The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 picks up right from where Part 1 left off, without any opening credits, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) still in the infirmary while on the ‘Pat and Mick’, her voice still squeaking like Beaker from The Muppets, with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) still in a foul mood that’s considered a ‘conditioned response’ and ‘not him’ because President Snow (Donald Sutherland) injected him with the virus known as the ‘tracker jacker’ (Suzanne Collins must’ve had five seconds left to write her book, at that point, to come up with such a name for it). Ah, but then when we do get a flash of the title, four minutes in, instead of the flaming yellow with the Mockingjay symbol behind it, it’s just a plain white on a black background. Did the studio run out of felt-tip pens?
Can Katniss rally the troops, go to The Capitol (via District 2 – home of The Nut, the Capitol’s main military HQ-cum-complete fortress), depose Snow, rescue Peeta and get the band back together? Some of them are happy to smash the HQ into oblivion and trap any tertiary slaves/henchmen inside, while others think they should be allowed to escape via a service tunnel – so it’s like trying to free the workers from Max Zorin’s complex in A View To A Kill, even though Walken’s character thought otherwise at the time.
At one point as they head towards The Capitol, they’d told to evade mine-like ‘pods’ or ‘paaaarrrrds’ as Boggs (Mahershala Ali) calls them. And as their fight goes on, their numbers deplete one by one, and I won’t say who buys the farm at the hands of the Alien-like egghead mutts, but when one is pulled off a ladder, smacks their back on a metal platform and then is swamped by the baddies, screaming Katniss’ name, I split my sides laughing!
Overall, the final entry in the series is overlong and feels disjointed – taking 30-40 minutes before the kids get out on the road and it gets going – but it’s better than Part 1. And for a 12-certificate with a lot of deaths and violence and even genocide, there’s a surprising absence of blood.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, but whereas The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had the entire ‘game’ presented in IMAX, despite using the same director, not a single shot of either Mockingjay movie was made in that format, which is a shame as it looked great.
The audio is presented in Dolby Atmos, for those with the requisite equipment, but I was able to listen in the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 format. There’s also an option for Dolby Digital 2.0 which is “Optimised for late night listening” – pardon? As a whole, even though there’s more action this time round, it’s still not enough to wake up the neighbours, whatever time of day.
There aren’t quite as many extras this time as there were with Part 1 – although later on you’ll see why, but there’s still a hefty beginning:
- Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 (2:21:45): Longer than the film and with more chapters (21), this is split into 8 parts: firstly about the fact that the saga has come to an end; the visual design; the casting; the costume, make-up and hair; location shoots in Atlants, Paris and Berlin; stunts, special effects and weapons; the post-production process; and a final segment about the production shoot coming to an end on June 20th 2014, the very last scene which was…
Oh, but then they had to come back for the Epilogue – and Jennifer Lawrence is wearing some sort of motion capture dots on her face. And there was me thinking in the film she just had some very bad make-up on!
And how on earth did one of her nephews get saddled with the unfortunate first name of Bear Lawrence?!
- The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey (10:17): Photographer Murray Close, who also worked with Stanley Kubrick on The Shining, talks about all the close-up pics he takes during the production which is then used for promotional stills and the like.
- Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armour (9:22): A look at the designs made by Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who bought the farm in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
- Panem on display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition (1:57): A brief look at the exhibition in San Francisco. More info can be found at the official website.
- Audio commentary: with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson.
Oddly, this was the only edition in the series that Lionsgate chose to release a 3D version – albeit applied in post-production as it wasn’t shot in 3D, but you’d normally expect a studio to make a 3D version out of all the films in the series, or at the very least both parts of the Mockingjay novel. Still, while there is a 3D Blu-ray version, there’s nothing that requires the effect. Even the action scenes are few and far between, in amongst a lot of talking and walking about.
There’s also a 4-disc Complete Collection, yet the US version has six discs with additional extras, the French version includes Mockingjay Part 2 in 3D, the Benelux version has eight discs, while the German version also includes a 100-page collectible book (albeit in German). Why not just one release with everything for everyone, Lionsgate? You can read the full details for all of these at Quarterquell.org
The menu mixes clips of the film with the theme. There are subtitles in English and Spanish, and the chaptering is the same as Part 1 with 16 over the 137-minute running time, so a slightly longer film but no extra chapters. I’d still prefer one every 5 minutes, on average, however.
Running time: 137 minutes
Cat no: LIB95301R0
Released: March 21st 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Atmos, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (“Optimised for late night listening” – pardon?)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision, 4K)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Francis Lawrence
Producers: Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik
Screenplay: Peter Craig and Danny Strong (based on the novel by Suzanne Collins)
Music: James Newton Howard
Katniss Everdeen: Jennifer Lawrence
Gale Hawthorne: Liam Hemsworth
Peeta Mellark: Josh Hutcherson
Haymitch Abernathy: Woody Harrelson
President Snow: Donald Sutherland
Plutarch Heavensbee: Philip Seymour Hoffman
President Alma Coin: Julianne Moore
Primrose Everdeen: Willow Shields
Finnick Odair: Sam Claflin
Effie Trinket: Elizabeth Banks
Boggs: Mahershala Ali
Johanna Mason: Jena Malone
Beetee: Jeffrey Wright
Lieutenant Jackson: Michelle Forbes
Katniss’ Mother: Paula Malcomson
Caesar Flickerman: Stanley Tucci
Cressida: Natalie Dormer
Messalla: Evan Ross
Pollux: Elden Henson
Castor: Wes Chatham
Tigris: Eugenie Bondurant
Homes: Omid Abtahi
Mitchell: Joe Chrest
Egeria: Sarita Choudhury
Annie Cresta: Stef Dawson
Enobaria: Meta Golding
Commander Paylor: Patina Miller
Leeg #1: Misty Ormiston
Leeg #2: Kim Ormiston
Commander Lyme: Gwendoline Christie
Antonius: Robert Knepper
Katniss’s Father: Phillip Troy Linger
Everdeen Child #1: Bear Lawrence
Everdeen Child #2: Theodore Lawrence