The Bock’s Office: Final ‘Hunger Games’ nails it | CraigDailyPress.com

The Bock’s Office: Final ‘Hunger Games’ nails it

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) fights through a variety of booby traps in her assault on the Capitol in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2." The movie is the final entry in the series about a teenage girl leading a resistance against a dystopic society.

In any fantasy or science fiction series, there are bound to be weak portions in the unfolding of a lengthy story. Fortunately, unlike the movie that preceded it, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2" is right on target.

If you go…

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2," rated PG-13

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Running time: 137 minutes

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas and Craig's West Theatre.

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The nation of Panem is officially at war, with rebel forces gaining ground against the corruption of the Capitol and President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland).

The poster child of this uprising, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), has more personal problems on her mind at the moment, though, namely her friend, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), recovering from torture at the hands of their enemies, with the responsibility of being a military icon weighing heavily on her, as well.

The closer they come to infiltrating the Capitol, the more dangerous their effort, as Snow's security is increased with life-threatening traps designed to keep Katniss, her comrades and anyone else from questioning his power.

But, even as they navigate their way through this panoply of perilous situations, the threat from within lingers: that the heroine may not be able to trust all who are at her side or indeed even herself to finish the job that's consumed her life by killing a tyrant and bringing back freedom to the oppressed.

Lawrence remains the sharpest in the bunch of this arsenal of actors, balancing Katniss's confidence in her abilities with an uncertainty about their chances for fulfilling her mission that never fades, knowing the psychological toll has already hurt one of those closest to her.

Hutcherson's Peeta is at his best as her mirror — doubting reality and his place in it, but certain they're doing the right thing. Though, maybe don't give a semiautomatic weapon to a guy who tried and almost accomplished a fatal strangling of the girl he claims to love.

Sutherland has his best go yet as Snow, showing the villain's indifference to suffering even at his own dinner table, convincing his followers everything is for the greater good while still remaining convincingly cagey, yet bluntly honest, with those he respects.

All eyes are on Katniss, as always, but Willow Shields is touching as little sister Primrose, while Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks get their moments as advisers Haymitch Abernathy and Effie Trinket, as do higher-ups Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) — in the last film you'll ever see him — and those playing the bunch of soldiers accompanying Miss Everdeen into the battle zone that seems an awful lot like a certain ceremony that turns fighting to the death into entertainment certain ceremony that turns fighting to the death into entertainment..

certain ceremony that turns fighting to the death into entertainment.

Oh, yes, the revolution will be televised.

The needless decision to split the final book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy into two movies results in an unexpected catharsis. The first half of "Mockingjay"first half of “Mockingjay” introduced a variety of themes that felt underdeveloped, but here those ideas are better thought out and executed, enhancing characters whose motivations and actions ring true even when the talky script overstates the obvious. introduced a variety of themes that felt underdeveloped, but here those ideas are better thought out and executed, enhancing characters whose motivations and actions ring true even when the talky script overstates the obvious.

first half of "Mockingjay" introduced a variety of themes that felt underdeveloped, but here those ideas are better thought out and executed, enhancing characters whose motivations and actions ring true even when the talky script overstates the obvious.

It's unfair, but not hugely inaccurate, to call Collins' work predictable, yet even if you've already gone through those pages, there are still surprises in store, allowing the story arc to finish on a thoughtful note.

That four-tone birdcall has never sounded so sincere.

"The Hunger Games" hit its peak two years agohit its peak two years ago, but “Mockingjay — Part 2” stays at the same level of quality after an initial slip, satisfying readers and viewers. The franchise in its entirety may not be astounding, but that all-important climax and what follows are what makes the weak points worth the watch., but "Mockingjay — Part 2" stays at the same level of quality after an initial slip, satisfying readers and viewers. The franchise in its entirety may not be astounding, but that all-important climax and what follows are what makes the weak points worth the watch.

hit its peak two years ago, but "Mockingjay — Part 2" stays at the same level of quality after an initial slip, satisfying readers and viewers. The franchise in its entirety may not be astounding, but that all-important climax and what follows are what makes the weak points worth the watch.

To anyone readying another young adult series for the screen — and there will no doubt be many more coming — may the odds be ever in your favor trying to recreate this success.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.

If you go…

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” rated PG-13

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Running time: 137 minutes

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas and Craig’s West Theatre.

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