There was no real reason outside of naked capitalism that the last two chapters of The Hunger Games needed to be cut into two films, well made as they are. None at all.
If you're like me, seeing Mockingjay Part 2 feels like finishing a very long video game that had some extremely lengthy cut-scenes. Should I be so happy something's over? Should completion of this story not feel more like like the savoring of a long meal rather than finishing the SAT exams?
Full disclosure: I have found every previous installment of this franchise to be a monotonous, joyless slog. In fact, the first time I ever used the term "joyless slog", it was in a review aimed at this expertly produced enterprise. Well, this one continues in theme and tone, but the satisfaction quotient is higher at the finish. Whether the pay-off is worth the investment will be a matter of personal taste, but it's fair to say that, if you haven't been privy to the other films, this is not the time to jump on the ride. It's also a pretty safe bet that if you didn't care for the others, this one's not going to convert you. The visuals are even more bleak than the previous movies -- until the last twenty minutes or so when the episode finally kicks into full gear and delivers a kick-ass battle and a dramatic, if telegraphed, finale.
Of all the visual effects that are rendered, none may be as consistently impressive as those utilized to make Josh Hutcherson look almost as tall as Jennifer Lawrence when appearing in the same shot. Josh is an adorable, tiny, little thing, so they always have to shoot the couple from the floor or the ceiling when walking or running together as not to appear like Gandalf and a hobbit running around. Donald Sutherland finally adds the much-needed character flair in the last reel, and we get closure (sort of) with Elizabeth Banks' character of Effie. Effie has always been an ambiguous cross between the Emcee in Cabaret and a Fairy Godmother and is the one character that makes me wish I had read the books. And, to class things up, Julianne Moore sacrifices herself for commerce like an Oscar-winning martyr.
My mind couldn't help but wander and wonder: In light of current events, the whole dystopian fighting-terror-with-terror-for-survival-thing might finally be exhausted and may be ill-timed for movie audiences at the moment. While enduring this yarn, it came to me that dystopian futility might finally be trending out, in favor of frothier fare. We've had plenty of modern-day Lord of the Flies knock-offs to last a lifetime, just in the last five years alone. We've seen kids run mazes, find themselves divergent, and kill each other of for sport to the point of cliche -- enough already.
(Loudinni specializes in movie reviews 500 words or less sans spoilers.)