The Teen Dystopia Survival Fantasy is becoming a crowded genre with multiple studios trying to copy and cash in on The Hunger Games success. The better movies/series include The Maze Runner (2014), Ender’s Game (2013) and Divergent (2014). The ones to avoid include The Giver (2014), and The Host (2013) among a few. Stay tuned for another one, The 5th Wave in 2016.
However, The Hunger Games is the biggest hit. The fourth and final film wraps up the plot-points well enough for fans, but it lost something along the way.
Most of the film’s energy went into the special effects, which are good. However, the plot is fairly paint-by-numbers and little will happen that surprises audiences who’ve seen the previous films.
The series’ strongest elements combine the basic theme of corrupt centralized power and a survival gameshow, a la The Running Man (1987), sprinkled with a dose of dark comedy. By the fourth film, all this has been replaced with a tad too much brooding.
As with the last installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the film has more than two endings, so until you see the credits, it’s not over. Also, the resolution of the love triangle at the heart of the story is not explained in a satisfying manner.
RECOMMENDATION: After a strong start, this teen sci-fi fantasy series coasts to the finish line.