Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review

Mockingjay Part 2 Moview Review from @HGLessons

The final movie in the series, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2" was a satisfying, albeit bittersweet, ending.

For those of you who have not read the books and do not want spoilers, I will give you this: we get much more Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth work so well together and do a spectacular job portraying the characters from author Suzanne Collins' trilogy. 

We see very little Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and even less Effie (Elizabeth Banks); their absence is felt with the lack of humorous exchanges and lightheartedness. This is a dark, serious film without the one-liners the the previous three films had. Which is appropriate: the final book in the series is a solemn, pensive resolution to the war-torn Panem. The fact that many of the serious lines spoken by Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) were either delivered via a "letter" or cut adds to the somberness.
But make no mistake: this is the mood that is appropriate for the conclusion. Any attempt to lighten it would have been a slap in the face to the series. 

I highly recommend seeing it; but even more, I beg you to read the books first. So much is glossed over and left out, leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks from the novel. I think those who have not read the book will be left with some unanswered questions, many of which are answered in the book.

OK, time to move on to the specific scenes I felt were important. This means there are SPOILERS ahead!

Mockingjay Part 2: Top Scenes, Favorite Moments (Contains Spoilers!)


My favorite moments from the movie include:

Beetee ©Lions Gate Entertainment
1. Beetee and Gale discussing bombing methods (including studying the hummingbird's flight patterns--thank you for including that detail!): This was a subtle moment and if you weren't listening you may not have caught it, but it was definitely essential to include in order for the resolution to play out like it does in the novel. By the way, was it just me, or was Liam Hemsworth wearing eyeliner? I swear Gale had more eye makeup than Katniss. It looked out of character.

Commander Paylor ©Lions Gate Entertainment
2. Commander Paylor as a strong leader: I was surprised how Paylor (Patina Miller) was portrayed in Part 1. Why make her look like a peasant? She is a strong woman in the book and knowing she would become the leader of the country in the end, I was disappointed that Francis Lawrence didn't portray her character that way. So I was extremely glad to see her more polished and confident in Part 2. 

3. Katniss getting shot in the subway tunnel to the Nut in District 2: Though it's not as emotionally charged as in the book (when we get all the reminders of her father), it's an intense moment and played out well on screen.

Primrose ©Lions Gate Entertainment
4. Finnick and Annie's wedding: Again, so much was cut, but viewers get to enjoy a poignant moment between Prim and Katniss, a funny exchange between Katniss and Johanna, and a tender kiss between Finnick and Annie.

Peeta ©Lions Gate Entertainment
5. Peeta joining the Star Squad and Katniss telling him his favorite color, among other things: This scene brought tears to my eyes. Even though I know Katniss flees in this part in the novel, this is one moment that she could have broken character and just paused a little longer before fleeing to Gale's side. It was awkward when she plopped down next to Gale after that. But, I remember wanting to slap her at that part in the book, so I guess director Francis Lawrence was successful in capturing the emotions of that scene.

Katniss and Boggs ©Lions Gate Entertainment
The Holo ©Lions Gate Entertainment
6. Seeing what the "holo" looks like and how it works, finally: I had a hard time picturing the holo and the Capitol pods in the book, so I appreciated Boggs (Mahershala Ali) showing us. I also appreciated the pods correlating with those in the book. While many were left out, the important ones remained.

Terrifying Lizard Mutts ©Lions Gate Entertainment
7. The tunnels and lizard mutts: Though I hated, hated, hated seeing Finnick defeated, this sequence was intense and well done. I missed Peeta delivering the line about how valuable Pollux (Elden Henson) was, but it was an emotionally-charged moment with Castor (Wes Chatham), nonetheless. And those mutts...oh my gosh. Terrifying. Seriously horrifying.

Tigris ©Lions Gate Entertainment
8. Tigris' den: Her basement was how I imagined and I'm glad Gale and Peeta had the conversation about Katniss, though I don't think it had the same impact that scene delivered in the novel.

The girl in the lemon yellow coat ©Lions Gate Entertainment
9. The girl in the lemon yellow coat: Again, thank you Francis Lawrence for including these little details that mean a lot to the fans of the book. While movie-goers may not notice the symbolism, book-enthusiasts know anything yellow and child-like represents Primrose, also a yellow flower. (Just like Rue.) When the rebels gun her parents down, and then her, we realize that the rebels are just as ruthless as the Capitol Peacekeepers. The sense of foreboding is apparent; we know another innocent life is about to be taken.

Parachutes ©Lions Gate Entertainment
10. The "Capitol" parachutes, which are, of course, the rebels: While the book portrays the children as a shield to protect Snow, the movie shows a kinder side of him, telling the audience that the children should be saved first. I think it was smart to go that route. The movie also speeds up this moment like the book did; we barely have time to register what has happened when all of a sudden, there's Prim, then Boom. All is black. I wish the movie showed Katniss questioning why Prim was sent in as a medic, which would be another clue that Coin is evil. People who haven't read the book must rely solely on President Snow's words in the rose garden.

Katniss ©Lions Gate Entertainment
11. Katniss killing Coin: Yes, just as satisfying in the movie as it is in the book.

12. Crazy Cat: This is where the tears started rolling down my face. Just like in the book, Katniss's depression is all-consuming and it's not until she grieves with the stupid cat that both she and the reader (or, in this case, the viewer) begins to sob, as well. Is this moment as touching for those who haven't read the book? Probably not. 

13. The kids: Seeing Peeta and Katniss with their children, and Katniss delivering the acts of goodness (though I think she used kindness in the movie) routine and the "there are worse Games to play" line was definitely a satisfying end. That baby, though. She was cute, but not so sure about the casting of her. I know it's picky that I should be critical of a baby, but the girl was born first in the book. And they are both playing in the meadow at the end. It's fine to have a baby in this moment, but all I could think was that she didn't look like either one of them. 


What was that kiss between Haymitch and Effie!!?? Was definitely more than just a playful tease on Haymitch's part. The entire theater reacted in some way, either with a gasp of shock, a laugh, or an encouraging hoot. I was one of the gasps. My husband was one of the "bow-chicka-wow-wow" hoots.


Last year I wrote that there were 13 essential scenes from the book left (after MJ Part 1), and predicted whether they would make it into the second part or not. I'm surprised that many of my predictions were actually right or close. Here's an abridged version of what I wrote, with my comments reflecting on how it was portrayed:

1. Gale and Beetee's death traps: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2* 
Yep, made it in.

2. Delly helping Peeta remember scenes: *PROBABLY WON'T MAKE THE CUT*
Yep, didn't make the cut. I thought it was appropriate that Prim filled that spot.

3. Finnick and Annie's Wedding: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2*
Yep, made it in, although it was such a brief scene.

4. Katniss and Johanna rooming and training together: *PROBABLY A MODIFIED VERSION*  Well, the modified version was basically Johanna stealing Katniss's morphine and talking at the wedding. I really wanted MORE Johanna, didn't you?

5. Star Squad 451 going to the Capitol: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2*
Yes, made it in, but the sequence was a little out of order and condensed. Peeta enters when both Leegs are still alive. But I thought it worked well for the movie.

6. Hiding at Tigris's: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2*
Again, a condensed version, but glad this part was included.

7. President Snow's wall of children protection: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2*  I do like how the children weren't necessarily a wall of protection, but were genuinely there to make sure the children first were safe.

8. Katniss' physical and mental trauma from the bombing: *PROBABLY A MODIFIED VERSION*  The deep depression was omitted and I really don't think the full-circle of how Katniss becomes her mother from Book 1 translates at all in the movie. This was a theme that just didn't translate as well as it could have. Maybe because it is subtle in the book (I usually have to prompt my students to realize she as become her mother), they felt it wouldn't translate to the screen.

9. Finding Snow in the rose garden: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2*
It had to be in there, right!?

10. The decision on whether or not to continue the Games with Capitol children: *PROBABLY WON'T MAKE THE CUT*  I was way off on this one. But I don't think this scene made much sense in the movie. I think they tried when all the victors (except Katniss) were in an uproar when the idea was brought up, then half voted for it. Katniss was the one whose mind was reeling that Coin would even suggest there be another Games. In this scene, she was silent and voted yes like she actually wanted another Games. It was so wrong in every single way. I wish they would have cut this part, because it showed us that Katniss didn't learn a single thing through her experience. People who have never read the book must be wondering what in the world is wrong with her? Did she learn NOTHING from her experience? Francis Lawrence, you really dropped the ball on that scene.

11. Katniss killing Coin instead of Snow: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2*
This was an easy one.

12. Katniss being imprisoned in the Training Center for months while her trial takes place: *PROBABLY A MODIFIED VERSION*
Definitely cut short. And not having Plutarch escort Katniss home was so sad. Haymitch reading the letter just made it even worse. I think instead of the letter, they should have just reworked the lines for Haymitch. Plutarch was almost nonexistent in the movie anyway, so why not let Haymitch have his own lines? I don't think fans of the book would have cared. It was awkward hearing that letter.

13. Returning to District 12: Katniss becoming her mother: *MUST BE IN MOCKINGJAY PART 2* I'm glad they showed the Crazy Cat and Peeta coming back to plant the Primrose. And, of course, the kids. The depression wasn't really played up since Peeta came back sooner than in the book. Also, the scrap book was pretty much omitted and just a letter from Annie and a picture took its place. But, overall, I was satisfied with this resolution.

Classroom Connections: Have students write their own resolutions for unresolved characters

Here's a Classroom Connections activity: Have your students write their own resolutions for unresolved characters. For example, what happens to characters like Ceasar Flickerman, Tigris, Effie, and other Capitol citizens? What does Johanna do? Enobaria? Beetee? What kind of a president is Commander Paylor? Does Katniss's mother ever come back to see her grandchildren?

Students can speculate in a class discussion and/or write their own resolutions. 

For additional activities, see my pack for comparing the novel to the movie: Mockingjay Novel vs. Movie Activities It is completely aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Mockingjay Novel vs. Movie Activities https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mockingjay-Book-vs-Movie-Activities-Common-Core-1548667

Hunger Games Lessons: Classroom Connections


Mockingjay Part 2: I'm Ready; Are You?

Use in case of feels Kleenex for Mockingjay Part 2 from www.hungergameslessons.com
Use in case of feels: Mockingjay Part 2

Are you ready for the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2? On the eve of the movie release, I thought I would prepare myself by stocking up on some purse-size Kleenex tissues. So I may be ready in that regard, but, emotionally? I think I'll be a wreck. How about you?

Make sure to stop back this weekend to read my review of the movie. And if you haven't entered for my giveaway for teachers, make sure you do. Enter HERE (or by clicking on the image below) to win lost of great teaching resources.

Enter the Mockingjay Part 2 Giveaway at www.HungerGamesLessons.com


Mockingjay Part 2 Giveaway for Teachers

Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Release Giveaway for Teachers

Can you believe the final movie in The Hunger Games trilogy is released this week? These past five years have been unbelievable and I am so grateful for having the opportunity to share my passion for the books (and movies) with so many people. Thank you all for being such loyal followers, especially since I have slacked off quite a bit these past two years.


To thank you, I am giving away these GREAT Hunger Games teaching materials. You can enter below using the Rafflecopter form. Gain more entries by following me on social media: 

And if you already own them and are chosen as a winner, I will let you choose something else from my store at equal or lesser value.



The Hunger Games Trilogy Bundle

Three lucky winners will receive a flash drive with ALL of my 
Hunger Games Trilogy teaching resources!


Three Movie vs. Novel Packs (One of each)

The Hunger Games Novel vs. the Movie Teaching PackCatching Fire Novel vs. the Movie Teaching PackMockingjay Novel vs. the Movie Teaching Pack

Three Hunger Games Trilogy Teaching Units (One of each)

The Hunger Games Teaching Unit (Digital Download) Catching Fire Novel Teaching Unit Mockingjay Novel Teaching Unit

The Hunger Games Add-On Bundle of Resources

The Hunger Games Teaching Unit Add-On Bundle

* Enter to win these great prizes today! *

You can also visit every single day to gain more entries. The giveaway ends at midnight Nov. 26th, so don't forget to stop back Nov. 27th to see if you won.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Winners are:
Flash drives: Tyna, Kristin, Lisa
Teaching Units: Caley, Roisin, Ashley
Movie Packs: Kristina, Donna, and Heidi
Add-On Bundle: Dasha
Congrats & check your email for my message & instructions.


An Ode to Suzanne Collins, Author of The Hunger Games Trilogy

Panem Propaganda: An Ode to Suzanne Collins

As the release for the final movie in The Hunger Games trilogy draws closer, my friends at Panem Propaganda have been counting down to Nov. 20th with their 100 Days of Mockingjay celebration for fans. This past week featured tributes to the novels and the author, Suzanne Collins.

To read my tribute to Suzanne Collins in my guest post, click here:

Thank You for the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Comment below on how the books may have inspired you, your students, your passion for teaching, or anything. What drew you in to the series? What do you like best about Collins' writing style?

Let's take a moment to thank the woman who created it all.

See Panem Propaganda for additional odes to the series and franchise, as well as opportunities to win awesome prize packages each week!


The Hunger Games Trilogy Novel Units Bundle

The Hunger Games Trilogy Novel Units Bundle https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Teaching-Units-Bundle-1840130

For teachers who are looking to buy all three Hunger Games novel units (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) at a discounted price, look no further. I have bundled all three together into a DIGITAL download.

Because this kicks off Teacher Appreciation Week, you can save an additional 30% when you purchase it on Tuesday or Wednesday by using the code THANKYOU at check out.

Each unit includes the same resources included in the digital downloads.

The Hunger Games Novel Unit

The Hunger Games Novel Unit:

The Hunger Games Discussion Questions and Answers (In the Student Survival Pack)

The Hunger Games Novel Setting, Symbolism, and Map of Panem, Theme (Map of Panem activity)

The Hunger Games Q and A Chap. 1-27 + Arena Activity, Chap. Summaries PDF (Includes chapter check quizzes and a "Map of the Arena" activity)

The Hunger Games Chapters 1-27 Q and A, Arena Activity, Chap. Summaries Word Doc(Includes chapter check quizzes and a "Map of the Arena" activity)

The Hunger Games Student Survival Pack with Teacher's Guide

"Hunger Games" Projects: 40+ Culminating Research and Creative Ideas

The Hunger Games Final Review Powerpoint-Round 1

The Hunger Games Final Review Powerpoint-Rounds 2 and 3

The Hunger Games Final Exam with Vocab-Word Doc

The Hunger Games Final Exam with Vocab Final Test-PDF

The Hunger Games Test Novel Part One Test with Key Word .doc

The Hunger Games Novel Part One Test with Key PDF

The Hunger Games Part 2 Test: Review Activity and Essay Test (Includes Word .doc version)

Introduction Quiz for The Hunger Games (Chapters 1-3)(Includes Word .doc version)

Food Symbolism in The Hunger Games-In Depth Lesson

"Hunger Games" Quotes: Activities and Trivia Game

Hunger Games eBay Listing Creative Assignment

Additional Symbolism in The Hunger Games

Hunger Games and Catching Fire Character Olympics Lesson Activity

The Hunger Games Trilogy Poetry and Creative Writing Activities (Common Core Aligned)

The Hunger Games Introduction Meet the Author Video Guide

The Hunger Games Vocabulary 27 Chapters + Puzzles

The Hunger Games Character Graphic Organizer

The Hunger Games Facebook Profile Status Updates Character Sketch Summary

Hunger Games Novel Puzzles, Mazes, Word Search

"Hunger Games" Figurative Language Lesson Activity Worksheet

The Hunger Games Class Reaping Mock Training Sessions Role Play Activity

"Hunger Games" Trilogy Meaning of Panem Lesson

Catching Fire Novel Unit

Catching Fire Novel Unit:

Catching Fire Pre-Reading: Hunger Games Review Lessons-Characters & Setting

Catching Fire Discussion Questions, Projects, Activities

Catching Fire Check Quizzes for Every Chapter

Catching Fire Vocabulary Lists & Crossword Puzzles

Catching Fire Review Games (PPT)

Catching Fire Tests

Hunger Games Trilogy Playlist Soundtrack Activity

Catching Fire Character Graphic Organizer

Catching Fire Figurative Language Sentence Strips

Catching Fire “What If…” Discussion Prompts

Hunger Games Trilogy Research of the Meaning of Panem

Catching Fire Crosswords, Mazes, Word Find, and Logic Puzzles

Catching Fire Common Core Standards Alignment (Free Download)

Catching Fire Scavenger Hunt Review Activity

Mockingjay Novel Unit

Mockingjay Novel Unit:

Mockingjay Check Questions Quizzes and Discussion Questions

Mockingjay Alternative Discussion Questions Handouts and Answer Key

Mockingjay Supplemental and Enrichment Activities

Mockingjay Vocabulary Activities

Mockingjay Part I Test and Study Guide (includes Word version for editing)

Mockingjay Part II Test and Study Guide (includes Word version for editing)

Mockingjay Final Exam Test and Study Guide (includes Word version for editing)

Mockingjay Quotes Activity

Mockingjay Pre-Reading Review

Mockingjay Character Review

Mockingjay Bookmarks and Activities

Mockingjay Creative and Research-Based Projects

Mockingjay Jeopardy Review Game Presentations (Newly Added!)

Mockingjay Rebel Propo Activity

Mockingjay Acts of Goodness Project

Mockingjay Scavenger Hunt Hands-On Activity

The Hunger Games Trilogy Connections Essay Prompts

Thank you, teachers, for all your support over the past five years. I hope you still enjoy teaching the novel units as much as I do. If you already have these, please check out my other resources. All will be discounted Tuesday and Thursday as a way of telling you how much we appreciate all you do!

Have a great week!


"The Hanging Tree" is Not a Dance Song

"The Hanging Tree" is NOT a dance song - www.hungergameslessons.com

Call me crazy, but I'm not going to dance to "The Hanging Tree" song.

James Newton Howard's "Rebel Remix" of Jennifer Lawrence's rendition of "The Hanging Tree" (written by Suzanne Collins and published in Mockingjay in 2010) seems inappropriate. Every time I hear it on the radio, I have to turn it. Don't get me wrong, I thought the original version played in the movie was powerful and perfect. It was one of the most moving scenes in "Mockingjay Part I."

The "Rebel Remix"? Not so much.

Adding the dance track to the background and speeding up the melody negates the haunting beauty of the ballad. It forgets that the point of the song is to convey a feeling of misery, that death would be the favorable choice.

It forgets the tears running down Pollux's face. And it forgets those spilling from Gale's eyes, remembering his whipping and Katniss's bittersweet kiss.

It forgets the stirring images of her father teaching her the song and it forgets Peeta's memory surfacing of her father singing it in the bakery. Finally, it forgets Peeta begging to be killed after Boggs's own life is taken by the Capitol's bombs. And this is just from the novel. Let's not forget the poignant moments from the movie when the other districts summon their courage to fight the Capitol–many sacrificing themselves for the rebellion.

So why was it necessary to remix the original version? For radio play? To make more money? Isn't that exactly what the Capitol would do?

Yes. It is. Which is why the filming of the song by Castor is so unnerving to Katniss. This should be taken as a warning sign that perhaps the rebels are not so different from the Capitol leaders, after all. Though Plutarch did not air the footage of Katniss singing in the novel, the fact that they filmed it and planned to use it was enough of an indication of their true intent to rule Panem much like President Snow. This is one of the many clues that foreshadow the climax of the novel.

Of course, this also lends itself to a perfect teaching/learning moment for our students.

Perhaps our own culture lends itself to creating commercially-popular songs with disturbing messages, disguising social and political dissent with a seemingly innocent harmony.

The Hanging Tree (Mockingjay) - Classroom ConnectionsClassroom Connections:

• Play the two versions of the songs for your students (embedded below).

• Discuss the differences between them. Ask your students why they think the remix was made. (Panem is fiction, of course, so it is highly likely the reason was for commercial popularity rather than social justice.)

• Have your students research songs of rebellion and songs of the (and to inspire) the hopeless from history. Instead of focusing on the words of the songs, though, focus on the melodies. Are they upbeat? Catchy? Sweet-sounding? Are they the types of songs that children may sing without realizing the meaning of the words?

• What was the purpose of the songs? How do the purpose(s) of the songs from history compare to the purpose of "The Hanging Tree" in the novel Mockingjay?

Teachers interested in using this idea and many more in class can download my Mockingjay teaching unit. All ideas, activities, and lessons are original creations.

The Songs

The original version from the movie "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One" 
(©Lionsgate Entertainment Inc.):

Here's the remix edition 
(©Lionsgate Entertainment Inc. and Republic Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.):

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