The final film installment of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay – Part 2, was made available on Blu-ray and digital download earlier this week. Our family received the complete four-film collection to review, but today I’m going to focus on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. And from that particular Blu-ray, I plan to speak mostly to the bonus features, since GeekDad Rob reviewed the film last fall.
I remember my first learning about Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy. Our family had recently moved from Nebraska to Florida in winter 2010-2011 and we were enjoying a March day at the beach with some new neighbors. Their then-13-year-old daughter was sitting next to me reading Catching Fire. She took a reading break to explain the entire story to me. She was clearly loving the story. Not long after our conversation, I bought the hardcover version of the trilogy and I had read the whole series in summer 2011. As of this writing, my entire family (ages 11 – 42) has read the trilogy with much enjoyment.
We have similarly enjoyed the film adaptations. Seeing the literature come to life on the screen took an army of artists, and I’ll speak more to the bonus documentary momentarily.
If you play your cards right, you should be able to find a version of the Blu-ray that includes an Ultraviolet Digital HD and iTunes download code, as ours did. I love being able to do this… call this the ultimate in lazy, but from the comfort of my couch “spot” in the family room, I can input the iTunes codes into my laptop, then pick up my Apple TV remote and play the movie pretty quickly. No more walking across the room to the Blu-ray player. A wonderful modern perk if I’ve ever seen one: we can play this movie on any device with iTunes (and storage space to hold the film).
After our family had a Mockingjay – Parts 1 and 2 marathon* last weekend, we spent some time exploring the five hours’ worth of bonus features. Some of them are quite short such as an advertisement for The Hunger Games: The Exhibition that was in Times Square. Since the making of that ad, the exhibition has closed in New York and recently opened at the Innovation Hangar in San Francisco, showing through this summer.
*Our sons hadn’t seen either of the Mockingjay films in the theater; our oldest son didn’t want to watch them until he had read the book, which he finished in December 2015.
Of all the bonus features, I have a favorite. You simply have to watch the eight-part documentary Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. Even though it’s over 2 1/2 hours in length, it’s worth the attention. The documentary breaks up into easy-to-manage chapters. If you ever wondered about the settings, props, costumes, visual effects, musical scoring, weapons, and even that adorable baby at the very end of the film, this documentary will take you behind the scenes to see all of it. Meet the directors, set and costume designers, musicians, pyrotechnics engineers, and augmented reality designers who brought Collin’s world to life on film. The third part, titled “High-Value Targets,” features interviews with many of the actors, from Jennifer Lawrence to Woody Harrelson to Elizabeth Banks. They reflect on the four-year journey of filming the four films in succession; it was clear that even for well-seasoned actors such as Donald Sutherland (with over 200 films and television shows to his credit), the experience was unlike anything they had done before.
If you choose the four-film collection, it will include 14 hours of bonus content. Some of it will be what was in the original Blu-ray and digital releases, but there will also be quite a bit of new footage, including never-before-released deleted scenes from all of the films.
The Hunger Games Complete 4-Film Collection retails for $64.97 on Blu-ray/digital download** and $54.98 on DVD/digital download. It’s available through big-box and online retailers everywhere, and can be downloaded through iTunes ($54.99) and the Google Play Store ($42.99).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 retails for $39.99 on Blu-ray/DVD** and $29.95 on DVD. Both versions include digital downloads and can also be downloaded through the same major download outlets. In addition, major cable and satellite providers have it available to rent or own.
**As of this writing, Amazon is offering these products at lower prices.