The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

The odds were in our favor: The Hunger Games series comes to the end.

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Books turned movies often include multiple parts, all leading up to the big finale. Twilight and Harry Potter fans have endured this, and now The Hunger Games fans have gone through the same process. With the release of Mockingjay Part Two, the final battles have been fought, the last bombs have gone off, and the curtains have closed on this series.

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2." (Lionsgate)
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2.” (Lionsgate)

A dystopian future where someone is killed in almost every scene is pretty thrilling, right? You may be familiar with The Hunger Games plot: kids kill each other to remind everyone that war is not good, and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) have both a staged and unstaged love story. This love story continues through the movie and ties in with the plot very well, tying in the characters decisions and outcomes.

Much of the beginning features the late Philip Seymour Hoffman playing gamemaker-turned-ally Plutarch Heavensbee. He guides Katniss and her crew through several promotional videos and assists President Coin in leading the rebellion. After the training and Peeta’s endless meltdowns, the sweet boy with the bread turned into a monster because of the capital, the real action made my blood pump faster than after running a mile. This film, despite not have children fighting to the death, does have a large amount of gunshots and explosions. Warning to anyone afraid of jump scares or sudden loud sounds: there are a lot of them.

Often the loud sounds made me hide behind my sweater because I cannot watch surprise attacks without almost having a heart attack. This factor does add to the experience, though. Seeing the black oil like substance trap Katniss’ unit into an apartment like complex made me very anxious, I almost got out of my seat and started running myself. I liked getting to see the action I had read about two years ago on a big screen, it was as if I was a part of it the rebellion against the capital.

When I first read Catching Fire, the second book of the trilogy, I immediately fell in love with Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and his relationship with Annie Cresta (Stef Dawson). There was a point in Mockingjay where I had to set the book down and I wasn’t able to pick it back up for about a week due to my favorite character’s death. I was torn, and as a fangirl at the time, I couldn’t deal with losing the, although non existent, character who made me love the books so much.  After seeing this in person, the waterworks had begun and I might’ve possibly flooded the theater, not really but I was very hurt. As I sat in the theater and watched the scene unravel in front of me, I felt like I had come to a conclusion. I was sad to see him go, but I had gotten to see it happen and actually take it in. Similar to when you go to a funeral, I got closure.

Getting to read the series at a young age made me constantly have my nose stuck in it. Maybe it was because I was a fan, or because it was genuinely intriguing. Mockingjay, both part one and two, as a film did not do this for me. The first movie seemed pretty boring to me, just an endless amount of Katniss doing something she didn’t want to in order to make others happy, something I already knew because that’s all she ever did in the previous books. I understand that making the final book into two parts was to increase revenue and just make the hype even bigger, but it was very unnecessary.

I’m always frustrated when books become movies because they have to be a certain length, therefore many scenes will be taken out and others modified. One which I absolutely did not want to be left out would be the epilogue. Reading it made me feel very happy and upset at the same time. I was happy that they got the outcome they wanted, but sad the journey was over. Having this scene in the movie was a great decision because the audience, including those who didn’t read the books, get to see a real ending. To me it’s almost like a happy ever after, even after all the disasters Panem has been through they were able to build a new life. We see Peeta and Katniss live a life with no fear, something Katniss has said she wanted for her children if she ever had any.

The final installment was most definitely not a letdown for me. I’ve been a fan of the series since 2012 and I always felt like Katniss, as if I were experiencing it all with her. Now, sitting in a movie theater with a big high definition screen projecting the story I fell in love with, I am back in my own little world, I got the excitement back and a good deal of tears.

Keyla Blanco’s perfect moment in time is when she is curled up on her bed, with her favorite food, and a superhero movie playing. Keyla is an indecisive, comic loving, superhero obsessed, fangirl. She wants to create movies that reflect the real world and its people. More diversity, whether that be people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, differently abled people, or any other underrepresented people, in films, is her biggest passion. Keyla grew up with her family and comic books and spends time with them constantly. Movies are her main escape, and they help her see the world. Keyla is shy at first but opens up after some time. Fitting to her personality, Keyla is the Entertainment Editor for the Polaris Press.

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