HUNGER GAMES: MOCKING JAY PART 2 – Review by Susan Granger

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This highly anticipated conclusion begins where Part 1 left off. After brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) almost choked her to death, bruised and battered Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is recovering. While Katniss vows to kill despotic President Snow (Donald Sutherland), resistance leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) says she more valuable as the iconic Mockingjay, inspiring others to band together, ending district rivalries in Panem. But this reduces Katniss to a primarily passive figurehead. Read on…

As a propaganda tool, she’s assigned to the Star Squad, infiltrating the Capitol, which has been booby-trapped against the rebels. That leads to lots of violent, often fatal CGI skirmishes, particularly when they take a claustrophobic, underground route, battling slithering sewer slimes.

Resilient stylist Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) flutters, while videographer Natalie Dormer (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) keeps the cameras rolling and there’s an all-too-brief glimpse of statuesque Gwendoline Christie (TV’s “Game of Thrones”).

According to many, the third book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is the weakest and never should have been split into two parts. But greed prevailed, as in other young-adult adaptations like “Twilight” and “Divergent.”

With longbow in hand and an arrow-filled quiver on her back, Jennifer Lawrence is stunning – and the odds are still in her favor.

But even she seems to sense that this slog has become stale, even with stalwart support from veterans Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Stanley Tucci and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose last Gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee’s message is read aloud by Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch.

As Katniss’s suitors, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are dismally dull lumps. Were their roles deliberately diluted by screenwriters Peter Craig and Danny Strong, along with director Francis Lawrence? And then there’s the sudden, somewhat inexplicable demise of Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin). Too bad Suzanne Collins never paired him romantically with Katniss.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” is a somber, insipid, slavishly faithful 6, as the Girl on Fire becomes a glowing ember.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.