*SPOILERS FOR THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES IN GENERAL*
But this movie BLEW me away.
I think this was the first time where I thought the YA movie was so much better than the YA book. The movie was able to bring back the heart of the story: standing up for what you believe in (to say it in a very broad manner...). I felt the book (s) lost that message, but this movie totally and completely brought it back.
As for the actors... I'm not a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence, but she was AMAZING as Katniss in this movie. She gave life to Katniss. In the previous movies, I didn't think she was anything incredible, but she nailed Katniss in this one. Josh Hutcherson wasn't really on screen most of the time, but when he was, he was pretty awesome as well; I noticed Liam Hemsworth improved a LOT. Apart from the main ones, the only other noteworthy actor I thought was Donald Sutherland, the evil President Snow. DANG. He KILLED it (pun totally intended).
Watching the movie, I realized how much the book(s) suffered because of Katniss' limited point of view. I personally love and prefer first person POV. I have nothing against third person point of view, but it's just a random personal preference. (Anyways, digressing...) Because of her first POV, we didn't really get details about the rebellions and the other movements. There would be one sentence descriptions telling us that there had been a rebellion- but that's if we got lucky. Most of the time, I was lost swirling through Katniss' scattered thoughts and the terrible love triangle. But in the movie, it included scenes from the actual rebellions and also a lot of the behind the scenes action that Katniss in the book couldn't have possibly seen. It gave me chills to watch those scenes unfold and to see the passion of these people fighting for justice.
Lastly, there was NO focus on the love triangle. If there was even the slightest bit of focus, it would mostly be about her relationship with Gale as a friend. Actually, anything that had to do with relationships in the movie was nothing of the romantic sort (well... except for literally ONE scene). I loved how the movie explored and emphasized her relationship with the people she was standing for. This was what the books had lost- and this was what the movie brought back.
I totally recommend people to see the movie. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the second part keeps the messages and heart of the first one. All in all, this one movie (well, 2 part-movie) was able to say what three books couldn't.
Thanks for reading!