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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Review

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
Julianne Moore as President Alma Coin
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee
Jeffrey Wright as Beetee
Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
Natalie Dormer as Cressida
Donald Sutherland as President Snow
Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen
Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
Jena Malone as Johanna Mason
Mahershala Ali as Boggs
Wes Chatham as Castor
Elden Henson as Pollux
Jermaine Tindell as Luther
Patina Miller as Commander Paylor
Stef Dawson as Annie Cresta
Robert Knepper as Antonius
Michael Garza as Eddy
Evan Ross as Messalla

Directed by Francis Lawrence

The last time we saw Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen, she had just finished the grueling Quarter Quell Hunger Games and had been "saved" by what turns out to be the resistance to the oppressive President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol. Katniss winds up in District 13, long thought to be destroyed where she's being groomed by diplomats, including former Capitol speech writer Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the district's own President Coin (Julianne Moore) to be a figurehead for the revolution. While they retrieve Katniss and District 5's Finnick (Sam Claflin), her Hunger Games partner and confidante, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), has been taken by the Capitol basically for the same reason, to use him to squelch the rebellion.

There's something bittersweet about getting the continuation of Katniss' story so soon after the last chapter, since "Catching Fire's" cliffhanger ending really left us wanting more. And that's basically all that we get in what is essentially a transitional film that takes what happened in the Quarter Quell and sets up what will inevitably be an all-out war.

So what do we get this time around? A lot of Katniss moping about being separated from Peeta and getting increasingly more worried whenever he appears on Capitol TV being interviewed by Stanley Tucci's Caesar Flickerman, apparently not in control of what he's saying. We spend a lot of time in the underground bunker that is District 13 hearing various plans to try to get the word out about the revolution with a few excursions to assay the aftermath of the Quarter Quell and Snow's violent reaction to Katniss' betrayal. Most of the resistance's plans involve Katniss, now known as "The Mockingjay," whose feisty spirit has become motivation for the other districts to rebel against the Capitol. Getting Katniss out to the public is the main challenge faced by District 13 as they try to capture Katniss in propaganda-like promos or "propos"--let's face it, names are not Suzanne Collins' fort

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