You're Better off at the Hanging Tree

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' squanders…everything

Does the creative team behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 see the parallel between its characters’ cynical use of propaganda and the movie studio’s cynical marketing decision to turn the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy into two movies? Probably. But who’s to blame for this travesty of marketing and greed? The makers of the Harry Potter series or Francis Ford Coppola? After all, The Godfather is only one novel.

That's a diversion from stating not much happens in Mockingjay Part 1. It's a half-story, and the cliffhanger ending feels made for TV, not the big screen. In this installment, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, duh) is convinced to join the rebellion, shoot some agitprop for Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and make out briefly with that dope Gale (Liam Hemsworth) while secretly pining for that wimp Peeta (Josh Hutcherson trying and failing to bring life to a role no one could make good).

The only reason this movie doesn't rate a barf is because Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland show up for, respectively, welcome comic relief, smarm and beaming evil. Woody Harrelson is wasted, and Katniss cries. A lot. There's an interesting story about politics buried beneath the boo-hoo YA-ness of it all, but the Hunger Games gang knows where its bread is buttered. Thirteen minutes of the running time is end credits.



Directed by Francis Lawrence

With Lawrence, Hemsworth and Hutcherson

Regal Stadium 14


125 min.

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