I love weekends like the one we just had, when there is a burst of energy blazing through the movie blogging community over a single release. It's a rare treat that only a highly anticipated film can provide. We let everyone know when we'll be seeing it, what our expectations are and finally, if they were met. And love the film or hate it, this energy brings us together far better than something like Wrath of the Titans or Mirror Mirror.
I mention this only because it's the foundation on which my memory of a movie like The Hunger Games is based, and why I could never give it a fair shake in the first place. I knew walking into the theater I would love it. It didn't have to be a perfect film, but as long as it was an adequate adaptation then I was sold. And that's exactly what happened, because it's weekends like these that make seeing a film an experience instead of just another screening.
The Hunger Games is not a masterpiece, but I still think it's a very good movie and adaptation of Suzanne Collins' brutal look at kids being forced to kill each other for national entertainment. It has flaws, particularly the overuse of shaky cam, lack of backstory in this dystopian world, and a rushed feeling of trying to get everything crammed into the two and half hour runtime. But it does more in getting things right.
I don't think a single character was miscast (even Harry Potter can't brag about that), and all the performances, were at least admirable, particularly from so many relative unknowns. The decision to incorporate the Games control room and head gamemaker Seneca Crane actually added a layer of depth to the Capitol and the Games themselves, since the entire book is merely from our heroine Katniss's point of view. And the darker scenes were handled with expert care so that the parents of the target demographic could enjoy the film with their kids and hopefully forgo any nightmares.
Of course the book is better. How many times can you say the reverse? (I can only think of two.) However, The Hunger Games can stand alone as a fine beginning to what will hopefully be an exceptional franchise, providing several more weekends with this energy that unites as film fans.