The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 is actually the fourth installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Splitting the last book of a series into two movies can allow for complexity (i.e., Harry Potter), but here it should have been avoided. Part 1 is mostly filler, and even Part 2 has some pacing issues. If you’re new to The Hunger Games, start at the beginning. Of all the teenage dystopian movie series, this one is the best conceived: Underlying the action and drama, it’s a believable look at PTSD and the personal cost of brutal dictatorships. It also has, by far, the best acting.

So what does a believable look at dystopian dictatorship look like? Not realistic. Outdoor scenes in The Capital have a blue-green tint to them, making everything look a bit like The Matrix. The coloring appears to be a deliberate choice, not a problem with my projector. Indoor scenes continue the blue-green cast, except at Snow’s palace, where everything has a hint of red.

Dolby Atmos was used sparingly on the Part 1 Blu-ray—amidst two hours of political posturing, there was a flyover and an explosion!—but Part 2 is packed with action and atmosphere from beginning to end. Even before the opening titles, there is good use of overhead audio to intensify a character’s psychotic episode. Once our heroes are in The Capital, bullet sounds whiz from front to back, and explosions have extra oomph. Directional sound in the tunnels first signals danger to the audience, and then to the characters on screen. Dynamic range is immense: Silence and swelling choir voices are used as effectively as flyovers and explosions. But when those arrows fly, they fly right over your shoulder. Mockingjay—Part 2 is an excellent Atmos demo disc.

The box cover promises, “Five Hours of Extras!” and it certainly delivers on the time. There are plenty of talking-head segments, but there are some gems, too, particularly around stunts, VFX, and art direction. For example, the Capital layout was based on the plans for Germania—the city Hitler would have built if Germany had won WWII. The sewer scenes were shot on huge, practical sets. Some outdoor sets in Atlanta used shipping containers like Legos to drape enormous green screens, while other scenes were filmed at Parisian buildings, French project housing that looks strangely like a movie set, and a German WWII-era airport. This was the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last movie, but he goes unmentioned here; a tribute to him is included in Mockingjay—Part 1’s special features.

Studio: Lionsgate, 2015
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos/ True HD 7.1 core
Length: 137 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth