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Every time a franchise comes to an end, there’s a certain period of mourning that accompanies its fandom. Depending on what fandom you’re talking about (and whether or not Disney happens to own the property … because that means you never have to say goodbye…HELLO ANTHOLOGY FILMS) that sad period could involve anything from donning your black widow’s weeds and Victorian mourning cameo for the requisite four years to taking Jumping Rob to the red carpet for one last hurrah.
I mean, you do you.
When it comes to The Hunger Games, the fans are sincere, excitable and proper. I saw a lot of somber faces at the theater for Mockingjay Part 2. We don’t want to let the franchise go, but we understand that it has run its course. We can say goodbye with the knowledge that we will meet again in the afterlife, aka if Suzanne Collins ever decides to write a play that only lottery winning Londoners can attend. It’d be like fandom predestination and only some of us are Calvinists.
So, why with all these wonderful, felicitous fans is Mockingkay Part 2 delivering its poorest box office opening of the franchise to date? Shouldn’t all these devoted Tributes and Rebels be flocking to the theaters to three-finger kiss* Katniss and her merry band of victors farewell?
*OMG what is that actually called in the books … someone tell me so it doesn’t sound so totally gross.
A huge contingent of Hunger Games fans did not enjoy the last half of Mockingjay when they read it. In fact, I would venture to say that most THG fans didn’t like how the trilogy concludes. It’s perfectly conceivable that many of them had no wish to see it unfold onscreen when it was pretty painful to read on the page. Hardcore fans will see it because they can’t leave a thing undone, but just the once. It won’t get multiple viewings from them like the first two movies did. There are plenty of THG fans who feel no need to see the end to the story that they weren’t fans of in the first place. They’ll just watch Catching Fire over and over.
The last half of this story is just a bucket load of falling action. We know what’s coming, or in this case what’s NOT coming. There are no vampire sex cottage montages, there’s no Battle of Hogwarts, there’s not even a ring to throw into the fire. There’s almost, dare we say it, no reason to show up for the ending of this story. There are skirmishes, there are exploding pods and a sewer battle. But the big deaths and the big twists happen in either strangely quiet moments, or in too fast ones. So for the casual fan, just why bother?
In every one of the Hunger Games books, there are huge moments of shock and awe. Katniss’ volunteering. Peeta’s revelation of his love for her. Seeing Peeta with the Careers. Rue’s death. The tribute-eyed mutts. The Quarter Quell revelation. Cinna’s death. Mag’s sacrifice. The alliance revelation. But in Mockingjay? Those big moments pretty much end once Peeta chokes Katniss out. And that’s the end of Part 1. After that, it’s all the slow slog to try to kill Snow, and even that is supremely underwhelming.
Look at those epic YAWN faces.
We miss the feel of the revolution in this last movie. There are no sweeping scenes of people in the districts rising up to help direct our empathy. We begin to lose the thread of whom exactly we are rooting for. Even the last battle between good and evil confuses us: Snow or Coin? Who deserves to die the most at this point? Where do we aim our emotional arrows? This works fine in the novel, but on screen it rankles, like Katniss is a fickle girl being manipulated a final time by Snow, instead of it showing the decisive cut stroke of a savvy battle-hardened soldier.
And oh, that meadow scene at the end. Sweet, but so so odd. Could we have seen Katniss instead teaching her son to hunt, coming home to Peeta making dinner? Has there ever been a better time to FLIP THE FEMINIST SCRIPT on this mother? Peeta, please.
Truth be told, Mockingjay Part 2 is not a bad movie, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it feels like it could have been tacked onto the end of Part 1 without much fanfare. AND WHERE WAS ALL THE GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE I WAS PROMISED?
What did you think of Mockingjay Part 2? Were you underwhelmed or was it just what you were wanting?