The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is out in theaters, at long last bringing the series to a close. If you have teens in your household, you’re probably not going to be able to avoid seeing this movie, but below we let you know what you should expect.
1. What’s it about?
Honestly, if you need to have this question answered this movie probably isn’t for you. It’s the film adaptation of the last half of the last book of the Hunger Games series: the one that has basically nothing at all to do with the Games anymore and instead is just about the battle between Peeta and Gale to see who will end up with Katniss. Also, the war.
2. How close does the movie stick to the book?
I’ll admit that it’s been several years since I read the book (I read all three back before the first movie came out), so I didn’t have all of the details fresh in my mind when I saw it. I can say that all of the major plot points that I did remember were in the movie. After seeing it, I read the synopsis on Wikipedia, and it looks like they stuck very, very close to the book. It certainly helps that Suzanne Collins was directly involved in the adaptation, but it helps even more that they made a movie that’s over 2 hours long out of only half of a 400 page book.
3. How does the movie stack up to the others in the series?
I feel that the quality of the movie series has pretty much stuck to the quality of the books: the first was the best, the second weaker but still OK, and the third the weakest of them all. I’d rank this alongside Part I, since they really are one very long movie.
4. Do I need to have seen the last one?
Most definitely yes. In fact. it might be worth re-watching at least Part I again before going to the theaters. The opening scene of this movie occurs very soon after the closing scene of the last one, and then it goes on directly from there. I haven’t seen Part I since it was in theaters, and even after a year there were a few references I think I might have missed.
5. What’s it rated? Why?
The MPAA gave the film a rating of PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material”. It’s basically wall-to-wall fighting and death. The “thematic material”, I think, refers to the issues of torture and terrorism that are central to the plot. There’s also one sequence with some pretty scary monsters. Younger kids aren’t likely to pick up on the massive PTSD that pretty much every character is suffering from, but older ones might. There’s no offensive language at all. I’m not sure there was even so much as a “damn”‘ or “hell”.
6. How is the violence handled? Is there gore?
Lots and lots of people die in various ways, but the first movie in the series had a lot more direct violence. Most of the casualties here are either faceless soldiers getting shot or people caught in explosions. There’s no gore, although a few characters are shown with bloody hands or faces. Quite a few central characters meet their untimely end, but you probably knew that already.
7. Will I enjoy it? Will the kids?
Fans of the Hunger Games will probably like this. If you’ve enjoyed the other movies, you probably won’t hate yourself for giving up over 2 hours of your day for this. There’s really no reason for someone who isn’t a fan of the series to see this movie, and Jennifer Lawrence fans who aren’t particularly fond of the series can just wait until Joy comes out in a few weeks to get their fix.
The kids, as long as they’re old enough to not be terribly bothered by the themes or violence, will likely enjoy it. I wouldn’t take very young kids, but the group of teenage girls in the row behind me seemed to love it. (For what it’s worth, they were all pretty solidly Team Peeta.)
8. How long is it? When’s a good time for a bathroom break?
The movie is 2 hours and 16 minutes long, but the last 10 of those are credits. There are a few scenes roughly half way through, while the heroes make their way through the capital, that you can probably miss without losing too much plot.
9. Is there anything after the credits?
Nope. It felt like there were about a dozen endings, but the movie wraps up the story, so there’s really nothing to put after the credits.
10. Is it worth seeing in IMAX?
I saw it on a normal screen and it was just fine. There were one or two big panoramas that might have been impressive on IMAX, but the movie spends most of its time in pretty tight close-ups with the characters, so unless you have a particular need to see a 60-foot-tall Jennifer Lawrence or Liam Hemsworth (or, for that matter, Woody Harrelson), you can probably save the extra cash and just see it at your local multiplex.