The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 3D Blu-ray review

The blockbuster Hunger Games franchise hits the bullseye with this bravura final instalment

Picking up exactly where The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 left off, this franchise closer opens in media res, with the realisation of what happened to her former Games teammate Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) giving Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) a new thirst for revenge against President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Determined to kill Snow personally, Katniss sneaks aboard a rebel supply ship and joins one of the raids on the Capitol. But even if she manages to make it through the deadly booby-traps that Snow's Gamemakers have left littering the streets, Katniss must deduce whether or not Peeta really has overcome his brainwashing, or if he's simply waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill her...

After the downbeat …Mockingjay – Part 1, we admit to being a little worried that this dystopian drama would struggle to give Katniss the send-off she richly deserves. The last film made the mistake of running on the spot for two hours and turned Katniss into a passive participant. Hooray, then, that this epic finale sees her return to the role of punchy protagonist, spearheading the assault on the Capitol that provides the bulk of the narrative.

There's no shortage of action this time around, either. The booby-trapped locales provide a couple of terrific pieces of spectacle, while the underground  encounter with the Mutts feels like it's been ripped straight out of Guillermo del Toro's Blade II.

At its best, The Hunger Games has always been about more than mere action. And in the case of …Mockingjay – Part 2 it arrives from Katniss finally coming face to face with the cost of the rebellion. This is a film that pulls no punches in spelling out the high price the population pays in times of war, while leaders on both sides stay far removed from the action. It's here, in the satirizing of combat in the TV age, that The Hunger Games series reveals itself to be a remarkably potent antiwar story – even if it means putting up with 'the whole trashy romance drama' as one character so memorably describes it. A brilliant finish to an enjoyable series.
Movie rating: 4/5

Picture: Made back-to-back with its predecessor, using the same kit and team, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 cuts a very similar figure on Blu-ray. Shot digitally on Arri Alexa cameras, the 2.40:1-framed 1080p encode is sharp and well-defined, with loads of depth and detail to be seen in brightly-lit shots. Once again there's a tendency towards blue and amber tints in the digital grading, which gives some sequences a slightly murkier look, but blacks generally stay true and there's a fair amount of pop to even the darkest scenes.

If it all stopped there then we'd be ending on a high, but for some reason (money) Lionsgate decided that it would convert …Mockingjay – Part 2 into 3D. While not a Clash of the Titans-style disaster, there's very little here that makes creative use of the extra dimension (the best example is a shot of the ground covered in bullet casings, which seems to stretch out from your display into your room during a booby-trap in Chapter 7). For the most part the film is simply too dark for the 3D to have any real impact, other than dropping the brightness even further and making sequences such as the subterranean Mutt attack (Chapter 10) even harder to follow.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: This Blu-ray's Dolby Atmos mix does a brilliant job of adding extra scale, to the front of the soundstage in particular. The action scenes are wonderfully immersive, but the most effective moments are some of the most mundane, such as the sound of engines whipping a wind around and above you as Katniss watches a group of bombers taking off (Chapter 2).

With plenty of LFE weight and devastatingly effective use of the surrounds (head to Chapter 10's Mutt attack, again!), plus crystal-clear dialogue and presence given to the score, it's an aural thriller all-round.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Given the paucity of extra features afforded to so many modern blockbusters, it's a treat to come across an HD platter of a studio tentpole title that is packed with bonus goodies. In addition to a commentary by the director and producer, Lionsgate delivers a mahoosive 142-minute Making of… documentary that is well worth investigating, plus a fascinating 10-minute profile of stills photographer Murray Close and a nine-minute video about designing the Mockingjay armour. Finishing things off is an advert for The Hunger Games: The Exhibition.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: Despite the lacklustre 3D, this is a spectacular hi-def outing for an impressive blockbuster finale

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 3D, Lionsgate, All-region Blu-ray