I bought my Hunger Games movie tickets almost two weeks before the opening date, and I'm glad I did as the theatre was sold out. We went to the new AVX theatre that has a wall to wall screen, 7.1 digital surround sound and reclining leather seats. Even if the movie had sucked, the theater experience was great!
I want to note that I read the whole book in a rush, the day before and day of the movie. I think it's important because I had a strong memory of the book and had no trouble picking out the differences between the two. I felt that the movie did a great job of keeping the story moving and the selected actors and actresses did a great job portraying the characters. the star of the movie, Jennifer Lawrence (played Mystique in X-Men: First Class) played the main character, Katniss and could not have been better. I was surprised to see Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, but he was very convincing throughout all of his scenes.
I think the biggest problem with the movie is that I had read the book first. The movie skipped over a lot of important content and actually changed events to keep the flow going. This isn't uncommon with movie adaptations but I would have rather had the movie extended 25-30 minutes to get more story.
The books target audience was teenagers and young adults and the movie delivered to them as well. I would have liked to see the rated R version of the movie as it was short on scenes of struggle and given that it had a high body count, their was almost no blood.
Overall the movie was solid, very entertaining and I bet people are going to really like it. I wouldn't say the book was better but the movie was missing some important pages from the book.
In one word, the Hunger Games was: Exhilarating