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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Year: 2014
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig/Danny Strong/Suzanne Collins
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci

By the time anybody realises there are no more Hunger Games in the Hunger Games franchise, none of the teenagers who made Jennifer Lawrence a star or who made the franchise the new Twilight will care, no matter how 1984-for-the-video-game-generation it is.

If there's an upside at all, it's that Lawrence continues to play a really commendable hero. She's capable and emotional all at once, which we see precious little of in movies (especially in female characters). But the rest is just another 'stand up to totalitarianism' action movie. Either it attracted such big names like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore because of the incredible profile it would offer them, or (as I suspect) I'm actually wrong about the whole thing and it is actually good.

Katniss wakes up in the stronghold of the district leading the resistance she's inspired, and the leaders – Moore as the officious district president Coin and Hoffman as games master-turned-revolutionary Heavesnbee – want to make her the figurehead of the movement.

Katniss wants none of it, only wanting to go home and live a simple life with her family. But when they take her to her own district – now reduced to rubble courtesy of the Capitol – she tells them she'll lead their revolution if they promise to free Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Joanna (Jena Malone) and her other friends that were captured at the end of the last games.

To be honest I'm hard pressed to remember any of the details about the ensuing fight other than the team of commandos led by Gale (Liam Hemsworth) who try to extract the prisoners from the tribute tower after a successful strike by the resistance knocks out power to the capitol.

But I do remember feeling like the story had changed tone completely. It had started out looking like a Vietnam parable with the stealthy, brutal attacks and dangers in the jungle to a new Star Wars, set amid grand towers that look like Coruscant, everyone using precision weapons and dressed like Imperial stormtroopers.

You can see where Lionsgate have given director Francis Lawrence a lot more money, given the sure bet the franchise now is. But I still can't get into it. It failed to grab hold of me from the very first movie and hasn't done anything to change that since.

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