I actually enjoyed the movie far more than I did the books. The adaptation for the big screen cut out a lot of the more grating elements of the story, the endless soul searching and whinging spring to mind. What’s left is a leaner, meaner and simpler story that knows exactly what plot points it has to hit and does so almost without fail.
I’m insanely curious what an audience who’s never read the books would make of this movie. For me the two properties worked well in tandem, the books informing the film version about all the unspoken undercurrents in Katniss’s internal monologuing as well as the burgeoning love triangle between herself, Peeta and Gale. (Spoiler’s sweetie) Would a virgin watcher pick up on that same triangle and other character nuances? Or would they be shocked if they saw the movie first and then had the blanks filled in for them after the fact?
But more importantly, besides wisely choosing to downplay or leave certain material out, every time the movie added a scene or element that wasn’t in the books it vastly improved the finished product. Freed from the blinkered perspective of Katniss’s narration, peripheral characters were better developed and fleshed out, motivations became clearer and causality within the story vastly strengthened.
All my quibbles about this film are minor ones (super baker camouflage power!) and largely open to conversations about artistic interpretation rather than an intense analysis of what worked and what didn’t.