By now, most of you have already seen this movie. It is currently the third highest grossing film of all time, behind the last Harry Potter and The Dark Night, as it should be. But I still wanted to put my two sense in because this movie had me more excited than any movie had in a long, long time. I think the movie I looked forward to the most prior to this one was Black Swan. And I was way more excited about Hunger Games, as I am a huge fan of the novels. I could NOT WAIT to see it.

As I read the first book last year, I was blown away by the suspense, the adventure, the thrilling feeling I had with each page. I think part of what makes the story so wonderful is protagnonists as empowing and interesting as Katniss don’t come along that often. And she makes the perfect lead character for a blockbuster movie. Another element that makes the books and the movie so fascinating is the dystopian society that Suzanne Collins created, with the extremes between the different ways of life and the insane rules and regulations that citizens are made to follow. As of right now, I have completed two of the three books. The last one will have to wait because I am not ready to see how Katniss and the rest of the compelling characters conclude their journeys.

The movie did not disappoint those of us who had read the books. I had the opposite reaction. I thought it was incredible. The far-out future world was portrayed expertly in the movie. I have heard some critiques in that there wasn’t “enough hunger” in “The Hunger Games.” They may have avoided talking about how starved the districts were, and they did ignore the fact that Katniss almost died from thirst during the games (as well as the fact that she lost hearing in one ear when she blew up the Career’s supplies). But the movie showed the energies of the different places, the poverty of the districts and the excessive greed of the Capitol, with excellent details and costumes.

I had also read that the movie lost some of Peeta‘s edge, that he was a nice guy, softy type. I disagree. I think the movie showed that Peeta’s gift is his ability to manipulate others with words. He has the gift of gab, if you will.  His ability to effect people with his words becomes a bigger part of the puzzle in future books. The second book touches on how powerful he could be with his verbal abilities. I do wish the movie had included a conversation between Peeta and Katniss about why Peeta teamed up with the Careers. Katniss seemed to get over it pretty quickly. But he was able to spare his life by convincing the Careers that he could help them, showing that Peeta will do what he has to do to survive, same as Katniss. I was skeptical of Josh Hutchinson because he looks nothing like the picture of Peeta I had in my head while reading. I sorta pictured Hunter Parish (Silas from Weeds), who’s taller, blonder, cuter than Josh Hutchinson (see photo below). But Josh did a great job and certainly brought the soulfulness of Peeta to the screen.

I’m looking forward to more Gale in the future movies. Liam Helmsworth is quite the hottie. Nice work, Miley. However, he looks about 26 as opposed to 18. Craig also thought Jennifer Lawrence looked way older than the young, ripe age of 16. I completely agree. But this actress was remarkable and as great an incarnation of Katniss as one could hope for. No disrespect to Ms. Lawrence, I just also thought that Hailee Steinfeld, from True Grit would have been a good Katniss (see photo below). She is actually 16 right now too.

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinkett, and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna were all wonderful. Wes Bentley was perfect as Seneca Crane too. The casting in general was stellar.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I suggest you quickly read the book in the next few weeks and then see the movie. As my bible, Entertainment Weekly said, the movie shows you how but the book shows you why. The only thing the movie lacks is a running commentary of what Katniss is feeling, the fear, the adrenaline, the thirst, and yes,the hunger. I had wondered if there would be a voice-over element since the book has you sitting inside her head the entire time. But the movie captures, through the sets and the wonderful performances of the actors, the emotions, the intensity, and the thrilling suspense of the story.  You must see this movie on the big screen.

I can’t wait for Catching Fire, opening Nov 22, 2013. Begin the countdown!  (speaking of countdowns, the countdown to the beginning of the games in the movie was so chilling and friggin intense!)