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George At 

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games film series has been an interesting one for me to follow. I hated the first one, detracted from the story by cheap special effects and a low budget. The second film, "Catching Fire" did just that, a big improvement over the first installment and this third film THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 is by far the best in the series.

After forever damaging the games at the end of the second film, Mockingjay opens with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, always great) recuperating in District 13 surrounded by old friends, allies and the district's President Coin (Julianne Moore).

With the iron fist of the Capitol and the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his war machine attempting to crush Katniss and the budding rebellion at every turn, Katniss tries to find a way to communicate with all the districts that NOW is the time to rebel and take back their lives.

Ths film is somewhat slower paced but never boring, with enough breakout action set pieces to nicely compliment the quieter moments.

Lawrence is probably our best younger actress, managing to elevate the material by her conviction. As she goes from reluctant figurehead to a true icon of the rebellion, she never falters.

Sutherland is having a blast as Snow and no one makes a more regal bad guy that Donald, he is perfect for the part.

Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright and the superb Philip Seymour Hoffman lead an impressive supporting cast. Only Josh Hutcherson seems like a weak link in the cast, but its probably more the pathetic role he needs to play in the story as Peeta than poor Hutcherson, doomed to blubber and whine his way through this installment.

The scenes of Katniss going back to her village and seeing how the Capitol has destroyed almost everything and everyone she knew are powerful and well shot, with the budget and special effects finally catching up with the box office to create a spectacular film.

With this being the "Empire Strikes Back" of the series, the film ends in the middle of the story, leaving you in plenty of suspense for the final chapter during the 2015 holiday season.

After seeing the first film, I could never have imagined I'd say it, but I'll really be looking forward to the final chapter.

It's a story well told and for that, Mockingjay gets an A.

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