Splitting saga in two makes a mockery of this great tale

MoviesBy Esther McCarthy
Splitting saga in two makes a mockery of this great tale

THE HUNGER GAMES is a classic example of how Hollywood commerce can smother even the most promising of movie series.

When the first film was released just three years ago, it felt like a game-changer in the world of movie franchises.

Here was a well-made film with a great central character that threw up some inventive ideas and genuine surprises. 

Audiences were thrilled – but so, unfortunately, were the bean counters, who saw the massive box-office figures and decided that splitting the third novel into two (over-long) movies could make a mint at the movies. 

The result is a disappointment, a series that promised so much limps to its conclusion in this meandering, uncertain finale. 

At least there are some lively performances and a smattering of decent set-pieces to alleviate proceedings. 

Taking off where Part 1 ended   – i.e. what should have been halfway through the film – we finally get to witness the long-awaited showdown between the insurgent, rebellious Katniss Evergreen (Lawrence) and her arch-nemesis President Snow (Sutherland). 

He’s the dictator who has ensured a fractured dystopian society by encouraging its young people to fight each other to the death, but there’s a sense that his reign is drawing to an end. 

That’s because Katniss and her swelling army of rebels are planning to take on the regime with the help of the rebel leader Coin (Julianne Moore), who is keen to use Katniss as a figurehead for the revolutionary movement. 

There are other problems in her life. Katniss remains uncertain if she can connect with her first love Peeta (Hutcherton) who is struggling to recover from being brainwashed and tortured by forces at Snow’s Capitol. 

Joining them in their efforts are new love Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and a band of like-minded warriors. 

There’s a super middle segment where the young rebels take on a series of traps and lethal pitfalls set out by their corrupt leaders as they attempt to storm The Capitol.

Entertaining as they are, they’re not enough. 

The film struggles with pace (it’s a good half hour too long) and wobbles towards its underwhelming and rather obvious conclusion. 

It’s an adequate finale, but fans of the novels, and movie lovers generally, deserve better. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (12A) 2/5 STARS