I watched it this afternoon and I can say overall I agree with you Tani, it was a well made movie. They stayed true to the gist of the book - the loyalty, the revolution, the struggle, the spark. I also liked how they kind of kept giving us sneak peeks of the second movie. President Snow and Seneca Crane's "hope" and "underdog" scenes.
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were FLAWLESS. I'm in love with both of them. There couldn't be another Katniss and Peeta. They nailed their characters, totally loved them throughout.
Woody Harrelson was AMAZING as Haymitch. I mean, my God, this guy was hilarious!!! I totally loved his scenes and dialogues. In the beginning you could see the uncaring almost insensitive and detached Haymitch but then you could see how much he had begun to love Katniss and Peeta over time. Also his lines about making others like you and arrogance can kill you were pretty good. And "You keep the knife, the boy knows what he's doing" and "Peeta, you go, I'm trying to deliver you two in one piece tomorrow" were funny. Also the scene before the scores were revealed, hahaha Haymitch was hilarious. Also when he sends soup with the note "You call that a kiss?"
Elizabeth Banks as Effie and Stanley Tucci as Caesar were brilliant. "That's mahogany" hahahaha Elizabeth is awesome!
Now what I didn't like:
Hatmich's "Here's the advice: Stay alive" & Peeta knocking off Haymitch's drink part was left out. Yeah they showed a little bit of it but it was more in the book. And then Haymitch saying 'wow this time we actually have fighters' or something lie that. That was critical to show that unlike previous District 12 tributes, these two didn't accept their death sentence. They would do anything to survive.
They totally undermined Rue. HOW could they? She is such an essential part of the story. I wish they had given the two of them some more time together.. even the conversation about how their district is the agriculture district but they still don't get enough. They should've shown their bond developing, how she came to adore her just like her own sis Prim.
They totally underplayed the scene where Katniss finds Peeta. Beginning with "You here to finish me off sweetheart?" and then the whole thing about Katniss not knowing what to do with his wounds and then him saying "Remember we're madly in love so feel free to kiss me anytime" THAT was Peeta, finding humor in even the most intense situations.
And the whole cave scenes was a total disappointment :( I was expecting so much more. THAT was the part where Katniss and Peeta actually start bonding.. first it was all an act for Katniss but then how it changes to her actually loving him.
Also the whole part where Peeta just won't let her go and she has to make him drink the sleep syrup to go. That was essential. It showed how much Peeta actually loved her. He won't let her go in there, he'd follow her and die instead. Also Katniss was supposed to return injured and that's when Peeta takes care of her. They BOTH saved each other's lives.
The climax could have been a LOT better. They never explained the muttations clearly. Katniss also shoots an arrow at Cato right away. First, in the book the gamekeepers letting the muttations torture Cato showed how pathetic the capital is. And then when Katniss finally shoots an arrow that was because of pity not revenge.. that was never made clear.
Then when the 2 tributes could be winners rule change is revoked and Peeta throwing away his knife while Katniss aims at him part was left out. WHY? That again showed how much Peeta truly loves her. Also then she tries handing him the bow saying you shoot me and then live with it. And him saying my life is nothing without out. That was all essential! And I'm pissed that they left that part out. And then they actually stand their backs to each other, holding each other's hands when they are about to eat the nightlock.
When Haymitch tells Katniss about the whole defiance thing and that she needs to act liike a madly-in-love girl and then she asks if he has told Peeta that and Haymitch says 'he's already there.' Again, left out. Also when Katniss comes on stage launches herself at Peeta, he stumbles back a little but then wraps his hands around her tightly.Caesar tries to tap his shoulder but he shoves him back. I would NEVER forget that part in the book.. they totally left it out.
And then the MOST disappointing part was not showing Katniss' struggle. Peeta has NO idea she was acting throughout.. she tells him.. and then he's heart broken. And then when he holds her hand saying "one last time for the audience?" and she feels sad that the boy with the bread was already slipping away from her..
I am totally disappointed how they left out most of Katniss-Peeta's crucial parts. I was so looking forward to all those scenes. Anyway, over all a good movie but lacking quite a bit. I guess movies can never be as good as books.. but this one was not too bad.
Again I'd say the cast was brilliant - everyone was perfect in his/her roles. Gary Ross did a fantastic job.