Overall I thought the movie was acceptable. There is ALWAYS a let-down when you have read the books first and then see the movie. There is no way they can include every minute detail (although I would happily sit through and pay for a movie that held all of the little insignificant parts of my favorite books).
I thought the casting was good, Katniss looked exactly as I pictured her. Initially I thought the actors playing Peeta and Gale should have been reversed, but I think they played their characters well. It helps that they read the books before portraying them (unlike a certain twilight movie I won't mention) so they knew the personalities. I thought even the secondary characters were cast perfectly, such as Prim, Rue, President Snow, Cinna, Haymitch, etc.
They changed some things that I thought did not need to be changed (i.e., how Katniss got the mockingjay pin). And I was very disappointed in how the political plot was hardly even mentioned in the movie. In fact, after talking it over with Jason (who hasn't read the books) he didn't see ANY political innuendos and stated it would have been much better had they explained it better. He also thought that Katniss had genuine feelings for Peeta at the end, which isn't exactly true.
The relationship between Peeta and Katniss was not developed very well, and in my opinion was not convincing at all when it came time for Katniss to play it up for the cameras. I know in the books it was a hard thing for her to do, but I thought it was supposed to at least be convincing for the capitol folks. Maybe it is just because I knew the truth, haha.
The most annoying thing about the movie as an entire piece of work, was that the camera moved so much I couldn't tell what was going on half the time. I hate that! When there are choreographed fight scenes, the audience should be able to see it!
Although this review sounds rather negative, I have seen worse books-to-movies (once again, a certain twilight move I won't mention, haha - in it's defense, the franchise has gotten better as it goes along). I do believe that reading a book and then seeing a movie automatically sets it up for disappointment, so I had that going against it from the beginning. But simply as a movie, I think I would have enjoyed it even if I hadn't known the back story. I am interested to see how the next two books will be done and will definitely see them when those movies come out.
Disclaimer: do NOT take your children to see this, it is very violent and not for young viewers.
I would love to hear other reviews! :D