Above all, I just didn't think the movie conveyed Katniss' sense of desperation. The book very clearly shows why she is the self-sufficient person she is today. After her father died, she had to take over as family provider, because her mom just shut down and because of that, she and her mom have this strained relationship. The book makes her mom out to be a lot more sympathetic... she runs the apothecary and mixes home remedies to help the injured. In the movie, she's just this stoic bitch who can't even be bothered to cry when her one daughter gets picked and her other daughter departs in her place. I really loved how the book explored Katniss' character, and why she learned to hunt and take care of herself and her sister.
I'm usually accepting of the fact that movies don't allow for as much in-depth characterization and background information as the books on which they're based, but I do agree with you about Katniss's mom coming off as merely cold rather than someone who suffered from debilitating depression but who, like Prim, cared about helping and healing others. And, speaking of Prim, she was one of the very few characters who felt 'off' to me in the movie as compared to how I'd envisioned them while reading the books. Book Prim had a gentle courage and endearing sweetness, while Movie Prim came across as merely dour to me (not that she didn't have more than enough to be justifiably about dour about!) I'm thinking maybe the actress just didn't quite work for me. Granted, we saw very, very little of Prim or her mom in this film, so I'll be interested to see how they're depicted throughout the rest of the trilogy.
I agree with those who feel Peeta didn't come across as quite as charismatic in the movie. As much as I admire Katniss, I actually found Peeta the most layered and compelling character of the books: he was a very 'real' person to me, with clearly defined strengths and flaws, a wonderful blend of gentleness and strength, a guy who in some ways possessed more stereotypically 'feminine' traits than Katniss (a gentle lover of art and beauty, a baker and nurturer, more social skills and 'emotional intelligence'), yet was undeniably masculine as well. Again, I don't expect movies to give us characterizations as complex and layered as what we get in novels, but I suppose it was inevitable that Movie Peeta would feel like a slight letdown to me. I did like him---a whole lot, in fact. I just also feel he paled in comparison to the Peeta we got in the books.
All that said, I liked the movie a great deal. I love the insight another poster gave us about how the book and movie serve to complement each other. And ITA that Jennifer Lawrence's performance was Oscar-worthy. When we first learned JL had been cast, I glanced at her picture and thought, "Eh, I'm not sure I can envision her in that role..." But from the very first second she appeared on screen, she was Katniss for me. Her expressions, movement, line delivery, etc. were note perfect for me.
The discussions on this thread make me want to reread the trilogy as much as it makes me want to rewatch the movie!
Edited by MsTaken, Sep 18, 2012 @ 4:24 PM.