The final part is here and advertised to be the best and most exciting of them all, it’s time for the rebels to take on the capitol and knock President Snow (Donald Sutherland) from his almighty perch. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her band of victors and soldiers must tackle the minefield of traps that have been left for them and enter what can only be described as the final hunger games but with the stakes even higher than usual, and the whole concept of a free world resting on their shoulders can they really succeed? Of course they will because otherwise that would have been an awful ending, we all know in the end what the result is, the more important part is how they get there and it’s not lacking on thrill. This one is all about Katniss, Peeta and Snow or Lawrence, Hutcherson and Sutherland as it could be put, you could also throw Coin (Julianne Moore) in there as she’s vital but this one’s about resolving what started the first time around. The actors all do a great job as usual, really there’s more pressure on Josh Hutcherson this time around tackling a much damaged Peeta rather than the usual simple kind boy, and he doesn’t disappoint; the character appears completely broken and constantly confused as he tries to put himself back together again. For Snow/Sutherland I feel as though this is a different machine, in the last three films the character was certain that he was top of the pyramid and that’s all there was to it, but with the capitol in danger there’s another side to Snow and it’s very interesting. Lawrence as ever does the same job, there’s no step up or down, the whole series she’s kept a great level of quality and there’s no change there.
The only real disappointment with the cast is the choice to change Effie’s role in Mockingjay, though in the book it’s extremely limited but leads to a very rewarding moment, in the films they’ve used her as basically a side note which considering what an asset Elizabeth Banks is, it’s a sad oversight on their part. I would assume the hope was to keep Effie included due to the fans possible disappointment to have her character removed for the big moments but though entertaining in the first part, here she feels unnecessary.
Lastly when you talk about the cast you have to mention Phillip Seymour Hoffman, it’s a sad thing that he died much younger than he should have and it’s clearly easy to notice in the film the moments they’ve had to replace or use CGI in order to complete the film without him, but overall they’ve done a great job filling the gaps.
But on to the actual film itself; there is a lot going on I will give it that first and foremost, there’s life, love, death, action, violence, heroism, fear and that’s not even all of it but this is the final installment that should blow your socks off and instill in you that all this time watching the films and investing in the characters has all been ultimately worth it, but I didn’t get that from this film. Though I do agree with setting up part two with a much more drama focused part one, it seems to have ebbed the excitement and given the build up no real set direction. One thing that the film would have benefited from would be spending a little more time on the collaboration of the districts, though we saw the beginning of it in Catching Fire it seems to have become something that the audience are left to assume, where in reality it would have been a huge advantage to give the film more of that community coming together to defeat the enemy spirit, whereas it feels more of a single group effort. Too many moments that should be gigantic feel as though they are slightly glossed over, and the pace is in too much of a hurry to get to the end to savor the moments that are vital to the series as a whole. It’s simply missing the extra strength to play with the audience’s emotion, making you want to cry uncontrollably or cheer your loudest and feel like you were an unseen part of the team. This doesn’t take away from some fantastic moments in the film but it should have come together as a whole much better.
It is however a satisfying end to the series which for fans of the book it does stick to the story and not make too many embellishments. It’s simply disappointing that this was an opportunity to make such an immense film and it falls slightly short. I really wanted to be able to be giving this one a raving, glowing, perfectly positive review but it misses the mark just slightly. A good effort and ending to the franchise (unless they change their minds), but not quite reaching its potential.