While I disagree with the YA genre for the Hunger Games, on the basis of graphic violence rather than the usual idiocy about what kids know about sex and relationships by their early teens, it is a great series. The first novel stands firmly by itself, albeit a bit of a teaser at the end. What gave the book depth and the main characters power, at least for me, was the backstory: why the hunger, how cutting the deprivation, how evil the Pan Em Capital really was.
Give costuming its due: the frippery of the capital residents, their gaudy couture , awkward, vain hair & makeup
Translating this book to a movie reminded me how the movie industry has come to see these movies. Parse out all the plot lines, keeping all but the vivid or book-memorable ones. Discard extraneous characters, scenes. Seeing the movie last night gave me a hollowed-out visual to go with the book in my mind. Casting did a great job on the visuals for the lead actors, but, had I not read the book, I doubt I’d have caught the Depression Era costuming of the Districts. Aside from a one-line homage to Katniss’ backstory with her mother, or one nightmare glimpse of a mine explosion, entire sources of power that give Katniss her survival power and personal integrity disappear. As a result she appears much more the contrary teen than an empowered, angry, focused young woman.
I give it a 7/10 on the “fun at the movies” scale. I’m sure the sequels will be as beautiful. But hopefully better informing us of their inner strengths and motivations, and less of the jiggly camera stuff.