Written by Shanna Kelly
As the crowd filed out of the theater, the words “oh my god” echoed all around as everyone left with shocked and overwhelmed looks on their faces.
For all of the avid readers out there who first fell in love with the Hunger Games novels, I can honestly say that I have never seen such an accurate depiction of a series. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 took all of the emotions that had built up inside of me while reading the last book and escalated them beyond imagination. I had high expectations for this movie, but I did not expect to be jumping out of my seat, sweating and to be holding back tears for the entire time.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins first hit the screen in 2012 with the first in the four-part movie series. TheHunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Part 1 all effectively created an exciting, anxious build up to the final movie, Mockingjay, Part 2, which hit theaters last night and is officially released today.
Viewers have come to know the Hunger Games as a fight to the death with no regard for human life; the tactics of the game makers were never underestimated. But it is a whole different story when the game is not confined to an arena and everything good in the world is at stake.
At the root of the series’ plot are two concepts. First is the concept of power. In the first three movies all of the hatred was aimed at the Capital and an alliance was created with anyone who agreed. But Mockingjay, Part 2 showed how you can get rid of one source of threatening power, but there will always be another waiting to take its place. Director Francis Lawrence successfully brought Collins’ novels to life by instilling a fear of this notion in the viewer and revealing Collins’ symbolism that the Capital, the war and the fight for power and freedom in the Hunger Games are all just an extreme version of the reality of our own world.
Second is the concept of a troubled heart. Jennifer Lawrence captured the twists of emotions of her character Katniss Everdeen perfectly as her decision between Gale and Peeta weighed heavier and heavier on her with every day, but in the end it almost seemed that the decision was predetermined for her, a decision that has left me as a viewer unsettled.
Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died on Feb. 2, 2014, due to a drug overdose with seven days left of shooting for Mockingjay, Part 2. His character was present throughout the entire movie until one of the last scenes where it became evident that the scene had been reworked. Instead, director Lawrence had tribute Haymitch read a letter from Hoffman’s character in place of his missing appearance in the scene.
When the screen went black after this reading, I was not prepared to leave the theater with the heavy feeling that was weighing down inside of my chest. But just when I thought it was over, the epilogue (also present in the novel) came on the screen. When the screen went black following the epilogue, I felt overwhelmed but content at the same time.
Four movies was definitely appropriate. With three films, the captivating emotions that made Mockingjay, Part 2 so successful would have been absent and at the end of the movie there would have been a gap where expectations were not met. Breaking this last novel of the series into two films was essential due to the plot’s complexities.
After returning home, processing all 137 minutes of this movie and reflecting on the feelings that I am left with, I can honestly say that fire is sure to catch with this epic conclusion.