As I had purposely kept myself at arm’s length from spoilers I knew nothing of Mockingjay part 2, so as I walked into the auditorium excited for another epic conclusion of a fantastic franchise, I was oblivious to the pain and heartache that would await. In true Hunger Games fashion there is no mercy and no more so is this evident than in the second half of the third book; innocence is lost, lovers torn apart and everything we thought we knew about Panem is wrong.
In the year since Mockingjay part 1 I have read countless reviews and features slating the film’s producers for the decision to create two films from one book, but I argue that without the split the storyline would not have honoured the deaths of those characters we have learnt to love so much – we have been given time to grieve their loss and in a world that is ruled by the Capitol, that is a privilege that cannot be overlooked.
There are many reasons why The Hunger Games franchise has been so successful, it’s the classic Hollywood set up many of us have come to know over the years with Star Wars, Harry Potter and most recently Twilight. But The Hunger Games feels different somehow, although it shares many of the same themes as its franchise predecessors; a love triangle, rebellion, presidential tyranny and weird and wonderful beasts, there is one thing that stands out above them all – Katniss Everdeen.
“They’ll either want to kill you, kiss you, or be you.”
A girl who only ever wanted to save her sister is thrust into the rebellion against the Capitol. She is raw and real, at times she is incredibly strong and at others she crumbles under the weight of war. At every turn she faces physical and emotional battles that thankfully many of us will never know. Her heart, we’ve come to know, is too pure for the dystopian world that is forced upon her and as we witness her become the Mockingjay we too stand with Katniss in the fight for freedom.
Mutts, tar, explosives and fire are just some of the obstacles that the Capitol’s game makers have in store for the rebels, but it’s Katniss’ friends and allies that understand she must survive and so sacrifice themselves not in regret, anger or frustration, but in hope for the future of Panem.
On the surface The Hunger Games is a story of a world ruled by terror, but dig a little deeper and you will find the beauty in the human race. That’s the real story here; compassion, friendship, true love, sacrifice and togetherness. And as Katniss says “I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game really. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play.”