Hunger Games, The: Mockingjay-Part 2 (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 22-Mar-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Audio Commentary-Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobsen
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Feature Length Making of
Featurette-Cinna's Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor
Featurette-Panem on Display: The Hunger Games – The Exhibition (1.55)
Featurette-The Hunger Games : A Photographic Journey
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 137:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Francis Lawrence
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jennifer Lawrence
Donald Sutherland
Julianne Moore
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Josh Hutcherson
Liam Hemsworth
Natalie Dormer

Case ?
RPI ? Music James Newton Howard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English for the Hearing Impaired Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Hunger Games has ended. After four films and $2.6 billion at the box office the massive young adult franchise has finally drawn its last bow. The fact that The Hunger Games has made its way to the end of its story is no small achievement, as other young adult franchises have bitten the dust after one or two movies. Indeed, the ground is littered with successful young adult book series (Eragon, The Seeker, Lemony Snicket, The Golden Compass) that have begun with high aspirations but not made it to the finish line. Then there is the Divergent series that have experienced fairly desultory critical and box offices response but plough on to their conclusion.

     The Hunger Games franchise has succeeded despite the controversial decision to split the final book into two movies. Fans and critics can debate for hours about the purpose behind stretching the final book into two films. After all, Mockingjay was no bigger than the earlier Hunger Games books. It was not a doorstopper like the final Harry Potter/ Twilight novels. It can't be denied, however, that the effect of splitting the book was to slowly reduce the level of interest in the franchise such that each successive film after Catching Fire earned less than its predecessor.

     The reason for the success of the franchise comes down to a few reasons. In the first place the novels are very well written. For an adult reader there is perhaps a little too much teen angst as Katniss Everdeen vacillates between her two love interests, however the writing is strong and characters engaging. The filmmakers have adapted the books in a direct fashion without changing significant plot points. Finally, the secret for the success of the franchise comes down to the powerful performance of Jennifer Lawrence. She is the rock of all the movies, supported by experienced players like Woody Harrelson and, in the final two movies, Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Donald Sutherland has always been a strong dictatorial presence in the films. Many critics have questioned the strength of Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson but it is fair to say that they reflect the characters in the books.

     When Mockingjay: Part 1 ended Katniss became a reluctant figurehead for the rebellion against the Capitol and evil President Coriolanus Snow. She had strong misgivings about her role, believing that she was not a "people person" designed to inspire the masses. She was also not exactly trusting of the rebel leaders including Julianne Moore’s Alma and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee. The third movie was a somewhat grim affair with the rebels living under the ground in District 13 waiting for their chance to fight back against the oppressors.

     When the second movie starts the rebellion is in full swing. Katniss has accepted her role and the rebellion is about to unite the districts into an attack on the Capitol. There are a couple of problems to content with. Firstly, District 2 manufactures armaments for the Capitol beneath a mountain. Unless the flow of weapons can be halted the potential for success in an attack on the Capitol is diminished and any success would be bought with heavy bloodshed. During the execution of the attack on the armaments base Katniss realises that the rebellion with which she is involved has made itself every bit as brutal as the regime.

     On a more personal level Peter Mellark was rescued from the Capitol after being brainwashed by President Snow. For the rebels it is important that he demonstrates a recovery to form part of the propaganda videos being produced by the rebellion. However, this is a difficult task as his brainwashing runs deep. He and the audience never know from one minute to the next whether he is going to engage in gentle and thoughtful conversation with Katniss or will try to wring her neck.

     When the push on the Capitol begins it is dark and dirty. The great quality of the book and also the film is that essentially it is a war movie without heroics. Civilians are often caught in the crossfire and people die needlessly. Katniss remains as reluctant and distrusting throughout the invasion. The result is grim yet satisfying and a world away from the ethos of many young adult novels. It really questions the morals of war.

     Mockingjay: Part 2 is an excellent conclusion to the series, entirely consistent with the tone of the novel and the series. It suffers from the usual problem of such series - the aggregation of minor characters. Those who dominated the early novels and films such as Effie Trinket are reduced to minor cameos. Of course, the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman caused a rethink which is handled quite well, all things considered.

     To my mind it has been a very successful transition from page to screen. It will be interesting to see how, in 10 years’ time, the series will be looked back upon.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Mockingjay: Part 2 was shot using high-definition digital video on a variety of cameras. It comes to Blu-ray in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the cinema release.

     The film is spectacularly shot however it may not be the best film to demonstrate your new home theatre. Whilst the crispness of various scenes cannot be denied and the flesh tones are accurate, this is shot very much like a war movie and the overall look is dark and gloomy. Many scenes are shot at night or underground. The world of Panem during the invasion of the Capitol is not sunshine and lollipops. It is consistent with the look of District 12 from the first movie.

     In other words, this is a high quality transfer of a well shot movie that, for the most part, maintains a subdued colour palette.

     There are no technical problems with the transfer of the film onto Blu-ray.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The soundtrack is a little more showy.

     The prime soundtrack is a True-HD Dolby Atmos 7.1 mix. Not having the Atmos set up at home makes comment on the full extent of the mix challenging however in downmixed standard 7.1 it is still a stunning affair.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

     The surrounds are utilised throughout for environmental effect.

     The sub-woofer is engaged in the battle scenes. A particular stand out is the final procession through the Capitol with the Mockingjay flanked by drummers. The depth of the bass is quite something.

     There is also an English 2.0 late-night mix and an English 2.0 audio descriptive track.

    Another excellent score conveys the drama and horror of the experience.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The Hunger Games series has always had decent extras on the Blu-ray. This is no exception. There is a wealth of extra material including a two hour long feature on the making of the film.

Audio Commentary – Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson.

     Another detailed commentary from the pair.

Pawns No More: The Making of 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2' (2.21)

     Once again this is a well thought out and comprehensive guide to the making of the film. Stunts, costumes, actors, editors all are interviewed at length about their role in making the film. A must watch for fans of the film.

Cinna's Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor (9.21)

     Bart Mueller and Murray Swanson, costume designers, talk about their role in preparing the Mockingjay outfit through the eyes of Cinna - displayed in his sketchbook. As so often it demonstrates the incredible amount of detail that can go into a prop or costume.

Panem on Display: The Hunger Games – The Exhibition (1.55)

     A short promo for a pretty interesting display of costumes, settings and interactive experiences. It is currently in San Francisco but will no doubt tour the World.

The Hunger Games : A Photographic Journey (10:15)

     An unusual but very interesting featurette about still photographer Murray Close. Not only does he go through his process for shooting promotional shots for the film but also his long history working with Stanley Kubrick, on the original Star Wars series and Harry Potter. Lots of on-set moments. He uses the Leica S.

Deleted Scenes

    Three very brief scenes are on offer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are a variety of combinations of this product available here and in other Regions including special editions.

Summary

     Well it is over. The bow is back in the rack and the Hunger Games are no more.

     Fans of the series will have bought this film on the day of issue, perhaps the 3D version. The Blu-ray is well presented in sound and vision terms and the extras are exhaustive.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayJVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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