Oct/2018

4K UHD Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’!

by Gumbercules9000 on Nov 18th, 2016

Hi everyone, Bryan here…

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THE FILM

Here we are with the final ‘Hunger Games‘ movie again, ‘Mockingjay’ Part II. With splitting the final chapter into two separate films, you’d think there’d be something worth waiting for or at least a big climax. None of that is found here with Part II, despite what anyone else tells you. I understand why the studio wanted to split the final film into two parts, which would garner double the money and profits off of one story, but in order to have a decent story and film, you need it to go somewhere. In this case, anywhere.

You can read my review of ‘Mockingjay Part I’ by CLICKING HERE, which says in so many words that nothing happened, it was slow, boring with barely any action, and was one huge set up for this final film. Don’t get me wrong, the first ‘Hunger Games‘ film and its sequel ‘Catching Fire‘ were great examples of how to tell a story and make a Young Adult action movie. This can’t be said for the ‘Mockingjay‘ films that were again, split into two overly long 2.5 hour movies.

I really did expect things to start off with a bang here, or at least have some suspenseful moments throughout, but alas, no such thing happened with the exception of one scene. Part II picks up right where Part I left off, with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) strapped to a bed, wanting to still kill Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). The final battle basically is Katniss and her team, traveling to President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) mansion in the capitol to kill him and only him, while President Coin (Julianne Moore) would rather have Katniss sit back, relax, and make more promo videos for the troops.

This is where Katniss and her tram “sneak out” to kill President Snow, as they travel through the maze-like city that is filled with giant, deadly traps every few feet. There are three deadly trap scenes, all of which last a few seconds and aren’t really that suspenseful. In between these scenes, we get a heavy does of long, dreary conversations between everyone that is always depressing, sad, without any emotion. Expect a ton of slow monotone dialogue and longing stares here for two hours.

However, there is one scene that takes place in an underground sewer tunnel where the monsters from ‘The Descent‘ appear and attack everyone. This was fairly good and suspenseful, but the editing was too fast and quick to see anything worth while. This leads up to Katniss charging the gates of President Snow’s house only for it to cut to black and fast forward into the future where everything seems honky dory. What? Really? Did they not show the final climax of the film? No, they didn’t. Unbelievable.

Instead, we see Katniss go to a greenhouse where President Snow is dressed in his pajamas and tending to his precious lilies. From here, the movie tries to end itself a total of a dozen times just like ‘Return of the King‘ did a number of years ago, which includes the one and only scene where there is any sort of emotion from any character, which is Jennifer Lawrence yelling at her pet cat. Ugh, that poor cat. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II‘ is a booklet on how NOT to end your movie franchise. It’s poorly made, anti-climactic, and not worth your time.

If you love ‘The Hunger Games‘, stick with the first film and ‘Catching Fire‘ and call it a day.

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THE VIDEO/AUDIO

Lionsgate enters the third game with the 4K UHD release of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2‘, which has a HEVC H.265 encode in HDR10 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This release has a digital download code as well as the standard Blu-ray version, in addition to the 4K disc. There is no 3D option here.  There is definitely an improvement here in detail and color, since both Mockingjay films were shot digitally rather than on film. Detail is still very vivid and sharp in closeups in well lit exteriors. The individual hair strands on Katniss’ hair look incredible in this new 4K upgrade as well as the capital full of people towards the end of the film, with all its imperfections.

The hardcore color grading really does a number on the overall detail of the picture. The HDR looks amazing here though and is the biggest and most noticeable upgrade with this 4K release. The colors are somewhat saturated in certain scenes to give a pale look to everything as if everything is decaying. Other moments are bright and bold throughout with different variations on certain colors on costumes in different lighting conditions. It all looks excellent. Detail also provides strong closeups with wrinkles, makeup effects, beads of sweat, and individual hairs, which show up nicely. Black levels are very deep and inky as well. There are no other compression issues of any sort here, leaving this with a great looking 4K presentation.

This UHD release of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2‘ has an English: Dolby Atmos track, where I used a 7.1.2 Atmos speaker setup with the normal 7.1 surround and two overhead speakers, plus a subwoofer powering this comedy action soundscape. The standard Blu-ray version has a Dolby Atmos track as well. This is an excellent audio presentation and is demo worthy for this type of film. The fully immersive track is outstanding in the heavier action scenes where the children are fighting in the woods.

There is full immersion with the ambient noises here as Katniss and her followers end up in the capital for the final yet short lived battle.  The weapons being fired sound excellent too with some great directionality. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow along with and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and high shrills.The score is always sweeping and adds to the suspense in each scene. The low end packs a great amount of bass without going into rocky territory. The overhead speakers provide some great moments as well in the heavier action scenes. This is a top notch audio presentation.

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THE EXTRAS

Audio Commentary – Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson provide the final commentary track for these films. They discuss some of the technical aspects, character arcs and working with everyone on the set. This is not particularly engaging at all times, but super fans of the films will enjoy it.

Pawns No More: The Making of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ (HD, 142 Mins.) – Here is a set of eight segments that covers the entire production process of the last film, including, casting, visual effects, stunts, characters, and the story. These bonus features were all excellent. 

‘The Hunger Games’ A Photographic Journey (HD, 11 Mins.) – Photographer Murray Close and his images from the set of filming.

Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor (HD, 10 Mins.) – You’ll see how all of the costumes were made and used in the film.

Panem on Display: ‘The Hunger Games’: The Exhibition (HD, 2 Mins.) – This is a promo piece that talks about all of the props, toys, and sets of the film. 

Jet to the Set (HD, 42 Mins.) – An episode from a TV series that focuses on this particular film, where the cast and crew are interviewed and some behind the scenes footage is showed. 

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THE ULTIMATE WORD

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2‘ is finally out in 4K UHD and it looks and sounds great. The film itself isn’t that good. There was almost five hours of set up with zero pay off. It was a huge let-down. I wish I could say better things about the film itself here, but I can’t. Just everything fell extremely flat, was silly, and ended on a poor note.  All of the extras from the previous standard Blu-ray release are imported over here, and are on the 4K Disc, which is AWESOME. Even though I didn’t enjoy the film too much, I know others did, and this release comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of the movie series!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FANS!

-Bryan Kluger

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