I also went to see the Hunger Games and I was extremely disappointed. However, I can’t decide how much of it was because I had read the book first or just because it was a relatively weak movie with a rapid pace and a lot of action to make up for the near complete lack of any character development. The characters were allowed to grow and change in the book, which itself also had a strong story but very poor writing, but the movie left everyone one dimensional, including the main heroine Katniss.
The fact that nearly all my favorite portions of the book, and about the only ones that weren’t written on a sixth grade reading level, were left out. The struggle of Katniss and Peeta against the elements in the tournament is a huge, HUGE point in the book and it’s never touched upon in the movie, not even once.
I can understand leaving things out and compressing things when you need to cut time, but the overall length of the film was BARELY two hours. They could have fleshed out the characters and plot better without compromising on several important parts of the book. Just by cutting a few points out, they really killed the growth and development of everyone and they were all virtually the same people leaving the games as they were entering. They went through life and body altering events, yet they seemed completely unaffected by them at the end of the movie.
It wasn’t a bad movie by any means, but it was fairly average. It definitely did not deserve all the hype or glowing reviews it got. I think if I hadn’t read the book first, I may have been able to overlook some of the issues and the movie certainly does have it’s strong points. It does have some impressive cinematography, though if you aren’t a fan of the gritty, realistic style in lower budget films or shows like Battlestar Galactica, I would probably steer clear or at least sit further back in the theater. The pacing was very rapid, which is why things like character development take a back seat. The film also shows the behind the scenes events that are left out in the first book, though apparently explored in later ones, and that does help with the understanding of events. It is also cast quite well, though they could have spent a little money trying to make it no so obvious that not a single actor was sporting their natural hair color. And I’m not talking about the pinks and blues. I mean the browns and blondes sported by the leads. The lead actress also did an amazing job as Katniss, despite a fairly crippled script. I would love to see what she could have done had she had been able to play a character that actually grows and changes.
Anyway, sorry for the long review. In short, I was very disappointed and would have likely been that way whether or not I read the books. I just think having already read them made it even worse. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s nothing amazing either. Keep your expectations in line and you should be okay. You could see a lot worse for $8, or whatever theaters charge where you live.