Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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Rated:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material

Directed By:

Francis Lawrence

Based on the Book By: 

Suzanne Collins

Cast:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Julianne Moore and more.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.

My Review:

Here’s the thing about Mockingjay. Its my least favorite book in the entire trilogy. I read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire about a month before Mockingjay came out. I remember reading the first two and just being absolutely blown away by it and then just feeling disappointed by Mockingjay. So much potential there but it just felt kind of sloppy, rushed, weird.

BUT, that being said…I was really looking forward to this movie. I liked the first movie well enough but the second movie just completely blew my mind and so I was really looking forward to this one. I went to the premiere and was on a complete high from the red carpet and went into the theater really excited for this movie.

One thing that really impressed me is that Francis Lawrence continues the trueness to the book that he showed us in Catching Fire. I knew what was happening next at every turn because it just felt so true to the book. Scenes that I wanted to happen, lines I wanted to hear, that sort of thing, were all there. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that actual lines from the book were said. That always means a lot to me because the worlds that we show in these movies were created by the words of the author and to use those words in the movie, it means a lot. Those words are important to the reader. We quote those books. So hearing them said by these actors that do SUCH a great job is just fantastic.

I loved that a lot of my favorite scenes were in the movie. I don’t want to say which ones because this is spoiler free but I really loved that the scenes that stood out to me in the books are the ones that ended up on screen.

Julianne Moore as Coin? Loved it. She had a nice balance of kind of weird and untrusting and at the same time, a passion for the rebellion and a control over the people she governs. She really brought that character to life. Natalie Dormer as Cressida? UGH. Love. She’s amazing. I cant wait to see more of her in Part 2.

Sad face every time that Philip Seymour Hoffman came on screen. KILLED me. There is so much of him in this movie, and I just loved it.

Jennifer Lawrence. Liam. Josh. Elizabeth. Donald. Sam. All of them are just so great.

I love where they cut it. Its great. Its kind of what the fandom expected but just a bit more and that’s what I loved. Because they probably assumed the fandom would know where they would logically cut it, it was really cool to see them twist it a bit. Still completely true to the book but just a fantastic end to the movie until we get Part 2. Can we get Part 2 now?

They added SO much action to it. Action that already existed but it really stood out on screen. It felt so real and frightening. The movie was pretty long but it didn’t feel that way because the action of it kept you wrapped up in it the whole time. It was so great to see Katniss really fight, and to see others fighting beside her, especially Gale. We don’t see much of Gale in the first two movies because she ends up in the Games both times so it was great to see more of him. I LOVE Gale as a character, and his passion for the rebellion, no matter the cost, so I loved seeing him fight and stand up for his rights and his thoughts.

There were two added scenes and I loved both of them. I can’t say much more than that. One was completely made up but stayed true to the events taking the place in the novel. Let’s just say my friend, who is a District 7 girl, was like “Yes! District 7! That’s my district!” in the theater last night. It was a really epic addition. The other addition was something that most definitely takes place in the novel but is kind of off screen because Katniss is not involved so therefore we have no perspective on it. I loved that they added it, it was just SO great, and intense and caused me lots of anxiety, even though I’ve read the book a bunch of times and know how it ends.

All in all, I’m massively impressed with this adaptation. Francis really knows what he’s doing. They capture the soul and essence of this book, stay true to the story and the characters but really bring it to life on screen. They take something that is so small in the books and blow it up into a huge, significant and beautiful scene on screen and I was really impressed by that. The performances by all the actors were incredible and I seriously can’t wait to see the second part. I think the movie gave the opportunity to straighten out those things that were messy in the book and I’m eagerly looking forward to the epic finale next fall!

OH! One last thing: my favorite part of the entire film was Jennifer Lawrence singing “The Hanging Tree”. It was SO flippin epic. It gave me total chills, all up and down my body. I need that song in my life. I was really just blown away with how they did that scene. Ugh. Perfection!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 White Carpet Premiere in Los Angeles!

Hello everyone!

Sorry that I’ve basically been out of touch the last few days. I’ve been lax on both blogging and writing for NaNo (uh oh!) because I’ve been busy with work AND the premiere for Mockingjay Part 1!

The premiere was yesterday in Los Angeles, order CA at the Nokia Theater at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. This is where they’ve had all the premieres for the movies in this trilogy so far and I think its a great place to have it. As soon as the date was announced, I put in the request for the day off and eagerly awaited the premiere.

Now, the plan was this: show up in the morning and take a chill approach to the premiere. I wasn’t down for the stress, though stress is a part of premieres, always, and I had seen pretty much everyone that I had wanted to see last year at the Catching Fire premiere. I knew I’d have to go the night before to get in line but I just didn’t feel like it. Plus, my dad was in the hospital due to some heart issues (he’s okay!) so it was just a bunch of mess.

Well, my good friend, Jade (who you might recognize from Teens React on YouTube) went the night before, and let me know that she could save us a spot in line because she’s awesome and because we’ve helped save her spot at events before :) So I was going to get some sleep and then head to the premiere in the early morning.

I didn’t get ANY sleep at all. I couldn’t sleep. It was way too early for me. Oh well. We packed our things up and headed down to Nokia.

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This is me in line at about 5:30 am. Jade was first in line! Even when I don’t try and be first in line, I end up first in line. I have no idea how this happens.

We spent the day hanging out and snacking and talking books and such. I kept trying to nap but it just didn’t happen. I was running on adrenaline basically.

I was really disappointed in SPEC this year. SPEC runs all (well, most) of the red carpet premieres and Charles, the main man, and his guys usually run a really great show but yesterday was just sloppy and disorganized. There was almost NO communication at all and they have this really stupid promotion going on so even if you waited all day in line (like we did), you still had to go in after about 200 people that were part of this promotion. It was ridiculous and frustrating. They were SO disorganized. I couldn’t even believe it. I’m up for a fan camp again, because that was just sloppy as hell.

We finally got let in and headed toward the bleachers where the fans were set up. I ended up in the second row with my friends, which wasn’t a bad spot. The carpet was set up, and it looked cool but honestly? Not nearly as cool as it did last year. 

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I was helping out debut author, Tonya Kuper, while I was at it though. Her novel, which is published by Entangled Teen, is coming out next week and I helped by passing out postcards to promote it! I thought she’d get a kick out of this!

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The Mockingjays on the carpet were super cool though. The carpet was half white carpet and half white tile. I kept waiting for someone to just take an epic spill.

At first, the security wasn’t going to let us stand at the barricade. We stood at once point and they sent us back to our seats. I was VERY VERY frustrated. I wouldn’t wait in line, with no sleep, if I wanted to just wave to them from the bleachers. It made no sense. Some of the stars started coming closer so we all kind of went back up to the barricade and the SPEC guys were like, fine, just behave. Easy cheesy. At least in my opinion.

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Getting ready for the stars.

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The first person I saw was Joey Graceffa, who is on YouTube. I admit, my knowledge of YouTubers is pretty much nonexistent so I didn’t know who he was BUT my friends Sylvia and Cassie were SO super stoked so I had to take a picture too haha.

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This little guy, Emjay Anthony, is going to be playing Hector in the Insurgent movie. I had to get a picture of him because we all know how I feel about the Divergent trilogy <3

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We were waiting for more people to come when Jade suddenly said “Is that Mark Hoppus?!” and it was, completely with mohawk (not pictured). I FREAKED out because come on, Blink 182! No one seemed to know who he was, so Jade and I started yelling at him to come over. He just kind of smiled and we were like, agh, no Mark, come back! So he came over and took pictures with us. I’ve already met Travis Barker so I’m SO stoked to have met Mark. I just need Tom!

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I had no idea who he was until I googled the premiere and figured it out haha. His name is Cody Johns and he’s a really really small actor, though he was in I Am Number Four as one of John’s friends in the very beginning. I just thought he was SO super cute. I’m terrible haha. Also my friend Sylvia’s face in the background haha.

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Me and Erica Bierman, who plays President Snow’s daughter in the films. She was SO sweet and she fangirled HARD over Jade because she watches YouTube. It was actually quite adorable.

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So, last year, I was devastated when I could not meet Suzanne Collins. She signed for very few people before leaving. This time, she took her time, took pictures and signed for people and just seriously made my whole day. Its all about her! She created this! I was also in a weird spot that got a ton of weird light. My first picture with her was all LIGHT and she noticed, and put her hand up to block it and we got this beauty!

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Me and the beautiful Jena Malone, who plays Johanna Mason in the film, and quite well.

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See what I mean about that light haha. Stef Dawson, who plays Annie Cresta. She’s seriously SO fabulous and amazing. SO adorable.

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Me and Meta Golding, who plays Enobaria. She also is in the newer version of The Tomorrow People, which I am obsessed with (RIP), so I have to go back and figure out who she is!

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Stef and Meta were SO happy to see each other. It was adorable.

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Wes Chatham, who plays Castor, part of Katniss’s camera crew. He was SO nice and his wife was adorably pregnant. I wanted to rub her belly, which, you know, is not creepy in the slightest. I had Sylvia’s book and asked him to sign it and Jade is like “because she’s in the bathroom!” so he signed it to her, personally, and asked why she was in the bathroom. All in her book. It was adorable.

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Me and the super legend, Donald Sutherland. His voice is even more awesome in person.

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AW. Such a sweetheart in Nina Jacobson who is the producer for The Hunger Games movies :)

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Then Jennifer Lawrence came by. I loved seeing her this time because I was actually at the barricade this time AND she seemed much happier than at Catching Fire, where she was freezing and SICK. She is awesome because even though she doesn’t take pictures with people, she tries to sign for each and every fan which is just incredible. I did try to some selfies while she was signing my book and I got some blurry, creeper ones haha.

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Julianne Moore came in. She’s a new addition to the cast, playing District 13’s president, Alma Coin. She didn’t stop to take pictures BUT she signed my book so that was awesome, and I managed to get some pictures of her as well.

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AW. My beautiful and darling Sam Claflin. He’s such a doll, and so good to fans. He plays my favorite character of the whole trilogy, Finnick Odair. I got to meet him last year but I was more than happy to do it again.

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Liam was another one that wasn’t taking pictures but I didn’t mind because, like Jen, he wanted to try and sign for as many fans as possible. I got a few pictures of him as he signed for people. A lot of people aren’t much into his new bearded look but I thought it looked fantastic on him.

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AGH! Elizabeth Banks! I was SO excited because I wasn’t able to get her at all last year, not her autograph or anything! She stopped to sign my book, and I was going to just take pictures of her signing, like I did with Jen but she saw and leaned in and I got to take a picture with her. Made my whole night. She is SERIOUSLY perfect as Effie.

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In consistency with the others, Josh Hutcherson also didn’t take pictures with fans in order to sign for as many as possible. However, I was getting pictures of him anyway, and then Jade asked him for a picture because she had never gotten one, even though she’s been to all three premieres so far. Sylvia and I both saw the opportunity and jumped right in.

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I also jumped in for a picture with Jeffrey Wright with Jade.

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He also signed my book too but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture and totally jumped into this one haha.

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I got to see Lea Thompson again too! I saw her months ago at the Vampire Academy premiere but I was stoked to see her again. She’s from one of my favorite movies of all time, Back to the Future, and now she’s on Switched at Birth (which I’m massively addicted to) and Dancing with the Stars. She is also the mommy of my future girlfriend, Zoey Deutch <3

The last person that went on the carpet was Natalie Dormer, who you probably know from Game of Thrones as Margery, and who is playing Cressida in Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. I wanted her SOOOO bad, she was my number one goal but she blew past because she had to go into the movie. I’m determined to get her at the Part 2 premiere!

After the carpet was over, we were instructed to sit down and then we would receive our tickets to go in and see the movie!

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My friends and I with our tickets!

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The movie was ABSOLUTELY fabulous and I can’t wait to share more about it once I write my review (check for that tomorrow!). I had a blast at the premiere. I was tired and hungry for sure. I thought the organization of the event was terrible. Even after the carpet, it was just ridiculous. I could barely get into the theater, and we just made it in as soon as the movie started. Then getting our phones after the movie and everything…it just a wicked mess. I hope they clean that up next year and either come up with a better system OR do a fan camp again (please!).

If you’d like to see all the pictures of the day at the premiere, click this link and you can check them out on the official What a Nerd Girl Says FB page!

Til next year, Mockingjay Part 2!

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That Time I Met James Dashner and My Tire Exploded…

HELLO EVERYONE!

How are all of you on this fine weekend? I hope fantastic! What are you all reading right now? I’m currently re-reading The Fiery Heart, viagra in the hopes that I’ll finish it before Tuesday when Silver Shadows comes out.

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Today was a super fun and crazy day! Last week, more about my good friend Cassandra and I drove down to San Diego (roughly about a two hour drive) to pick up wristbands for a book signing event that would be taking place at the local Barnes and Noble for Comic Con weekend. James Dashner would be there, promoting the movie tie-in edition of The Maze Runner. I met James back in April at WonderCon but was totally looking forward to seeing him again!

Who knew it was going to be such a crazy day!

I picked up Cassandra and we began the fun task of driving all the way over there. We were only roughly about 30 minutes away when my car started shaking uncontrollably and I smelled smoke. Obviously not a good sign. I started to slow down, in order to pull over, and BAM! My tire on my car literally EXPLODED! It was one of the craziest feelings ever!

So, of course, I call AAA. Well apparently they cancelled my membership or something. DRAMA. So then I dialed 511 to see if I could get free roadside assistance. No free roadside assistance in the middle of nowhere area I was in. (Fun Fact, I ended up in the town of Rainbow. No lie) DRAMA. I called my dad but he was a good 1.5 hours away. DRAMA.

But the clouds opened and the sun shined down on us! An AAA guy stopped and asked if I called him. I didn’t, and he was actually looking for another car but he stopped and helped me replace my tire anyway. We were back on the road! Yay!

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We made it to the Barnes and Noble and discovered that we were basically the first people there. We bought our books, grabbed some iced teas and sandwiches from the cafe and then proceeded to wait until they set up the area for us. Suddenly, people started lining up behind us, as they tend to do and we ended up in the front row! Yay!

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Do we look tired? We were kind of tired haha! We also met up with the darling Sama (aka bookautopia from instagram) and she was a total sweetheart.

Then it was time for James Dashner!

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He talked about The Maze Runner trilogy, the upcoming adaptation and his newer book, The Eye of Minds. Yesterday was the first official screening of the finished movie so he talked about that a bit. It was really cool because when he first came out, and was looking around at the crowd, he spotted me and went “I’ve met you somewhere before, right?” and I laughed, because I had just met him back in April at WonderCon and I was wearing the same shirt (my BRIGHT pink What A Nerd Girl Says shirt). That was pretty cool.

After talking for a bit, he took some fan questions. I was too busy listening to him that I just forgot to record any of it like a doofus but I did get this little bit. Someone asked him who he thought would survive in the maze, as far as the cast goes. Its a short video, so check it out!

After the Q & A, they set up for signings. We were given two options: get one book personalized OR get all of your books signed. As much as I love having my books personalized, I got my Maze Runner personalized back in April and I just wanted the rest of them signed, so I opted for that.

I got up in line, and he asked me where we had seen each other and I told him WonderCon and he remembered. We talked a little bit about the book and movie and especially about writing, and that was awesome.

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Here’s a flashback when I met James back in April:

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Because I already had a copy of Maze Runner, I got my hands on a second copy (thanks Cass!) and got it signed!

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This, along with some of the cool swag I grabbed (see below), will make for an awesome giveaway. Keep an eye out for it, but don’t get too excited. It probably won’t be until September, around when the movie is released!

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The pins are mine :) But I have a couple bookmarks and an extra “Shuck It” sticker that’ll be up for grabs in that September giveaway! Keep an eye out.

After the signing, we went to a nearby tire place, took care of my tire issues. The guy working there really took care of my Elphie (oh yes, I named my car after Elphaba in Wicked) and even threw in a free tire. Meanwhile, Cass and I enjoyed some sushi and ice cream. Yum!

After that, we made the long drive home. We decided to stop by Best Buy. If you went by Best Buy, you could watch the newly released Mockingjay Part 1 trailer and get your hands on a ticket to see the movie, a Mockingjay pin and a poster. Unfortunately by the time we got there all they had were posters but that’s okay because I love posters! And the trailer was AWESOME. I can’t wait for this movie to come out!

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All in all, it was a super fun day, even with all the crazy car drama! I’m glad to have my entire TMR trilogy signed and I’ll be having an epic giveaway come September!

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Spoiler Free Movie Review!

I am so incredibly lucky that I was able to attend the Catching Fire fan camp and red carpet premiere in Los Angeles. You can read my recaps of Day One, troche Day Two and Day Three. I met so many awesome cast members, and fans, laughed my butt off, got NO sleep whatsoever, and made a ton of memories. But the best part of the whole experience was being able to see the movie early.

And now that the movie is out in TWO days (or tomorrow, if you’re seeing it at the night showings like me!), I want to share my review. As always, its completely spoiler free!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 

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Rated:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language

Directed By:

Francis Lawrence

Cast:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Haralson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Worst synopsis ever. LOL.

We’re into the deeper world of The Hunger Games trilogy. Fresh from her time in the Games, Katniss Everdeen is under pressure. She’s deeply affected by the Games and the deaths she’s responsible for. She has created a buzz with her defiance of the Capitol, and now she has to pay for it, and convince the Districts that she is deeply in love with Peeta, and help to bring down the rebellion stirring in the Districts to keep her family safe. When that doesn’t work, she and Peeta are thrown back into the games, and this year’s Games are going to be much different.

My Review:

We’ve all come to expect that movies will never be as good as the book. This is true. Its hardly EVER that a movie is better than a book.

But I’ll tell you one thing: Catching Fire comes extremely close!

I was SO incredibly impressed with this movie. It is definitely a movie that is made for the fans. It was an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. I was constantly crying. I was crying because of heartbreak. I was crying because I was laughing so hard. I was crying because there were just moments that were so beautiful, I couldn’t handle it. It was exciting and scary, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, and there were several moments in the movie where I forgot to breathe normally or I’d gasp, very loudly.

This movie takes the very exciting, tense, emotional book and translates it on the big screen nearly perfectly. I’ve never seen a movie follow a book so well. There were things left out, of course, but those things made sense to leave out, in the grand scheme of things. They got all the important moments of the book, and there were so many direct quotes, you could almost quote alongside the movie, which I did a few times.

They captured so many of the moments that were important to ME, as a fan. I was looking back at the Top Ten Tuesday I did last week which was the top ten things from the Catching Fire book that I wanted in the Catching Fire movie, and they showed every single one. I was so excited about this. They really did such a great job of recognizing the important moments, and the little things they did add, like what’s going outside of the Games, and Snow’s granddaughter, really helped to enhance the story and build it up for Mockingjay Part 1.

I loved each and every tribute. The difference between the first movie and the second movie is that a lot of the tributes in this movie become incredibly important, especially in Mockingjay. We care about Finnick and Johanna and Mags and Wiress and Beetee. So their casting was incredibly important and I think each and every single one of them nailed it, perfectly. Sam Claflin was an amazing Finnick, and no body else in the world could have played Johanna except Jena Malone. They adapted these characters perfectly into the movie. I can’t emphasize enough how much it impressed me.

The actions scenes were amazing! Katniss was wicked with her bow, Finnick drove me insane with excitement when he fought with his trident. There was so much romance in this movie, and each and every kiss between Katniss and Peeta (and there’s enough to satisfy all the Katniss-Peeta shippers out there!) was beautiful and scorching hot. I had to fan myself sometimes.

OH! And the cliffhanger. The cliffhanger of Catching Fire the book is one of the craziest cliffhangers I’ve read in a book, and it is so gut wrenching and scary and emotional and they took that short ending and made it so incredibly beautiful and it left me breathing so hard and it made me so excited and impatient for Mockingjay.

Ooh, and look for the Mockingjay movie symbol at the end. Perfection!

Simply, this movie was made for the fans, and it was absolutely incredible. I think that even reluctant fans, or people who aren’t into the Hunger Games, could see this movie and love it. It was just that great. It had action and romance, and so many tense moments and it made you laugh and cry, and have a good time. And I definitely canNOT wait until Mockingjay Part 1 next year!

Rating:

I do NOT give this out lightly, especially for a movie adaptation. This is how good this movie is.

5 out of 5

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Don’t forget to check out my recaps of the events! You can also see ALL the pictures from my adventures on my official Facebook page here.

Check back later this week because I *might* have a giveaway coming your way! ;)

Happy Hunger Games and May the Odds be Ever In Your Favor!