Well, the first Movie Event of the year was The Hunger Games, and good for it. I did the whole thing--bought advance tickets, got to the theater an hour early to wait in line, cried a bit. Overall, I thought the movie was a fully faithful to the book and contained stirring, engaging performances.
The first thing I noticed as I waited in line was the span of ages. Sure, roughly half of the audience was under the age of fourteen--and that's fine. After all, the novel IS a young adult book. Still, there were older couples, older teens, twenty somethings without kids--it was all in all a pretty diverse audience, age-wise. The next thing I noticed was that even among the younger audiences, girls only outnumbered boys by a little. To me, that's just fantastic. The Hunger Games may not be for everyone but at least we don't have to hear complaints that it's just for girls. A strong female protagonist naturally engages more girls than boys, while a strong male protagonist is more likely to appeal to both. Maybe The Hunger Games is showing a turn of the tide.
On the other hand, maybe I'm giving it too much credit. Perhaps we'll see.
As far as the film itself goes, what is there to say that hasn't been said already? Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic. The Capitol was callous and gorgeous. I really enjoyed the added scenes--the small snippets we didn't get in the book. Of all characters, Seneca Crane probably benefited the most by these additions. President Snow will get his chance in future movies, as will Haymitch. But between scenes with these two characters and the Gamemaking room, Seneca (and his beard) really comes into his own in a way he didn't in the books. I also liked the addition of the District 11 scene. Having the book from Katniss's perspective made the action more immediate, but the movie had a little room to breathe and took advantage of it.
As I said, there's little to more I can add to the discussion of The Hunger Games--so much has already been written. But I must say, I'm on a winning streak for movies this year. Even those which I liked a little less than others were still not bad. Here's hoping it continues.