And so the Hunger Games trilogy/quadrilogy (depending on how you count it) comes to a close. I must admit that I was nervous about this movie. But it came off extremely well. The writing and directing were much more solid in Part 2, pulling everything together into a more coherent whole. And, of course, you can't look past the acting. Everyone continued to be fantastic, but Josh Hutcherson showed that he is really maturing past his "child actor" roots, and Julianne Moore was the perfect politician (the scene with her proposal to the Victors near the end gave me chills).
As I mentioned, I had a great deal of trepidation going into this movie. I did not like the ending in the book. A huge part of Mockingjay revolved around Katniss' deteriorating mental state, and Part I already failed to properly capture that. I also felt that Part I failed to set up the conflict with President Coin properly, which was critical to pulling off the climax.
The movie managed to overcome all my fears. While I'm still not happy with the ending (no spoilers!), some subtle changes improved it significantly. By externalizing a huge amount of Katniss' internal conflict onto the much more obvious symptoms of Peeta, it made the conflicts more plain and immediate. And, wow, they nailed President Coin.
I could go into a lengthy analysis of what I did and did not like about the movie, particularly as compared to the book. But that would mostly just lead to arguments for some, boredom for most, and a wall of text that few would wade through. Let me just hit a few high points:
- I'm not sure what exactly it was, but the scene at the mines lost a lot of the emotional punch for me. Particularly with regards to the changes the war had wrought in Gale.
- Similarly, the triangle started getting very lopsided. It was pretty clear halfway through the movie what Katniss' choice was going to be. The tension in the book was maintained far better.
- The action of the fight through the Capitol was a slog of random encounters in the book. It was a tense series of events in the movies that was almost a montage. I much preferred the movie here.
- I far preferred the death of Snow in the movie. I just felt that the staging was better, and it had a better impact.
- There is apparently some dramatic wailing and gnashing of teeth among fans over the epilogue. Personally, I preferred it. I like the message that people can heal, even if some scars never fade.