'The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2' [Blu-ray+DVD]
(Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, et al / 2-Disc Blu-Ray+DVD / PG-13 / 2016 / LGF)
Overview: With the nation of Panem in a full scale war, Katniss confronts President Snow [Donald Sutherland] in the final showdown. Teamed with a group of her closest friends - including Gale [Liam Hemsworth], Finnick [Sam Claflin] and Peeta [Josh Hutcherson] - Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow who has become increasingly obsessed with destroying her. The mortal traps, enemies, and moral choices that await Katniss will challenge her more than any arena she faced in The Hunger Games.
Blu-Ray Verdict: In truth, I was drawn into these movies from the off, loved everything about them and what they stood for. And so, well, here we are. The end. Three-and-a-half years and four movies later, 'The Hunger Games' franchise has finally reached its end. It's been quite the journey as we've followed the Girl on Fire through the 74th Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, and down into the depths of District 13.
Now, the fearless yet emotionally shattered Katniss Everdeen prepares to take on the Capitol in this breathtaking finale. While the ultimate question surrounding the decision to split "Mockingjay" into two films still lingers, there is no denying that 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2' is an emotionally satisfying and relentlessly dark conclusion to this explosive franchise.
Getting something out of the way first that has been bugging me about the adverts and the front cover art for this Blu-ray release (and solitary DVD stand alone also, I wouldn't wonder), it shows Katniss sitting on a white throne, dressed in a blazingly red cat suit outfit, complete with red tipped arrows holstered behind her. Now, anyone who has seen this movie knows that at no point does she wear such a blazingly red cat suit outfit AND the tips of her arrows are three (3) different colors in the film! Sooooo, why the OTT coloring of her in a red cat suit outfit when she clearly wears a dark dusky black one throughout the series; let alone this last installment?
Regardless, and moving on into the actual film, we kick off immediately after Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson, who seems to be getting shorter as the films have gone by!) had finished chocking her and leaving her neck all bruised, beaten and her vocals chords temporarily damaged. It is a seamless opening to compliment the closing scene of 'Mockingjay, Part 1.' Indeed, slightly flmisy and well overdrawn plot aside, I love how the characters are explored, with their good and bad sides. They don't come up as the two-dimensional heroes and villains. Their acts and emotions flesh them out better.
If you're a fan who wants every scene in the book included, well, splitting the book into two movies allows that. Books are longer than movies, so not all parts of the book will be adapted for the film. The pacing is good. It's not this high-octane action film, but a war film that deals with both warring sides: District 13 and the Capitol. Action sequences and dramatic scenes blend well. Political themes are perfectly inserted in this sci-fi war film. This is a teen-powered franchise, and it's nice that teens can connect Panem to our real world, especially in countries where corruption, oppression, and terrorism reign like king.
And so, this final installment is definitely the darkest, yet most intense and scary. It shows the audience the consequences of war, yet still remains true to the 'Hunger Games' theme. This being that the Capitol ultimately becomes the arena. Ergo, 'Mockingjay, Part 2' is without a doubt the most emotional of the series as some of the most adored characters are killed off in very very brutal ways.
You also get to see Katniss struggling mentally and emotionally, yet being brave and courageous. This is why I believe so many people are inspired by her. Jennifer Lawrence is absolutely magnificent and really brings out Katniss' emotions. I strongly believe that she is the right person to play Katniss and I couldn't imagine anybody else playing her.
Overall, this film is an on edge, intense thrill ride filled with emotion, action and tells a story which should inspire a generation. I mean, and I can't believe that this next statement is just me saying this alone, but the film ticks ALL of the boxes that anyone would want to see in a blockbuster to be entertained. The whole 'Hunger Games' Franchise is without a doubt the best YA series, and 'Mockingjay, Part 2' gives fans a satisfying and thrilling end to a journey which should be remembered for decades. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with over 5 hours of Extras included in these spectacular Special Features:
– “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2″ - an 8-Part documentary with an in-depth look at all aspects of the making of the final movie including the acting ensemble, visual and costume design, special effects, post-production and more!
– The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey
– Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor
– Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition
– Jet to the Set
– Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
With regard these special features, which it should definitely be reiterated span over 5 hours worth, the stand out one for me, personally, was the Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson. Man, they tell you ALL you want to know about where their heads were when scenes had to be shot, what just wouldn't go right, and even go as deep as revealing alternate shots that they tried, and yet failed to accomplish. They also talk about 'Part 1' so you can, kinda, tie this commentary into that first installment, but its moreover to do with 'Part 2,' of course. Oh, and The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey is also a beautifully captured set of flowing photographs (much like the ones captured below in a slideshow beneath this review here today) that showcase the majestic designs, screen time playfulness and even the odd backstage moment perfectly.
Own 'The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2,' which is now available on Digital HD, on Blu-ray Combo Pack/DVD March 22nd!