Last week I wasn't even familiar with this book series or the hype, but my wife mentioned maybe going to see it in a store, and as I passed by some books I quickly read the book cover, and was intrigued by the whole idea. So I made sure I didn't go to any wiki or anything, so I could take in the movie for itself. I was hopeful that since it was such a long movie, justice would be given to the story and books.
I actually at first thought the filming at the beginning was kind of weak. It did the whole shaky, handheld cam thing. Either I got used to it, or they went with normal filming as it progressed. Maybe it was a presentation thing to try and capture some of the book description (I haven't read anything yet).
Overall, I thought it was a great movie. Not epic, but I don't think the story is one of those kinds (like LOTR). I can't think right off of any plot point or something that didn't make sense or that I didn't understand what was going on.
And here's spoilers....
I thought the beginning of the game succeeded. You even knew what was going to happen from the warning to Katniss not to go to the center, and still, it was very disturbing, not so much graphically, the gore wasn't that bad, but the part of kids being forced into that situation.
I don't know if it's intentional, but I like how she was presented at first as an excellent archer, but at two points she missed her first shot. I thought it helped to show that she was just a girl in a bad setting, not some super hero.
The portrayal of the Capital population as overly "fake" was effective. There were many times where she played along with the act (or was confused by their behavior) that I wanted her to scream "what's wrong with you people?". But again, she was just a smart and ordinary kid who was trapped in this mess that had gone on so long that it was deemed normal. At least to the ones in power.
I do wonder (not reading anything yet) if her other friend back at District 12 thought any different of her since she was forced (or maybe grew) into liking Peeta during the games, and obviously at some point he reacted to them kissing, and yet at the end, it seemed he was accepting of her being back. Perhaps something for the next movie to add tension, as they didn't show them actually meeting, just her return.
Few movies get applause at the end. This one did at my viewing, and I don't think that had anything to do with it being filmed here in NC. It will be interesting if it gets what the LOTR got at its sequels....applause at the beginning.