FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the Hunger Games, because it’s fiction. As a smarmy, pretentious know-it-all, I only read non-fiction because it makes me looked smarted than I actually is, at.
FULL DISCLOSURE, PART II: I have not seen any of the previous “Hunger Games” movies, but I meant to.
The massive Hollywood production that is the finale of the best-selling Hunger Games books is out in theaters, and it does not disappoint to deliver the product that fans of the books and the movies want. I know this because my spouse told me.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” is full of young, hot sexy actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth, as well as the veteran Hollywood establishment, like Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland. Everybody in this giant, expensive ensemble delivers but it is J-Law’s willingness to be plain, dirty and straight and deadly with a crossbow that carries the whole show.
She is Katniss Everdeen. She doesn’t run around in a tight mini-skirt and a form-fitting top that shows her cleavage. She is a futuristic Joan of Arc with great aim; she is the ideal tough-chic hero for young girls looking for an icon in action-adventure genres.
The story: The end is near, and the rebels have banded together for one final run at dethroning the evil President Snow (Sutherland). The brains behind the operation, President Alma Coin, remains an all-time favorite - Julianne Moore, who can make eating a bowl of Grape Nuts interesting.
She is either the best thing that has happened to the weak and the weary, or just another President Snow dressed in different clothing. Which could it possibly be?!
The feisty band of rebels features Gale Hawthorne (Hemsworth), and Katniss’ love interest, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), who may or may not be still brainwashed into believing that Katniss is actually the devil.
The rebels have to break through to Capitol to dump President Snow, install a new government and new leader - Coin - and then all will be right with the world. Or Coin may not be the savior/saint she portrays herself, and she’s been playing Katniss to do her dirty work.
Action: This is not a blood bath, but the producers spent big money to bring this world of fantasy to life in a convincing manner. The whole film looks like your standard futuristic, the world-has-gone-to-hell flick. This isn’t a bloody movie, but the action sequences are intense and some of the subject matter is far too frightening for young kids. People die in this movie in rather painful fashions.
A sad surprise: It was both odd and nice to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in a few scenes as Plutarch Heavensbee. Hoffman was such a wonderfully talented actor; he died during the filming of this movie. Seeing him on screen again is a reminder of his versatility and talents.
Art imitating life: “The Hunger Games” is dark, dirty and a nasty look at the widening gaps in a class society, and the disgusting exploitation of the less fortunate. The soul of the series and the movie is Katniss’ endurance, persistence, toughness and goodness in the face of power-thirsty leaders.
Should you see it: If you are a fan of the books and the series, yes. It’s well done, and Jennifer Lawrence is worth the price of admission. She is the character actor who happens to be attractive. She’s a young, hot star whose success is not rooted in her appearance but her willingness to show some range and become a character.