A.C. at the Movies…

Commentary by A.C. Hall
Commentary by A.C. Hall

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two

It’s been a pretty wonderful ride, but finally The Hunger Games film franchise has come to an end.  Mockingjay Part Two is a pretty good ending to the series, but it’s marred by some very serious technical issues.  
In Mockingjay Part One, there were several short sequences that were so dark you couldn’t see what was happening.  These were often night shots of a ship flying and things of that nature.  This carries over to Part Two and gets multiplied a hundred fold.  A good forty percent of Mockingjay Part Two is so dark that you can’t tell what’s happening on screen.  Entire action sequences play out cloaked in darkness so black that you have no idea what character is being shown, who or what they’re fighting, and whether or not they’ve survived.
This issue is so bad, that even fully lit scenes in the middle of the daytime can get ruined.  The movie is filmed in a manner that gives such deep and absolute darkness that every random shadow can completely cloak a character, meaning you spend a big portion of the movie squinting at the screen trying to figure out what’s going on.

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Yes, I’m harping on this, but that’s how major this issue is.  When I get to my final score for this film, keep in mind that I’ll be knocking it down an entire star due to the darkness problem.
As for the story, I was pretty pleased with how things wrap up.  We get resolution on the romance, the rebellion, and pretty much everything in between.  Without spoiling things, I will say that not every moment in this finale feels like it’s earned.  Some big character deaths feel forced just to produce drama, and some of the villain moments also feel pretty forced.
Ultimately, this series has survived on the strength of its characters, and that mostly holds up.  A lot of the great supporting characters of the series like Woody Harrelson don’t get much screen time, but thankfully Jennifer Lawrence is such a strong lead that it doesn’t really matter.  She’s magnificent here and gives an incredible performance as she says goodbye to this character.  The other two things that make this finale great are the performances of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and of Donald Sutherland as the evil President Snow.
I really enjoyed this franchise, and this feels like a pretty great way to end it.  I deeply and dearly wish that the movie didn’t suffer from the plague of darkness that makes it so hard to enjoy, as I’m certain it would’ve been much better without this.  Why filmmakers sometimes choose to cloak so much of their creation in pure blackness is beyond me.  As is, Mockingjay Part 2 is a less then perfect yet perfectly satisfying end to one of my favorite modern film franchises.

THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS
This movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material

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