Follow Katniss Everdeen’s transformation from Tribute to “The Girl on Fire” to the symbolic leader of the rebellion, The Mockingjay, in this thrilling collection that movie lovers will treasure.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 142, 146, 123, 137 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1 (1.78:1 IMAX – Catching Fire Only)
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio (Hunger Games & Catching Fire), Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Mockingjay 1 & 2), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Mahershala Ali, Jenna Malone,
Directed by: Gary Ross, Francis Lawrence
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray, Simon Beaufoy, Michael DeBruyn, Peter Craig Danny Strong – Based on the book series by Suzanne Collins
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 22, 2016
“Experience the Journey of the Mockingjay”
Experience the epic adventure of The Hunger Games series – from start to finish – in this action-packed collector’s set! Follow Katniss Everdeen’s transformation from Tribute to “The Girl on Fire” to the symbolic leader of the rebellion, The Mockingjay, in this thrilling collection that movie lovers will treasure. Featuring all four films, The Hunger Games Collection contains over fourteen hours of special features that take you behind the scenes of the movie phenomenon.
I have reviewed each of the previously released Hunger Games films when they came to Blu-ray. Rather than repost them as part of this article I will provide links to each:
The Hunger Games AVS Forum Blu-ray Review
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire AVS Forum Blu-ray Review
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 AVS Forum Blu-ray Review
This review will primarily focus on the newly released The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, but I will rate the collection as a whole in terms of its content.
Based on the best-selling third novel of Suzanne Collins’ award-winning trilogy, with a screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong and directed by Francis Lawrence The Hunger Games: Mockingjay reveals that the rebellion is growing. Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived and is recovering from the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell deep inside the bunkered catacombs of District 13. Separated from some of her closest allies and fearing for their safety in the Capitol, Katniss finally agrees to be the Mockingjay, the symbolic leader of the rebellion. Still uncertain as to whom she can trust, Katniss must help District 13 rise from the shadows, all the while knowing that President Snow has focused his hatred into a personal vendetta against her—and her loved ones. As Katniss comes to terms with her destiny she prepares to win the war against President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the tyrannical Capitol. Together with Peeta, Gale, Finnick, and others, she travels to the Capitol to kill Snow. However, President Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of District 13 and the rebellion, hides a bigger agenda that could not only jeopardize Katniss’ life, but the future of Panem.
Mockingjay the novel was divided into two films. After seeing both films I can now understand why, given the time devoted to developing the various narrative threads, associated with the transcending events. Whereas Part 1 has more of a dramatic/melodramatic essence with elements of action/adventure, Mockingjay – Part 2 flips the coin, bringing the action/adventure to the forefront while mixing in supporting drama/melodrama. As with the other films in the series I find the characters, especially Katniss, to be the most rewarding aspect as her personal journey of discovery, humanity, and compassion unfolds, ultimately bringing the story to its defining conclusion. I haven’t read the novels but have thoroughly enjoyed the films.
The limited edition Blu-ray release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is packed with over five hours of special features, including the “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” 8-part documentary – an in-depth look at the making of the film from production design, costumes, hair, make-up, stunts, special effects and post production. The documentary also includes a touching piece – from the last day of shooting – in which the cast reflects on their experience shooting the four films. Also included is a detailed look at Cinna’s sketchbook and a walk through the on-set photography along with audio commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson.
With $647 million worldwide box office and counting, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 set the world on fire and enthralled millions of devoted fans across the globe. With a critically acclaimed cast including Academy Award® winner Jennifer Lawrence (Best Actress, Silver Linings Playbook, 2012), Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables), Academy Award® nominee Woody Harrelson (Best Actor, The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996), Emmy® nominee Elizabeth Banks (TV’s “Modern Family”), Academy Award® winner Julianne Moore (Best Actress, Still Alice, 2014), Academy Award® winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Best Actor, Capote, 2005), Golden Globe® winner Jeffrey Wright (HBO’s “Angels in America”), with Academy Award® nominee Stanley Tucci (Best Supporting Actor, The Lovely Bones, 2009), and Golden Globe® winner Donald Sutherland (Citizen X), The Hunger Games franchise is a worldwide phenomenon earning over $2.9 billion at the box office worldwide.
The rating is for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
Low frequency effects:
Surround Sound presentation:
Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
Black Level/Shadow Detail:
Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
Level of immersion:
Audio object placement:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 Mbps.
This high definition presentation has a filmic quality and an intentionally stylized visual design that utilizes a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the films subject matter/time period. The color range is limited to shades of steely blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson. Warm accents are used here and there to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Fleshtones hold up well against the de-saturated chroma and don’t appear unnatural. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are punchy and grays are multi-staged and deep. The use of CGI and green screens softens some elements but I never found it to be overtly distracting. I found the quality of the video to be high. It’s cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement and delineation that enhance depth and reveal fine detail in objects, clothing, and physical features. Shadow delineation is excellent revealing plenty of detail in low level shots and darkened backgrounds. I didn’t detect any other obvious signs of video related anomalies or artifacts and thought that this presentation looked solid.
The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel surround mix is equally impressive and sounds great. The soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue and soft music to dynamically charged sequences that deliver involving surround sound. Dialogue rendering is terrific as it holds sway over the front soundstage. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamic range is noteworthy as the active elements within the surround mix resound with emboldened punch and resounding bass response. Examples of this can be found in the pod explosions or siege at the Capital.
James Newton Howard’s music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and is wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciable. From the sounds of chanting crowds, and reverberating echoes in the underground canals to the familiar and enveloping effects of ships passing overhead, sounds are seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. This is an impressive audio presentation that makes for a gratifying home theater experience.
In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be an entertaining listening experience that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix atmospherics and discrete effects. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. In addition to things like overhead pans where hovercrafts move through the soundstage and weapon fire emanates from one point and hits its mark in another, there are several key sequences that bring everything together.
At their arrival in the capital city, Katniss and company encounter a series of booby-traps/pods as well as a large black mass released in dam like fashion that pursues into a nearby building. Later they are forced underground, winding up in a series of tunnels where they encounter a foe they must fight at close quarters. The final siege at the gates of the presidential palace is seen from Katniss’ near field perspective where the sounds of panic stricken crowds, weapon fire, and explosions seem to be all around. These sequence place you inside the action as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level, making for an involving surround sound display. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and discrete object placement. Dolby Atmos is simply the best game in town, adding a complimentary element that elevated the experience watching the film.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Features:
Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
(HD) “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” (8-Part Documentary -Totaling 140 minutes)
Walking Through Fire (Concluding the Saga)
Real or Not Real (Visual Design)
High-Value Targets (The Acting Ensemble)
From Head to Toe (Costume, Make-up & Hair)
Navigating the Minefield (Production in Atlanta, Paris & Berlin)
Collateral Damage (Stunts, Special Effects & Weapons)
Tightening the Noose (The Post-Production Process
A Different World (Reflections)
(HD) The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey – 10 minutes
(HD) Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor – 9 minutes
(HD)[/b] Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition – 2 minutes
(HD) Jet to the Set – 42 minute special
The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection Features:
Over 14 Hours of Bonus Content Including:
12 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games
6 Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Including 1 Never Before Seen
9 Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
2 All-New Featurettes: “Picturing Panem” (7 minutes) and “Capitol Cuisine” (5 minutes)
70 Additional Featurettes (Blu-ray); 69 Additional Special Featurettes (DVD)
Audio Commentaries, Music Videos and More
Digital HD Copy (4 Films)
Based on the best-selling books from writer Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection, is a wonderfully formulaic, well executed multi-genre film series that benefits from solid casting/performances and excellent production elements. It arrives on Blu-ray in superb fashion and features top notch audio/video quality along with a comprehensive assortment of bonus material, including previously unreleased extras, that looks behind the scenes at the making of the film while providing insights from the cast and crew.
Depending on how important the never before seen deleted scenes and two additional featurettes are to you may determine whether this set is worth purchasing if you already own the previous home video releases. I didn’t feel it added anything worthy of note, so in that case picking up the single release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 would be the way to go. However if you like the idea of having all of the films together in one collection mated with a decent keepcase and the additional content, I would recommend picking up The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection. If you’re a fan, you can’t go wrong either way. Enjoy!
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package
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