So, I went to see The Hunger Games with a few companions this past weekend. I found it to be an overall emotionally fulfilling experience. It didn't quite match my vision from reading the books, but it came closer than most of the Harry Potter films to matching the world that the author had created.
I read the books when I worked at Borders. We were going to have a book club events for them and I was the most likely candidate for hosting them. I'd been procrastinating about reading them, I got about 20 "You must read this book!" recommendations a day. Even I'm not that good no matter how hard I try, so they languished in my ever expanding 'to read' list until someone in the corporate office bumped it up in priority for me. I do not regret my procrastination. If I had read it when it was suggested originally, I would have had to wait years to finish the trilogy and might have just died of anticipation. As it was I had to wait three weeks for Mockingjay to come out and that was torturous!
I did not reread before I saw the film. I know many did (including Kristen Cashore, who wrote a very good blog about her reread, sparking my desire to reread her own books before Bitterblue comes out in May. So excited!) but I felt no over whelming compulsion to reread them whatsoever, so I read books that I had never read before instead.
All that being said, the film captured the feel of books flawlessly without having the advantage of taking place as a first person narrative. I did have to explain a few details to one companion who did not read the book because they were a little vague, but they were periphery details for the most part.
The world itself didn't quite match my vision. District 12 was a little less Depression era and a little more forced conformity, in my mind. Other areas were really enriched for me, I loved seeing the people of the Capitol, and the costumes were fantastic and came across as abundantly right.
Lenny Kravitz did not ruin the movie. I had been more than a little concerned. I love my rock stars as much as the next girl, but mostly they should stay on stage and out of films except for tiny cameos. I would have even been happy to see a little more of him to be honest.
There were a few changes to the actual story that stood out. The origin of the mockingjay pin is different, which seems like a time saver more than anything else. I guess some things had to give to make the book fit into the much shorter movie. I will miss the back story of it that shows up in Catching Fire.
Want to know what it is? You'll have to read the book, I'm not telling.
The other bit that they changed is super spoilery so I can't tell you what it is. If you come in on a Thursday when Vickie isn't here (or if she'd just read them already!) we can talk about it. Until then, my editor and overlord has forbade me from writing things that will ruin the story for her and I must oblige, as she is after all the Literary Overlord and must be obeyed.
Any how, I'm getting rambley. The bookseller verdict is, read the book because books are always a good use of time, but if you really feel no compulsion to do so you can watch the movie and be okay.