(Here there be spoilers!)
I was going to put this in my Movie Musings blog, but I want to review the film and the books.
Let me start with the book, and work my way forward.
Overall, I enjoyed The Hunger Games and the rest of the trilogy. I love post-apocalyptic books. I also enjoyed that the protagonist was a strong female. Not just a female main character, which often annoys me, but actually a hero. She is not overly emotional or love-struck or preoccupied with pretty things, etc. She's real. Katniss takes the traditional hero role and fights not only for her life, but for the lives of others. Suzanne Collins certainly wrote her character well. But she didn't diminish the men in the book either. Peeta is not a weakling just because he is not the protagonist, or because Katniss has to help him. And even the other tributes, male and female alike have their strengths.
Besides the basic story, I also love the deeper implications of the books. How ruthless governments should not be allowed to be cruel to the weak over whom they rule. How even the poor and downtrodden can rise up and do good in the world.
I did not however, particularly like the writing. It was simplistic, probably because the target age was youg adult. I read the entire series in about 4 days.
I have a hard time reading first-person narratives, even though I'm prone to writing them. I feel there is the lack of omnicient voice that helps to tie things up. That actually wasn't ever a problem in this series, it was just a worry as I read the first page. I got used to the first person and it did work out quite well. As a reader, I was able to sink into the perspective of Katniss and essentially exoerience things as they were happening to her.
I also did not like the love-triangle-ness. I think it was perhaps useful, but I found it not only dull, but also very annoying, distracting me from the actual story. Perhaps I'm just "team Gale."
Moving on to the film.
I think the realization of The Hunger Games on screen was nearly perfect. I was slightly put off by the choice of actress for Katniss, I always thought her more plain. Not homely, but not pretty. However, Jennifer Lawrence did very well in capturing the intensity of the character. Woody Harlson was spot on. He was excatly the Haymich I imagined. The lank, greasy hair. The wry, drunken humor. Perfect. Really, they cast the movie wonderfully. And James Newton Howard's score tied everything up perfectly. I read that at one point Danny Elfman was going to score the film. I'm rather glad he didn't; it would have had a very different tone.
They left out very few details, and the only one I really missed was the gift of bread Katniss recieved from Rue's district after her death. And yes, I think there was an involuntary sob when she died.
I hope you read the books before you saw the movie. I hope you did both before reading this ramble.
I can hardly wait until Catching Fire comes to the screen.