While I didn't hate the movie entirely, I did feel that something was lost in the translation to the big screen. I think the movie creators tried so hard to stay true to the plot line, which they did, that they over looked a lot of the little things that made the book great. The pacing of the movie was off. The action in the book moves the story along and before you know it you've read chapter after chapter and you didn't want to stop. I didn't get that in the movie. The movie also lost the humor that was in the book. Collins put some great one liners in the book you couldn't help but chuckle and I think that's what made the book so good was that in the midst of all this drama was a bit of fun.
The relationships in the movie was so rushed. If you didn't read the book, I can image you would wonder why Katniss cried so hard when Rue died or why Gale was so upset about the "relationship" between Katniss and Peeta. Or even the dynamics of Katniss and Peeta in general. At the end of the day, the book was more than just about kids killing kids, it was also about human relationships and connections in a society that governed almost everything else in your life. I will say that they did do a good job in showing the relationship of Katniss and Prim. After all, it's this relationship that puts Katniss on her current path.
One another good note, I did like the actors they picked to play these characters. I think Jennifer Lawrence was awesome as Katniss and, surprisingly enough, I even liked Lenny Kravits as Cinna. What they did with some of these characters, however, was a whole other story.
Ok, now for my list. Here are the things that were different from book to movie:
1) Peeta. This is by far my biggest gripe with this movie. I liked Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, but what I didn't like was what they did to the character of Peeta. For starters, they made him wimpy. Peeta is a sensitive character in the book, true, but he also had a strong side to him, one that didn't show in this movie adaptation. I don't remember him crying in the book on the way to the train. Did I just miss that? They also took out his humor and charisma. Peeta has so many good one liners in the book. And the whole point to his character is that he has a way with words, something that becomes an asset in the second book. His interview with Caesar is the most successful out of all the tributes because of his charisma and I felt like it was lost in the movie. I could go on, but I'm going to stop here.
2) The Ending. This is my second gripe. I really don't like the ending. For starters, they totally "happy ended" it. The book ends with tension between Peeta and Katniss. Something that you knew was going to be further explored in the 2nd book. They also took out the fact that Peeta looses his leg and when Katniss and Peeta are taken into the hover craft at the end, Peeta collapses and is taken off for medical attention. Katniss goes crazy worrying about him. Then there's the run on stage when Katniss sees him again for the first time after the arena and she's just filled with this genuine emotion despite her fighting it throughout the entire games. Those are just a few of the moments that she shows true emotion for Peeta that has nothing to do with the trying to win the games. EW did a great description of this ending as well. I recommend checking it out.
3) Haymitch. Again, I liked Woody for this, but didn't like the character changes. They took away all of his drunken stupor. The whole point to Haymitch is that he has PTSD from his experience in the games and you don't get that in the movie. He proves that even after you win, the games still effects you and control your life. I'm also not sure I liked that it was Haymitch that came up with the idea to protect "young love", which in turned caused Seneca to trick Katniss in to thinking she and Peeta could win together.
4) The significance of the Mockingjay. What I did like was having Caesar explain some of the details of the arena, for example tracker jackers, so that way those that didn't read the book would know what certain things were. What I don't get is why they didn't do that for Mockinjays. This creature becomes a huge deal in the remaining books, that now those that didn't read the books won't get it. I'm just hoping they explain it in the second movie.
5) The Cave Scene. This was a scene I was so looking forward to seeing and was so disappointed about. I understand that they can't show everything from the cave, but some of what they took out, so should have stayed. For example, the fact that Katniss practically drugged Peeta so she can get the medicine for him from the Cornucopia. It's things like this that start to bring Katniss down off the pedestal that Peeta has her up on. Also, when she returns to the cave, she passes out from the cut on her face that Clove gave her and it's was Peeta's turn to take care of her. It showed the give and take in their relationship. I also thought the kiss between them was to swoon worthy. The kiss was Katniss' attempt at trying to get sponsors to help them. Hence the "you call that a kiss" note from Haymitch when she gives Peeta a peck on the cheek. Which I did like in the movie. I liked the notes that were in the parachutes Haymitch left for Katniss. In the book, it was all in Katniss' head. Again, I could go on, but I'm going to stop here.
In general, like I said, I didn't hate the movie. I was just expecting more. Maybe the second book will bring back the things that made the books work. Here's hoping. The second movie is already scheduled to come out November 2013.