Once I read the book I totally wanted to see the movie. I did not, however, want to battle opening weekend crowds. I was also a little worried about the violence and certain scenes, but it was fine. I only closed my eyes once.
I also asked my husband if he would be interested in seeing it and he said he would. It is very rare when we can both agree on a movie lol. He did not want to battle crowds, either. We originally decided to go 2 weeks later, but after opening weekend and the positive reviews from friends I was anxious to go. So we saw it Friday night. We got there early and got good seats. It was a good thing as the theatre was packed!
We saw it at Seth Childs Carmike Theatre in Manhattan. The doors of the theatre entrance were painted with the woods and said "Welcome to the 74th Hunger Games. The world will be watching". Over the ticket window it said "May the odds be ever in your favor". Then at the next set of doors it said "Welcome to Panem". There was other stuff in the lobby and then the theatre we saw it in was 1 so it said District 1. It was really cool.
Now, on to the movie. I loved it. TJ really liked it, too, because he said he would see it again. In some ways I liked it better than the book. It sticks to the basic plot and incorporates a lot, but also adds some stuff like you get to see the actual gamemakers and some of the stuff they are doing, exchanges between President Snow and head gamemaker Seneca Crane which really shows you the influence the president has (this will be important in the next movies). Of course, not everything in the book is included and a few things are changed or done differently, but I think the movie holds its own very well. What I liked better about the movie is some of the visuals you just can't get from the book. Like the beginning of the games where some of the kids are killed right off and you see them lying there dead. It was much more powerful to me than reading about it. Also, seeing Katniss' fear before she enters the tube and as it ascends to the arena hit me hard. And the visual of the people in the capitol!! It reminded me very much of the masquerade scene in Phantom of the Opera. All color and spectacle. I would have LOVED to have been an extra in those scenes!
Then there were the characters. All the actors were just perfect (of course I had already seen them before reading the book so that is who I envisioned anyway). I think the most awesome casting was that of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. I did not know that before reading the book. They could not have cast that character more perfectly. I also think Stanley Tucci captured the character of Cesar Flickerman exactly. I loved that they expanded the character to have him give commentary on the games.
Now let's talk about Peeta. I do not like Peeta. I did not like him in the book and I did not like him in the movie. I have heard here and there that people were not happy with the casting of Josh Hutcherson in the role, but I thought he was great. I still did not like the character, but he was great in the role. I think if he had changed the way I felt about him then it would have not been good. I think he played him exactly as he was in the book. I am just one of the very few people who do not like him lol. Gale all the way!! Liam Hemsworth was great in that role. I am looking forward to seeing more of him in the next movie.
I was quite surprised of the casting of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. I had no idea he could act! He was great, though. And Jennifer Lawrence was a wonderful Katniss. I know people had reservations about her as well (she's really a blond!!), but she was awesome. I also liked Rue and Prim and Donald Sutherland was terrifying as President Snow.
My favorite character by far, though, is Effie Trinket. I love everything about her -- her name, her outfits, her hair and crazy makeup. And most of all her voice and the funny things she says. It is a very serious movie and she provides the perfect amount of comic relief. Elizabeth Banks really did a great job of bringing that character to life. I totally want to be Effie Trinket for Halloween. Do you think they will have a costume for her???
I really liked the movie and highly recommend it. Even if you have not read the books(my husband didn't and he enjoyed it). I also recommend reading the books lol.
Also, as a side note, I had very weird and vivid dreams the night I saw this, influenced by the movie. Not exactly that I was in the hunger Games, but elements were there. I do not think any other movie has had that kind of effect on me.