The Hunger Games - This turned out to be a very good companion to the book. I say companion because of the differing perspectives. With the book being in first person we are given a decidedly limited view of the goings on in Panem. The nice thing about the movie is that we are able to see what was going on outside of Katniss' viewpoint. We see more of the Capitol, and the denizens therein, which helps to flesh out the world.
The movie, despite being a daunting 2hr and 22min, moved along at a very brisk pace. Events that took weeks or months in the book, seemed to happen overnight here. This kind of threw me off at first, but I understood why they did it. You still get the general idea of of what's going on, including the rift between the Capitol and the districts. District 12 really feels like a 3rd world country. Then we see how the Capitol people are living, and it's obvious something is very wrong here. The parallels to our modern world and obvious, but still relevant.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was fantastic. This I expected. I thought Woody made a good Haymitch, and Elizabeth Banks seemed to be having fun with Effie. Cinna totally got the short end of the stick, though. he's barely shown, and not developed at all. We get no feel for the closeness between him and Katniss. Hopefully, part 2 will rectify this, otherwise a certain scene won't be as powerful as it could be.
I did not like the two guys who played Peeta and Gale. Neither of them are particularly good at acting, and they just reek of generic white male syndrome. Hopefully CF will fix this.
It was filmed in a very realistic, almost "reality tv" manner, and it fit well. The soundtrack threw me off a few times, with, IMHO, poor chosen background music, but for the most part it was just there.
I was baffled by a few changes they made from the book. Namely how the Mockingjay pin was obtained. Why change that? Odd.
Overall, a surprisingly good movie that I might even appreciate more upon a second viewing, as I was comparing it to the book too much in my head. I look forward to seeing what they do with Catching Fire.