Bloody reality television, corrupt government, teenage love, genetically engineered monsters, and freaky body modification has finally come to end—at least for one fantasy world. Last week I got to see the finale of one of my favorite book series translated onto the big screen and it did not disappoint. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 may not have been completely consistent with the book series, but like the Harry Potter series it was one epic that remained extremely close to its source material. I can’t speak for every young adult or fantasy series that has been brought to the silver screen since I haven’t read many of them (though Sparknotes and Wikipedia are useful resources), but The Hunger Games movies managed to capture a lot of the spirit of the characters and the plot as it was presented in the pages of the Suzanne Collins novels. I should warn that there may be spoilers ahead for those who have not read the books and have not seen the movie yet.
The movie picks up right where Mockingjay-Part 1 left off, with Katniss recovering from Peeta’s assault due to the Capitol’s brainwashing to turn him against her. While I was kind of disappointed with the lack of action In Part 1, Part 2 does a great job of drawing out those high-intensity action sequences. I especially enjoyed seeing Katniss and friends battle the white snake monsters in the sewers of the Capitol (and even though it was expected, I noticed several people in the theater around me jump when the “mutts” made their appearance). I was also glad there wasn’t as much of the forced romance played up in the first three movies present in this one, since this final installment focuses more on the resolution of the war between the Capitol and the rebellion. While the romance isn’t my favorite part of the movie, Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Liam Hemsworth (Gale), and Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) have done a great job in conveying the emotions of their characters. Katniss does, of course, close the love triangle between herself, Peeta and Gale and, surprisingly, the final scenes of the movie were just like the conclusion of the books.
Even though I started and finished reading the books about a year after the release of the first movie, I noticed that only a few details were changed, such as Prim going to visit Peeta during his rehabilitation instead of his friend from District 12 (even though their exchange remained the same) and the lack of the trap door streets that the Capitol used to slow the rebels. I also may have missed it, but in the movies I don’t recall Gale and Beetee ever explaining their idea to create the bombs that have a delayed explosion to draw in more enemies, however that detail was used as a major part of the film and I think the final conversation between Gale and Katniss had to be added simply to clear things up for the audience visually. And because Katniss’ internal dialogue can’t be used and there wasn’t anyone else to explain it, the fate of a lot of the characters after the war’s end was kind of left unanswered for those who have only seen the movies. Overall, as a fan of the book series, there is very little to criticize this movie for. I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as the first movie, which piqued my interest enough to get me to buy the books in the first place. Whether you’ve only experienced the films or the books, Hunger Games is a series that I think resonates well with everyone and hopefully serves as a prime example of how a film adaptation of a major book series should be handled.