Last fall, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 began what promises to be a devastating denouement to the film series. Yet, it mainly focused on the story's political nuances and left audiences with a bit of cabin fever since much of the film took place within the claustrophobic confines of a bunker. However, director Francis Lawrence promises that the upcoming second chapter will be quite different, classifying it as a war movie.
Sitting down for an interview with MTV News, Lawrence, the director of both films, dished a bit on the drastic differences in tone and focus between Mockingjay – Part 1 and this year’s Mockingjay – Part 2. Revealing that shooting for the film is all but finished, save for one scene, he candidly discussed what the second part of the franchise finale brings to the table. According to Lawrence:
It’s thematically very different. [’Mockingjay – Part 1′] was about the manipulation of media and propaganda, and this one is a real war movie. Very quickly, we’re getting out from the confines of District 13 and back out into the rest of Panem, including the Capitol. It’s a very different kind of landscape.
While it’s hardly surprising that the second film proves to be a cauldron of conflagration, Lawrence’s description of the film as "a real war movie" might not be as vague as you may think. Being the definitive conclusion of the entire franchise, Mockingjay – Part 2 obviously kicks things into high gear. However, war movies tend to be linear and finely focused on their objectives, with little room for thematic deviations. Mockingjay – Part 2 similarly sounds as if it’s leaving most of the talking and melancholy musical numbers about "Hanging Trees" behind, making an uninterrupted sprint to the finish line. In fact, Lawrence is extremely satisfied with how it all plays out. As he states:
I have to say, the end, there’s something great about this; that there’s real closure. We’re not ending with the promise of another movie, this is the final one. You feel it, and there’s something satisfying about that. I think it’s really emotional and moving.
Part 1 spends the majority of the film focusing on the personal conflict of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who finds her status as a public symbol disingenuous as she is used as a prop by the Rebellion. Her reservations increase to the point where she begins questioning their motives. Likewise, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), after an extended period of capture, also used as a public propaganda tool by The Capital, has been brainwashed and tries to kill Katniss upon his rescue in what became a cliffhanger moment between the two parts. Yet, the parallel between the manipulated paths of Katniss and her faux-beau becomes the unifying theme of that film, laying the rhetorical foundation for what clearly will be a colossal conflict ahead.
With the pathos firmly established in the first part, the crux of author Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay novel will be covered and the final battle will be at hand. The disproportionate amount of pondering by Katniss in the finale’s first part should prove fruitful when the time comes for her to navigate the colliding political forces looking to shape the course of Pannem, represented on one side by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and on the other by President Coin (Julianne Moore.) This is one "war movie" that won’t likely leave us with clear answers, but should be entertaining as hell when it hits on November 20, 2015.