Alas, the much beloved Hunger Games series has come to an end. The first film, released in 2012, was an amusing attempt at dystopian fiction. It was only in the second film, Catching Fire, that the series blended to taut action from the first film with a well thought out political allegory. Then, producers decided that they needed more money, and could not simply make one more film. Thus, on the heels of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn, the final book in the series was split into two films; ultimately ruining this would be great trilogy.
Picking up where the last film ended, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is now the face of a revolution. Under the guidance of President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Katniss will help to lead the rebels to the capital, where they will finally overthrow the ruthless President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Adding more pressure on Katniss is the fact that she still has not figured out which boy she loves. She has two options, and honestly they are not great. There’s Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the miniature baker with a dangerous temper. Then there is Gale (Liam Hemsworth), the much better looking of the two, but he is a bit of a moron. So it’s a lose/lose situation for our beloved Katniss.
Much of this film works wonderfully, but it is quite clear that the series would have been much more fluent had the filmmakers decided to forgo the Part 1/2 bullshit.
The film encounters the same problem that plagued Part 1; there just is not enough going on in the book to make two films. We are left with pieces of a good film that are bookended by some extraneous action sequences and too many scenes of expository dialogue. There are some great moments in the film, but they seem to show up in the second half, making much of the first hour a serious drag.
Jennifer Lawrence is quite good in the film, but she is obviously better than the material provided. Watching her try to act with Hutcherson and Hemsworth proves to be an excruciating experience. This is especially true later on in the film once the viewer realizes that the two actors have about six different facial expressions between them.
Much of this film works wonderfully, but it is quite clear that the series would have been much more fluent had the filmmakers decided to forgo the Part 1/2 bullshit. The material deserves better than that, and so do the actors. It is not a wasted experience. A terrifying scene in the sewers is incredible, as are others. Ultimately this feels like half of a good film, which is why I’m giving it half of a full rating.