There’s a certain satisfaction to owning all of a series on DVD or Blu-ray. Being able to hold a box set and say, “This is it. This is all the movies. There won’t be more—and now that I have this, I’m good.” The newly released Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection is automatically satisfying. But is it worth buying for non-completists? Definitely.
When looking at a set like this, my first two considerations are: 1) If someone already bought all these movies individually, is it worth picking the set up again? 2) If you haven’t bought the films individually, is this close to being a definitive set? If both answers are “Yes,” then you’re looking at something truly special. At the very least, though, that second point has to be true—and it is in the case with The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection. It’s super solid.
Picking up the set, you first notice the packaging: a simple slip case with strong imagery on all sides (above left, middle). The discs themselves are in an equally attractive, compact case, with art that blends from all our movies (above right). You also get a digital copy of every movie. So far, so good.
We’ve already reviewed the films themselves, so we’ll stay away from that. Suffice it to say, if you’re reading a review of a box set, you probably like the movies—and we do too. The coolest feature on the films themselves is that all four films have a nice, 7.1 DTS soundtrack. The final two films even have an Dolby Atmos audio track, if you’re lucky enough to have the hardware that can reproduce that many channels of audio. Most of us don’t but, it’s a nice nerdy addition.
On to the extras. For The Hunger Games, the movie and its features are on two separate discs. As with much of this set, the features are exactly the same as the original Blu-ray release. That said, those are robust extras, which include several featurettes and a two-plus-hour documentary about the making of the movie. That level of detail is something filmmakers rarely share with audiences but, with The Hunger Games, it seems to be the norm.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on its own, has the most disappointing set of extras (but it’s my favorite movie, go figure). There are five deleted scenes, a featurette and director’s commentary. That’s not bad, but it’s not great compared to what you get on the other films.
On the disc for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the extras are again exactly the same as the original release. But those original extras are incredibly thorough. There’s a two-hour documentary about the making of the movie, a tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman, a director commentary, nine deleted scenes and a few other things too. It’s a lavish set of features for a single movie, and the menus—which are just Katniss screaming at you—are wonderful.
Next is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, which is new to home video and the reason this set exists. Keeping in tradition with the other films, there’s a two hour 20 minute documentary about the making of the film, covering everything from set construction, costumes, to cast interviews and more. There are four other featurettes too, but no deleted scenes. That last omission kind of makes sense, though, since this movie was stretched to its limits by the book split. And—broken record alert—these features are the same ones you’d get if you got the movie on its own.
At this point, the set is just the Blu-rays you may have bought individually, with the addition of the new film. It doesn’t pass my first box-set test. That’s where the final bonus disc, exclusive to this set, comes in.
The bonus disc is broken into separate sections for the first three films (since the fourth one is new, there’s nothing additional here, which is probably where a future ultimate edition could come in.) For The Hunger Games, the bonus disc starts with the exact same extras as the other disc. Same documentary, featurettes, it’s very odd. You get the same exact stuff, twice. Thankfully, from there, there’s a bunch more.
The highlight is 12 new deleted scenes from the first film. Yes, 12. The titles are Prim’s Nightmare, The Rules of the Game, Katniss Witnesses Defiance, Girl on Fire?, Peeta Struggles During Training, “We’re Even,” Gale Teaches Prim to Hunt, Meet the Other Tributes, Katniss’ Flashback, Katniss Befriends Rue, Katniss Finds Water and Bread from District 11. Though this movie is only a few years old, so much has changed since its release that it’s kind of wonderful to look back at these scenes. Some add to the movie, others were worthy cuts, but it’s a great mix and addition to the lore of the franchise.
In the Catching Fire section, there are 11 featurettes that aren’t on the feature disc. That’s a lot, but only one is labeled as “New” (it’s called Capitol Cuisine) so these must all be from somewhere. Either way, it’s nice to have them. There’s also a new deleted scene between Katniss and Peeta on the rooftop before they go back into the games.
As with Catching Fire, the bonus extras for Mockingjay Part 1 have six featurettes not on the feature disc, but only one is marked “New” (Picturing Panem). That’s all—but, since there’s already a two hour documentary, I’m not sure you really need much more.
So does The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection provide enough content for new and old owners alike? I think so. The majority of the set is just reissues of the original discs. Then the new stuff—especially the whole fourth movie—is just icing on the cake. Sure, there’s a chance there will be another release in the future, but I don’t see how it could be that much more impressive than this. If you love The Hunger Games series and have been waiting to buy a set, this is it.