We liked this movie. Real or Not Real? (Book Club at the Movies: Mockingjay Part 2)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Paper Bindings | We liked this movie. Real or Not Real? (Book Club at the Movies: Mockingjay Part 2)

It’s the end of a (somewhat short) era. The Hunger Games series comes to an end with Mockingjay Part 2. Did you like it? Hate it? Read below to see what we at Paper Bindings  thought about it.

Spoilers Below the cut

We enjoyed Mockingjay Part II. Real or not real?

Real.

For comparison, check out our review of part 1

Stephanie: Book 4 stars, Film 4 stars
Tisha: Book 4 stars, Film 4.5 stars
Tracy: Book 5 stars, Film 4 stars


Book vs. Film

Stephanie: As I mentioned in the previous review, I wasn’t exactly in love with the final book in this series. I thought it was well written but pretty depressing, and that the ending was only bittersweet, as opposed to happy (and I am a sucker for a happy ending). It left me feeling kind of down to be honest. The movie though? It had the happy ending I wanted, and without actually changing the ending. Something I credit to the way they filmed the final scene and Jennifer Lawrence’s acting of it. They did change some things though, mostly for the better. The whole story was overall less depressing and I appreciate that. Finnick got a much more appropriate send off. He didn’t die without fanfare, but rather as a contributing hero. And again, they did it without really changing the scene from the book (just prolonging it). The movie did however cut out one of my favorite conversations from the book:

“‘Look, Coin may have sent him there hoping he’d kill you, but Peeta doesn’t know that. He doesn’t understand what’s happened to him. So you can’t blame him---’

‘I don’t!’, I say.

‘You do! You’re punishing him over and over for things that are out of his control. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a fully loaded weapon next to you round the clock. But I think it’s time you flipped this little scenario around in your head. If you’d been taken by the Capitol, and hijacked, and then tried to kill Peeta, is this the way he would be treating you?’, demands Haymitch.

I fall silent. It isn’t. It isn’t how he would be treating me at all. He would be trying to get me back at any cost. Not shutting me out, abandoning me, greeting me with hostility at every turn.

‘You and me, we made a deal to try and save him. Remember?’, Haymitch says. When I don’t respond, he disconnects after a curt, ‘Try and remember.’”

Two parts of the three part Victors Family

It’s not surprising they cut it, because the things the movie did leave out had to do with Haymitch, Johanna, and Peeta. The movies are the Katniss show, and this scene makes Peeta the strong/important one. Still, the movie did illustrate Katniss’ struggle to deal with Peeta and this would have shown the character growth even better than what they ended up doing. I think the scene would have easily fit into the film (not to mention given Harrelson a little more to do), so I don’t know why they felt the need to leave it out. But other than the lack of supporting character (especially Peeta!) appreciation, I think the changes worked.


Tisha: Mockingjay is definitely my least favorite of the three books in the Hunger Games series, especially the section they focused on in Mockingjay Part 1. I have tried to reread the books before each film came out, this time, I ran out of time and was only able to reread the second half of Mockingjay that I knew that Mockingjay Part 2 would focus on. As a result, not only did I appreciate the book better, but it changed my perspective on the film. The first time I saw it, I was too focused on what the film changed - cutting out Delly for example - and what was happening next. And the whole thing left me feeling depressed and sad. The second time I saw the film, I was able to respect and enjoy the film. All in all, Mockingjay Part 2, and the film series as a whole is a pretty good adaption. Everything that was changed was changed for a reason. While seeing Peeta’s cake (seeing more of Finnick’s wedding in general) or Joanna and Katniss becoming friends would have been nice to see, it would have slowed the pace.


Tracy: I don’t have much to add, Stephanie and Tisha nicely summed it up. I will say that out of the three books, besides the Hunger Games, Mockingjay is my favorite. I thought Catching Fire backtracked too much and was a repeat of a lot from the first book. I’m a sucker for depressing stuff and Mockingjay certainly fills my depressing tale quota. I actually liked the epilogues of both Deathly Hallows and Mockingjay. It makes sense to me, I don't think Peeta forced her to have kids, I think deep down she wanted them all along but wouldn't let herself want them because they could be sent to the games. Her having them at the end is proof that she's generally ok, that the world is all right enough that she feels safe enough to bring children into it. I thought that having the kids there at the end was an awesome way to show but not tell the reader that Katniss and Peeta are okay. Moviewise, I really liked Part 2. At first like Stephanie said, I was a little disappointed that my favorite characters : Peeta, Haymitch and Joanna don’t get a whole lot to do. For a good chunk of the movie Woody Harrelson just stands there playing with his hair. The cake scene is gone, the part Stephanie mentioned about Peeta, and Joanna’s whole subplot with training with Katniss is gone. In hindsight it makes sense, the movies have to focus on Katniss or else it would be confusing and a million hours long. Still though. Peeta. Sigh. I’m almost over it.


Acting

Stephanie: The acting continued to be wonderful all around. Everyone did a superb job, particularly Jennifer Lawrence. I will say that Hutcherson did fall flat when delivering one of the book’s iconic lines: You love me? Real or not Real? I felt like he was an actor delivering a line and not Peeta asking Katniss. And his facial expressions seemed off, like he wasn’t feeling it. I don't know, it was one of the most affecting scenes in the book, but it was just lacking on film despite Lawrence selling her share of the scene. That said, he was great in all of his crazy hijacked Peeta scenes. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks excelled as Haymitch and Effie respectively. And Sam Clafin did a great job bringing life to poor doomed Finnick.


Standing Ovations

Tisha: Acting in Mockingjay is still amazing. From Josh Hutcherson’s facial expressions as Peeta tries to gain control of his actions, to Lawrence’s heartbreaking scene back in the Seam with Prim’s cat to Banks’ terrific last few minutes as Effie there wasn’t any actor who was not at the top of his or her game. One would think that with a epic blockbuster as The Hunger Games, some actors might not take it as seriously - happily that is not the case here.

Tracy: The acting, as always is awesome. Let’s talk about Josh Hutcherson for a minute because he’s getting a little beat up by critics. I’ll admit, he wasn’t initially my idea of Peeta. He’s tiny. He doesn’t exactly have classic Hollywood looks. I also think he and Jennifer Lawrence had absolutely no chemistry in the first Hunger Games. But Catching Fire onward? Dude won me over. I’m a pretty big fan of his now - go see Escobar: Paradise Lost or his short film with Hunger Games co-star Jena Malone here, I’ll wait. I agree with the others that he did a kick ass job with the Peeta-is-nuts scenes. I will disagree though with Stephanie about the “Real or not real” scene. I think his face nicely showed that he was about the have an episode, but then he calmed when she told him he really loved him. Very lovely bit between the two. Okay, tl:dr version? I love Peeta.


Moving on… the rest of the actors are great, Lawrence is fantastic as usual and is an amazing center to the story. The others are, as Tisha and Stephanie said, awesome.

Overall

Stephanie: I liked it. It was a fitting ending to a good series of movies. It wasn’t the best of the set, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. My main criticism is that some of the scenes seemed like they might require knowledge of the book, or at least recent viewing of the previous movie, to truly enjoy. I also really want to watch part one and part two back to back…


Tisha: I really liked the film. While Mockingjay has always lacked the momentum of the first two, the consequences and sacrifices of war is all apparent here - how easy it becomes for something like the Hunger Games to occur.


Tracy: It’s not my favorite in the series. I think that belongs to Catching Fire but it’s a very fine adaptation of the series and not a bad film to go out.


May the odds be ever in your favor.
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Stephanie

Stephanie is a tutor who loves helping people improve and excel. She loves a good story, so is obsessed with books, films, TV, and comics. A regular geek with a heart of gold ;)

5 comments:

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  2. Oh Obi, I forgot to mention, for that scene you mentioned (I love it too) I think they may have been trying to downplay the romance. I think they thought it might be jarring to be all "let's focus on a love triangle while the world is ending."

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    1. Hmmm... interesting thought. I never considered that scene as having anything to do with the love triangle. I thought it was more Katniss recognizing that she was avoiding dealing with the consequences of the previous books and knocking her out of the fugue state she's been in. You know, refinding what she's fighting for.

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    2. Good point though, if it did read that way it would seem out of place.

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    3. That's a good point too, I can see it being read that way.

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