These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
Yes, I’m a fan of this franchise. I was first introduced to this franchise on the now discontinued TV show ATTACK OF THE SHOW on G4TV. In one of the show’s segments, they showed the trailer to the first movie. Co-host Sara Jean Underwood had implied she liked the books and, won’t lie, that’s why I went out to read the books. Know what? I was hooked. In a matter of, like, a week and a half, I blew through all three books. So I was REALLY looking forward to the first movie.
HUNGER GAMES (2012) was a faithful adaptation, enjoyed it thoroughly. I thought Jennifer Lawrence did an… okay job at portraying Katniss (unlike the rest of the world that praised the crap out of her performance). Some scenes she could have emoted better. She wasn’t awful by any means, but I thought the real scene-stealer was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. He always delivers a fantastic performance. My biggest issues were that certain character relationships weren’t developed properly and therefore made certain character deaths less impacting like they were in the book. I liked that they strayed from Katniss’ perspective to give us insight on President Snow’s scheming, that was a welcomed change from the book. Also, I didn’t like how the movie FELT like an adaptation. The way that it was written didn’t feel like I was watching a story unfolding, I really felt like I was watching a movie. It was an enjoyable film, to say the least, but it had some flaws.
CATCHING FIRE (2013) was a MAJOR improvement. Yes, the argument has been it’s just the same as the last movie, but it had much smoother writing, Lawrence delivered a great performance, and many of the departures made were very intelligent. It was a much better movie. Maybe not so much the Quarter Quell stuff, but hey, I took a victory where I could get one.
MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 (2014) was… forgettable. Boring. Not bad, just… unimpressive. It was build-up to the next movie and letting us know that Julianne Moore was in the movie. She was great, by the way.
But that’s old news. Now I’m reviewing PART II.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence (RED SPARROW , MOTHER! , PASSENGERS , JOY , and the upcoming X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX ), Josh Hutcherson (THE DISASTER ARTIST , and upcoming films ELLIOT THE LITTLEST REINDEER  and THE LONG HOME ), Liam Hemsworth (INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 , THE DRESSMAKER , and upcoming films KILLERMAN  and ISN’T IT ROMANTIC ), Julianne Moore (KINGSMAN 2 , WONDERSTRUCK , and upcoming films MY LIFE ON THE ROAD  and BEL CANTO ), and Donald Sutherland (THE LEISURE SEEKER , and the upcoming AD ASTRA )
Support: Jena Malone (NOCTURNAL ANIMALS  and NEON DEMON ), Mahershala Ali (HIDDEN FIGURES , and upcoming films SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE  and ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL ), Michelle Forbes (GEMINI  and COLUMBUS ), Woody Harrelson (STAR WARS: SOLO , GLASS CASTLE , EDGE OF SEVENTEEN , and the upcoming VENOM ), and Elizabeth Banks (PITCH PERFECT 3 , MAGIC MIKE XXL , PITCH PERFECT , and upcoming films THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS  and THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART )
Director: Francis Lawrence (RED SPARROW)
Writers: Peter Craig (12 STRONG , and the upcoming TOP GUN: MAVERICK ) and Danny Strong (REBEL IN THE RYE )
Composer: James Newton Howard (RED SPARROW, DETROIT , HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR , CONCUSSION , and upcoming films THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS  and FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD )
Cinematographer: Jo Willems (RED SPARROW, and the upcoming NIGHTMARE CINEMA )
Editors: Alan Edward Bell (RED SPARROW and THE DARK TOWER ) and Mark Yoshikawa (KNIGHT OF CUPS , and the upcoming THE CATCHER WAS A SPY )
This is my honest opinion of: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is fed up with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his blood-thirsty war and wants to assassinate him personally. Against the wishes of the District 13’s leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), Katniss winds up on the battlefield with a special propaganda unit. Along with the battle-hardened Gale (Liam Hemsworth), a recovering and mentally unstable Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), they venture into the heart of the Capital, faced with hidden dangers and an uncertain future for Panem as Katniss will ultimately decide it’s fate.
It’s… heavily flawed.
I’m just going to go right into what bugged the shit out of me. Character deaths are unforgivably underplayed. Finnick, Boggs, Prim, even Coin, all of these deaths just sort of happen. None of these characters have been given any real development to connect with them. I give the movie credit, though. It’s faithful in these regards. I remember feeling incredibly disappointed in the deaths of main characters, but I’m not sure which is worse. In the books, we at least got time to like Finnick. Yes, he died suddenly, which was cheap rather than powerful, but in the movies, he’s kind of… just filler, making his death unimportant.
Prim… holy @#$%, Prim’s death is just as frustrating in the movie as it was in the book. In fact, I remember having to GO BACK to re-read over what happened to the younger sister, and it happens so fast, it almost feels like Katniss needed just another emotional kick to the vag. In the movie, SAME DAMN THING!!! And just as bad here, we barely get attached to Prim in the films. She exists literally just to remind the audience that Katniss has a sister. Her death is, again, completely unimportant. Maybe to Katniss it is, but we the audience didn’t quite know her.
I also want to say, I may not remember the character of Lieutenant Jackson from the books, but the fact that the film would hire one of the most talented and intense actresses in Hollywood, Michelle @#$%ING Forbes, and kill her off like a fourth-rate character is PURE, CONCENTRATED, UNADULTERATED, STEAMING PILE OF HORSE SHIT!!! I acknowledge this is simple bias, as Forbes is mostly a TV actress of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and TRUE BLOOD fame. Still… @#$%ers.
I think that’s everything that I truly hated about the film.
As for the things I just didn’t like… Lawrence and Hemsworth’s performances were blah. I know that doesn’t sound like a big issue, but… Jesus, it is for me. Everyone and everyone’s mother raves about how “pretty” and “talented” Lawrence is, but I’ve never seen her pull off a role that couldn’t be pulled off by anyone else. SILVER LININGS? I’ve seen that role before, done by better actors. I think HUNGER GAMES is about the only role that I think only Lawrence could pull off and only CATCHING FIRE brought forth a great performance out of her. Beyond that… I’m underwhelmed. Maybe if the writing was better, then I would feel differently, but Katniss is written so bland, I just can’t get invested in either the character or the actor.
The supporting cast is great though. Hutcherson and Sutherland are still the standout greats. Banks, Harrelson, and Malone, brief as their roles were, were great and probably carried the movie for me more than the primary characters, especially Peeta.
Maybe it’s just the visual aspect, but I think the scenes with Peeta joining Katniss and her unit venturing into the Capital to assassinate Snow had some of the best scenes. The audience knows that Peeta underwent some brainwashing and was forced to see Katniss as a monster, send him in to District 13 as a sleeper agent to kill her. This plan fails, but the brainwashing lingers, though Peeta does gain some control of his mind later on, but the brainwashing is clearly strong. Strong enough to add some serious tension to the unit when Peeta is forced to join Katniss. It’s made all the more tense when shit does hit the fan and he contributes to the shit storm by killing on of the team and tries to kill Katniss. Even though he fails and once again regains some control, you can tell he’s still not all there. There truly is no sense of safety within their numbers.
It’s hard to say much else about the movie. I know from the look of it, I must hate this movie. Certain aspects, yes, I do, but they’re small fish compared to the real issues. It’s as faithful as an adaptation can get, but I don’t think that’s a good thing here. The first movie being faithful was passable, and this movie suffers the same flaws… except worse.
It’s not the worst of the series, but it IS my least favorite. It’s got a few powerful moments, hell the last thirty minutes is probably the best of the entire movie, but it’s that first two- thirds that’s inconsistent. Sometimes it’s good, but it’s mostly just… blah. Supporting cast was great, but a boring protagonist really kills it, but the real cardinal sin is no real development.
My honest rating for THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2: a weak 3/5