It. Was. Incredible.
A truly, truly great movie, regardless of whether you have read the books or not. There were a few things that as a reader of the book(s) that I 'knew' that those who had not read them wouldn't necessarily know or understand, but nothing that would take away from the non-reader completely enjoying this movie. I am so glad that they made this movie 2.5 hours long. Had it been 2 hours, so much would have been lost. So so so much!
This is BY FAR the best adaptation of a book to film that I have ever read/watched and there have been a lot in my days...
The cinematography was terrifying.
Without spoiling anything, here are some of the specific things I noted: I cried during the Reaping scene because I was so nervous and could so easily empathize with the children. I was like wth? Crying already? Thankfully there was only one other time that I cried, and it was tiny tears both times. :O)
The Capitol citizens looked garish and dramatic but not cheesy. I thought every single person cast was SPOT ON for the character. The only one I was a bit taken by was the choice for Rue. I didn't get from the book that District 11 was predomoniately African American, so that kinda threw me for a bit.
When in the training arena, before the Games, it all so reminded me of CrossFit. Seriously. Functional fitness and skill at its core.
Tracker Jackers were so much smaller than I imagined them; I thought they would be the size of baseballs and mechanical-looking.
The Katniss/Peeta dynamic was spot-on. Also, the actress that plays Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is a really amazing performer. From the moment I knew she was cast for Katniss, I knew from seeing her in Winters Bone that she was absolutely PERFECT for this role.
No awkward Bella-from-Twilight moments (not that I have seen any of the Twilight movies, but I have seen enough of the clips to know the actors, especially KS as Bella leave a LOT to be desired. I actually watched 10 min of Twilight last night as it was on FX and its 10 min of my life I will never get back...tragic indeed).
I absolutely love the Gale character and knew he wouldn't be that much of a part of the first movie, but I think they did a great job with showing who he is as a person, his relationship with Katniss, and his vulnerability as to his 'true' feelings as they emerge watching her throughout the Games.
When Katniss was being transported into the arena, she was trembling so violently that I really believe it was happening to her – the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength. It was so amazing that I actually lost myself in that moment and was so terrified for her it was uncanny.
The ending? Well had I not read the book(s), knowing what I know as the story picks up in Catching Fire, I would have been that person sitting there going wtf? Thats how it ends?!?!??!?!?!? Buuuuuuuuuut knowing what I know, it was perfectly ended...President Snow....pondering....
I am actually going again this coming weekend. I have to see it again! I was so caught up in the moments of the entire film, making sure that I was soaking it all in, that I now just want to go back and enjoy it in all its glory!
Only one movie (that I can recall) that I have ever paid to see twice at the theatre: Dark Knight
I'm already excited to go see it this weekend again!