Note: Don't read this if you haven't seen the movie yet.
I wasn't going to go to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games since I couldn't find anyone else who wanted to go, and I also had a Journal Club presentation the next day at my lab. So on the evening of the 22nd, I sat down to work in a cafe, and after an hour of work and two or three hours of procrastination, I knew that I wouldn't be able to get anything done if I didn't see this movie. So I ended up buying a ticket at one of the only nearby theaters that still had open seats.
The theater turned out to be tiny, which wasn't a problem, as there were only about twenty people there. (Kind of defeats the purpose of a premiere. I was hoping for a huge crowd of people going nuts and dressing up and maybe even screaming and cheering throughout the movie. Though I did get a very good seat without having to show up four hours in advance.)
As for the movie:
Better than the book.
The movie is never better than the book. Unless, of course, the book sucked. (The Two Towers. Don't hate me.) But not only was it really well-made, with very good actors, but it actually improved on a lot of stuff from the book.
What I liked:
-Despite having read the book twice and knowing what was going to happen, I was still paralyzed with fear when Katniss was going up the glass tube. That's how good the acting was.
-Did anyone else notice the way, through the first half of the movie, the camera moved really fast? You observe the rush of everything just how Katniss sees it.
-The movie definitely caught the superficiality of everything, as well as Katniss' constant feeling of being trapped.
-Seneca Crane and President Snow: Seneca Crane (and his beard) got a LOT of screentime. I loved seeing the games from their perspective, and how they're simultaneously trying to give everyone a good show while quelling any rebellion.
-District 11's rebellion. Enough said.
-Haymitch -- hilarious. I especially loved the part where he and Katniss are laughing about the pig scene.
-Fight with Clove -- One of the things that bothered me about the book was the way Clove's sadism turned into an excuse to keep Katniss alive. This was much less of a problem in the movie.
-Cato's lament at the end. It really captured his human, vulnerable side.
What I didn't like:
-Gale: He was the only actor who didn't nail his part down.
-Rushed feeling of the Games: This was especially a problem with the Katniss/Rue scenes. I never really got the sense that they realistically bonded.
-Thresh and Cato: I really, really wanted to see this fight. Why, why, WHY couldn't they put this is the movie?
-Effie: In the book, she's superficial, but you can also see the way she develops a fondness for Katniss and Peeta. In the movie, she's just superficial.
Did you see the movie? What did you think? If you wrote a review, feel free to link to it in the comments.