I can’t believe that a series as good as The Hunger Games is coming to such a tapering end. If the last movie was any indication, this installment nosedives into a creative and literary rut so soon that the viewer is not even given the opportunity to take guard. The film jumps from one plot point to another and with very little interest or shock value that had made the previous films very enjoyable. The action which though not extensive still had the kind of gusto associated with it to make me buy a Mockingjay lapel pin as a gift, fell flat just like the rest of the film. The imaginative deficiency and the sudden jump in timelines towards the end made this film look almost unfinished.
The story starts from where the previous installment left off. Katniss is recovering from the brutal attack that Peeta let loose on her. After some therapy which lasted a few seconds she is back to her roaring self. The rebellion is in its full flow. The Capitol is on its knees and Coin wants to use Katniss as a last ditch attack on the last stronghold of the capital. Peeta who is also recovering is shoved back into the group which has Katniss, Gale and the other tributes to show the people that Capitol had merely used him as propaganda and the fact that he was also fighting for the rebellion. After District 2 is overwhelmed, the rebels lay siege on the Capitol and Katniss takes it upon herself to finish off Snow but for that she has to make way to his mansion which happens to be almost in the edge of the city with the roads leading to it peppered with things called PODs that unleash death in different styles on anyone and everyone who care to pass through them.
The plot does sound interesting and it did make for a good read but somehow the cinematic rendering has not transformed into the kind of effect that would have been desired. To start with the film is atrociously slow. I mean you are bound to wait for the characters to say something or the other to each other as they incessantly gaze at each other. It happened to me numerous times when I just cried out loud for the characters to speak something. Next up the film is atrociously sad and grim. Even after everything becomes OK in the end, you just carry the grief and misery of the characters with you. It makes you morose and the narrative gets that much more boring and intolerable thanks to it. In a film like this, you are supposed to like the protagonist. Not here.
From start to finish of this film, you are bound to question Katniss’ character and be always in two minds about what she was doing. She is ready to kill Peeta in many sequences and then the very next moments she is willing to die for him. Gale is the worst sufferer who doesn’t know what will be of his relation with Katniss. Peeta is the only one who is sure of himself. Till the time the conditioning of the capital doesn’t wear off, he is ready to kill Katniss and then he clearly makes up his mind and doesn’t act crazy anymore. If only the others could have been that way. The character of Coin is strangely developed into an antagonist and that too at a moment’s notice. Katniss takes Snow’s word against her and her suggestion to announce another Hunger Games reiterates Snow’s words.
The list just goes on and on as far as the troubled narrative is concerned. There are loopholes galore and the snail’s pace that the film takes kills off any little suspense or surprise for that matter that might have been holding. The performances by the entire cast feel repetitive and staged. Sam Claflin as Finnick is the only refreshing essay but he has such a short essay that you are bound to miss his act if you even blink. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta is ok. He isn’t bad and at times feels for real. He also has a smallish role and only comes to his own towards the second half of the film.
Jennifer Lawrence is one of my most favorite actresses in Hollywood right now and to write ill about her feels very very bad but I can’t help it. She is mundane, disinterested and almost sleepy through her entire act. The way she is dressed up and the exorbitant makeup that is put on her, even in sequences where she is shown recovering from injuries is blasphemous. It only goes on to destroy the credibility of her character. She doesn’t help her cause by just sleepwalking through her essay. Ditto can be said about Liam Hemsworth. However his fall isn’t all that resounding thanks to some of the other acting debacles we have known him for.
Overall, this is the worst film in the trilogy. I have always loved and supported the rest of the films primarily because of the manner in which the story telling has been able to successfully raise above the adolescent view point and turned into a serious and grim epic but they have probably stretched that mood a tad bit too far with this installment. When the last film in the franchise ends up being this bad, the reputation of the whole franchise comes down with it. That I believe is the seminal crime of this film and one for which it should never be pardoned.