Thursday, 19 November 2015

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2: Review By Greg Klymkiw: Finally! It's Over!

"Hmmm, shall I shoot or make another tedious speech?"

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)
Dir. Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth,
Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks,
Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin

Obnoxious Preface and Review By Greg Klymkiw

Preface - Death Be Not Proud

Though I've suffered through every single Hunger Games picture, I only bothered to write about the first film. Life is, after all, short and none of the movies ever got any better. In 2014, I almost blew this perfect record when I found myself visiting my old hometown of Winnipeg to spend a few weeks watching my mother die from one of the most virulent, painful forms of stomach cancer.

One night, I was in one of those desperate-to-see-a-movie moods and the only film playing in the entire city that I had not seen (Winnipeg has little in the way of movie-viewing choice these days) was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.

This might be the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman's
very last on-screen appearances. Death be not proud.

Upon watching it I was flummoxed as all get out because the movie seemed to work for me. Yes, it was full of the idiotically-monickered characters I'd come to detest (Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are, amongst many others, some of the stupidest character names in the history of cinema). And yes, the movie was replete with all the inanities money could buy.

However, for some reason, its dour tone, relatively-measured pace and accent upon the theme of war propaganda were almost enough to make me think I was watching a movie I liked - perhaps even loved.

I began to pen a rave review, but then, my mother finally died and I became otherwise indisposed with funeral arrangements, et al. When I finally decided it was time to return to my review, I snuck in a second screening to refresh my grief-addled memory before putting cyber-pen to virtual-paper.

Oops! The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 WAS dreadful. Everything I thought I loved about it was finally exposed as by-the-numbers and cinematically intolerable. As I'd recently had a similar experience with the execrable Birdman (loving it pre-Mother's-death and hating it post-Mother's-death), I chalked it all up to mortifying despair and heartache.

And now, here I find myself on the one-year-anniversary of my Mother's long, pain-wracked death. My decision was clear. Since I had only bothered to write about the first in the franchise, it made perfect sense to write about the last.

"To make another speech or not to make another speech?"

The Review

Beginning precisely where the first cash-grab left off, we're introduced to our plucky heroine Katniss Everkleer (Jennifer Lawrence) as she gets some much needed physical therapy to restore her voice after brainwashed lover Peetmoss Larkvomit (Josh Hutcherson) tried to viciously strangle her.

Thankfully, our beloved Katnip's dulcet tones are restored just in time to participate in a new assault upon President Snowball (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol. This also allows her to make more monotonous speeches throughout the entire movie.

"Just call me PizzaPocket Malarkey."

Accompanied by her other lover Gaylord "Jacob Black" Hawberry (Liam Hemsworth), the hunky antithesis to the spindly Robert Pattinson-like Pitabread, Katnap is shocked when the rebels begin to mercilessly shoot the refugees while she's trying to deliver a propaganda speech. She puts a stop to this foul nonsense by putting herself in harm's way, only to be kidnapped by a refugee who threatens to kill her. When she tells him she'd welcome death, he understands why she's the genuine rebel Queen and lets her go.

As she begins one of many tedious propaganda speeches, she's shot.

We are shocked - not.

It's early in the movie and only an idiot would believe she's dead.

In the movie, however, one of those idiots is President SnowballAficianado as he raises a glass to toast her assassination. Oh, Woe! Would Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H ever fall for this one? Of course not, but that was a great character, in a great movie, by a great director. This picture, of course is the complete opposite of anything resembling greatness, plus with all that white hair adorning the old man's pate, it's obvious both Sutherland and the character he plays here is in a kind of dementia-addled dotage.

Just one of many poorly directed action scenes.

Dead, our heroine, is not. Katnipple wants to desperately return to the fields of battle, but is ordered to stay-put by the seemingly supportive, but ultimately fascist President Llama Coil (Julianne Moore) and her bumboy Plufeltch Heavenswasp (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dejected, Katsass attends an insufferable wedding celebration replete with Newfie-style fiddling and clog dancing. This is enough to sicken anyone, but luckily, she's given an idea on how to sneak away and continue with the campaign to take over the Capitol.

A sickening wedding celebration.

From here, we're treated to endless poorly directed action scenes (of the herky-jerky lack-of-spatial-geography variety) until (no surprise) the Capitol is breached and the complete cash-grab of the Hunger Games films finally draws to a predictably sleepy close. (There's a surprise moment during a final execution scene that will only surprise complete dimwits.) Worse yet, we're treated to a bile-inducing montage of Katnutts and Peeboy reuniting as lovers, having kids and our heroine thinking back on the horrors of the past in order to move forward with the future.

One can only hope and pray it's all over, but frankly, I suspect our prayers will not be answered. As long as there are millions of suckers out there, Hollywood will continue to deliver endless variations on the Twilight and Hunger Gamessagas. This, of course, only makes us look forward to more Transformers films.

And that, my friends, is truly sad.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is, predictably, gobbling up far too many screens worldwide and come to Canada courtesy of E-one, Entertainment One.