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The Hunger Games series first exploded onto the scene in 2008 with the publication of the first novel, and it has been making waves ever since. With the response as intense as it was, it was inevitable that Hollywood come knocking. Five years after the publication of Mockingjay, the final book of the trilogy, the film franchise comes to an end with the release of Mockingjay Part 2 in theaters.
The series, set in a dystopian future in the nation of Panem, has been steadily ramping up in intensity from the first film. The Hunger Games focused on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her fight for survival when she volunteers to take her sister Prim’s spot and is thrust into the ‘Hunger Games’ – a televised fight to the death between two tributes from each district until there is only one survivor. We only received hints of the wider world of Panem and the horrors that existed beyond the confines of the coal-mining District 12, the decadent Capitol, and the deadly games arena.
Catching Fire took us on a tour around the 12 districts along with Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the two victors of the games, as they viewed the brutality that met the results of their unintentional rebellion. With 2014’s Mockingjay Part 1 we witnessed the Quarter Quell with surviving game victors sent back into the arena, and in turn starting a full-fledged rebellion against the Capitol. Part 2 picks up with Panem at war with the rebels and Katniss as the face of the rebellion.
As readers of the novels know, Katniss is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Peeta was brainwashed by the Capitol, tried to kill Katniss upon his rescue by the rebels, and has yet to recover. Gale (Liam Hemsworth) has changed from childhood best friend and do-gooder to a ruthless soldier. Even Katniss’ little sister Prim (Willow Shields) has transformed from someone who had to be protected to a combat medic. Nobody has been untouched by the war.
After the events of Part 1, Katniss goes off-mission to kill President Snow (a delightfully evil Donald Sutherland) and end everything once and for all. While there is no arena, the Capitol has been booby-trapped with “pods” and a number of characters die in horrific ways. Details have been shuffled slightly from the novel, but the basics remain the same – namely, viewers can expect the deaths of several characters that they have grown attached to over the years.
One noticeable change from the source material was in the role of Head Gamekeeper turned rebellion leader Plutarch Heavensbee. Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor portraying Heavensbee, died in 2014 in the midst of filming the two parts of the final installment, and both fans and the media wondered how this would be handled. Rather than rely on computer generated graphics, the final confrontation between his character and Katniss, in what the cast and crew felt added an extra layer of emotion to the transaction and served as a fitting tribute, his words were delivered via written missive and read aloud by Haymitch (Woody Harrelson).
Throughout the story, we’re able to witness the maturing and growing awareness of the main characters of the larger world around them. What began with a simple story of survival and only breaking laws to provide for families has culminated with the awareness of the world’s workings taking them in very different directions. For fans of both the novels and movie adaptations (find the first three on Hulu and DTV), Mockingjay Part 2 is a fitting wrap-up to the Hunger Games story, true to the end.
About the Author
Maria is a writer interested in comic books, cycling, and horror films. Her hobbies include cooking, doodling, and finding local shops around the city. She currently lives in Chicago with her two pet turtles, Franklin and Roy. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaRamos1889.