Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2

Plot: At the end of the part 1, the tributes had escaped from the Hunger Games and begun a revolution. Peeta (Josh Hutchinson) had been kidnapped, brainwashed by Pres. Snow (Donald Sutherland), and rescued by Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). In part 2, the revolution continues with made-for-TV battles created by the evil game-makers. Katniss is reunited with the remaining live tributes for an assault on the capital when she is not sparring with rebel President Coin (Julianne Moore). After 3-4 battles and many injuries to Katniss, comes the final battle, which has a twist. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: This is surprisingly good. It had character interaction, and a lot of soulfulness from Katiss as played by Jennifer Lawerence. I liked her selflessness and determination.

Mockingjay 2 extend the metaphor of reality TV show and war out of the arena and onto the street. Since it is a movie, it mocks TV better than the book could.

President Snow's battle plan is to show demoralizing defeats on TV, while President Coin has Katniss in a special propaganda platoon to inspire the rebels. The movie ends with a made-for-TV atrocity. This Sci-Fi satire says that modern warfare has a propaganda component. The most recent real-life example are the made-for-TV executions by ISIS, but another example was Iraq war II invasion being shown live to US viewers by embedded anchors. TV war may have started during the Vietnam war when Americans saw battles on TV, and gradually lost support for the war. In this sense the war was lost on TV before it was lost on the ground. In the movie, the show business aspect of the war gives Katniss something to rebel against  -- insisting that people are suffering, and providing justification for the family-friendly ending.

Jennifer Lawerence's Katniss is an everywoman dropped into a heroine role. She does such a fine job that the movie is satisfying and interesting. It is not just the dialog, it is the reaction shots and the look on her face as she hugs her friends. Katniss is interesting and likable. There were several actors who were great, but lacked screen time: Philip Seymour Hoffman's Plutarch; Jena Malone who played an angry bald-headed tribute; and Woody Harrelson. The two male leads, Hutchinson and Hemsworth, were not so interesting.

The dialog is good too. There are fewer shoot-em ups than expected and more talking. The made-for-TV battles are short, and are like video-game battles in that they are puzzle-like and have solutions.

The message is that human life and daily human family matters are more important than politics and personal ambition. 

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutchinson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Mahershala Ali

Directed by:
Francis Lawrence

Written by:
Suzanne Collins and two others. Collins also wrote the novels.

The Music: I didn't notice it. The soundtrack is only available for pre-order -- so I can't give it a second listen.

The Visuals:
The art direction is a pale shadow of the first movie. The architecture of the capital was disappointing. It could have had more historical or cultural references. I loved the scene with President Snow in the snow-covered greenhouse with the white roses -- that was inspired. 

Rating:
3.0 stars: Emotionally satisfying and carried by JLaw's performance



More: Lots of female leaders in the rebellion.

Spoiler: I liked the post-script about having kids with Peeta for two reasons it shows that all the politics is less important than relationships and family, and second it finally settles this Gale/Peeta controversy.

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