I finally managed to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 movie, the last part in a series of four movies made based on books by Suzanne Collins. I missed it when it was available in the cinema due to obligations with research, and then it took a while until I managed to see it on one of the pay-on-demand TV programmes I am subscribed to.
I will not go into details about the movie as it has already been heavily reviewed both by critiques and general public. However, all movies have been praised with critiques emphasising the series has been able to “sustain its cast and credibility” (Debruge, 2015), and that “novelist Collins maintained involvement and input (she received an unusual “adaptation” screenwriting credit on the final two installments) and good writers were hired to do solid carpentry, which they did” (McCarthy, 2015).
What always intrigued me with this series and what made me watch all movies is its portrayal of women, leadership and revolutions.
The movies portrayed a new dystopian society in which women are appointed as leaders and they are as good (or as bad) as men are, which brings a feminist connotation to this storyline. Unlikely for data that shows women face issues when trying to get to leadership positions (Tench & Topic, 2016), in this movie women have no difficulties in obtaining leadership position including even presidential, head of para-military forces as well as the position of a first warrior aka the Mockingjay, portrayed as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
What is also fascinating is a portrayal of the revolution eating its own children and the way shift of power works. In this case, the new leader, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) who successfully led the rebellion against Panem and its notorious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) clearly wants to get rid of Katniss once she helped her unite districts because Katniss clearly does not subordinate and thus presents a threat to the new leadership. This new leadership also shows some version of communism vividly portrayed as people in grey uniforms where nobody stands out and everybody works for the common good. The leader was right. It was Katniss that killed her at the end of the movie when she tried to organise a revenge Hunger games for the evil Capitol.
This way of narrating a story also portrays communism and work for common good as the different side of the same coin, i.e. if people want to break capitalist system they may get a system with more distribution of resources but the distribution of power will remain with those who led the revolution and who will not be keen to organise free elections. This is obviously a typical American portrayal of Communism, albeit this is a truthful one as no communist regime ever had proper free elections. Critiques may argue that democratic elections do not bring much good either (just remember recent Brexit and some anti-LGBT referendums in the EU organised in the past few years), however, this is not the portrayal of the US television that heavily promotes democracy and free elections.
What is also fascinating is this new obsession of the US film and television with futuristic movies, but of a very pessimistic nature. I already commented on this in one of my previous blogs that while in the past futuristic movies were fun and appealing such as Back to the Future movie series we all enjoyed while growing up (and like to re-watch from time to time up to today) (Back to the Future), new movie and TV production seems to be centred on criticism of the Big Brother society and project the vision of the ultimate Orwellian control of societies. However, unlikely for happy endings we are so used to see in Hollywood and the US television, recently this has not been the case. The Mockingjay is a perfect example of a series of movies that do not have a happy ending but a complete chaos, or as critiques called it a dystopian movie with grim conclusion (Debruge, 2015).
In other words, all complains against the Hollywood and its happy endings arguing there is no happy ending or at least not always, became the truth and we can’t expect happy ending anymore. We got what we wanted, but are these grim portrayals just that?
Thank you for reading.
Debruge, P. (2015). Film Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’. Available at: http://variety.com/2015/film/reviews/the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-film-review-1201632920/ (Accessed 19 August 2016)
McCarthy, T. (2015). ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2’: Film Review. Available at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-836933 (Accessed 19 August 2016)
Tench, R., & Topic, M. (07/2016). How Far Have We Got? A Longitudinal Analysis of Views of Public Relations Practitioners on the Position of Women in the PR Industry. Paper presented at the 7th International History of Public Relations Conference (IHPRC), University of Bournemouth, Bournemouth, UK. Available for download at: http://eprints.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/2823/