consistent with sophisticated, serialized TV and film franchises (“Harry Potter” in particular) that respect viewers’ ability to lớn trachồng multiple individuals and intrigues over a span of years — which is lớn say, there’s no “Previously in Panem … ” catch-up sequence to lớn situate newcomers here.


That said, director Lawrence does allow enough room for audiences khổng lồ process what’s unfolding before them, working ata classical pace that’s become increasingly rare aao ước breakneông chồng modern blockbusters. One could argue that “Mockingjay” didn’t really merit being split in two (and surely a single three-hour moviecould be made of it), but we benefit from the fact that the film has been given room to breathe, which allows for subtle character moments — including a nice bonding scene between Katniss và standoffish fellow victor Johanna (Jemãng cầu Malone) that substitutes for their having been roommates in the book — & the gradual building of suspense during the actual siege inthe Capitol.

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For those who don’t clearly rethành viên all that has come before, the film opens immediately after Katniss has been reunited with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who spent nearly the entirety of “Part 1” under Snow’s control, tortured và “highjacked” (brainwashed with tracker-jacker venom) inlớn hating Katniss, only to kết thúc the film rescued & returned khổng lồ District 13. But in what state? Or khổng lồ emang lại Peeta’s distress in his own words, borrowing a line that may as well apply to the entire media-managed revolution: “Real or not real?”

Such questions hover over nearly everything in “Part 2,” where what remains of Katniss & Peeta’s always ambiguous romance becomes still more complex, now that the purity of his love sầu has been cast in doubt. In the past, Peeta’s feelings for her were always sincere, whereas Katniss was the one who performed her part exclusively for the cameras’ benefit, guarding her heart for childhood sweetheart Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Now, Katniss fears that Peeta has been programmed to lớn assassinate her, but also discovers that Gale isn’t the man she once believed, but rather a ruthless battle strategist willing lớn sacrifice innocent lives in his attacks on District 2 & the Capitol.

From the very outphối of the series, Katniss has been faced with difficult moral questions. Nearly always, she acted out of a naive sầu sense of what was right, starting with her decision khổng lồ take younger sister Prim’s place in the Hunger Games. In the intervening time, she has gained an audience with Panem’s top power mongers, her cynicism steadily growing as she comes to recognize how such individuals operate. By this point, Coin is as much a figure of suspicion as Snow, và Katniss disobeys her orders (khổng lồ function as rebel-alliance cheerleader in “propos,” or propaganda spots, directed against the Capitol) and decides to lớn hunt Snow down herself —an easier choice to understvà than the pic’s subversive final twist, which spectacularly re-establishes Katniss’ defiant individuality.

As demonstrated in an early scene, when a Phường.O.W. from District 2 holds her at gunpoint and demands one good reason he shouldn’t pull the trigger, Katniss considers her life no more valuable than those around her, refusing to lớn buy into her own mythology. Though she has allies — và indeed reteams with a squad of familiar faces, including Gale, newly wed Finniông xã Odair (Sam Claflin) and former bodyguard Boggs (Mahershala Ali) for the Capitol assault —Katniss’ latest moral dilemmas leave sầu her feeling more alone than ever. Like little Frovị Baggins, crushed & corrupted by his heavy burden over the course of three films, she’s not the same personshe was when her adventure began.

Similarly, Jennifer Lawrenceisn’t the same actress, having grown from the hardy yet resourceful child of “Winter’s Bone” lớn the assertive sầu adult seen in “American Hustle.” That evolution serves her character well, và Lawrence (the director) engineers the film khổng lồ replicate the effect of Collins’ first-person narration. We experience much of “Mockingjay” from a relatively subjective point of view, either seeing things over her shoulder or processing how the resulting emotions register on her face, which the actress controls with a subtlety befitting the widescreen pic’s Imax proportions.

That same subtlety doesn’t necessarily extend to James Newton Howard’s score, which fluctuates from soap-opera-style piano accents to lớn full-blown action-movie bombast (with a lovely Celtic wedding ballad on the occasion of Finnick’s marriage). Even so, Howard’s music becomes downright vital during the film’s most claustrophobic sequence, as Katniss’ squad comes face-to-face with a herd of ferocious mutants in the Capitol’s underground sewer system, resulting in a “mutt” attaông chồng more intense than any of the demon or zombie nastiness the helmer conjured in “Constantine” or “I Am Legend.”

All three of his “Hunger Games” assignments benefit from the world-building talents the directordeveloped on those earlier sci-fi thrillers, and here, hedelivers the most complete evocation of Panem yet — although some may be disappointed to lớn see the battle forDistrict 2 reduced to lớn a CGI firebombing glimpsed over Katniss’ shoulder. The filmmakes up for that with impressive Capitol action, building the city above và below ground through a combination of heavy-concrete German locations and digital trickery, best showcased in a terrific mix piece in which Katniss & her crew work out personal differences amid a rising tide of black oil.