First and foremost I give kudos to the representation of the different Districts. District 12 is bleak with an overall greyish and bland quality to it. You can practically feel the economic hardships they're going through. The Capitol is the complete opposite with its bright colors, not only in the resident's styles but with everything in the city itself. These are clearly the rich with no worries about hardships. These settings perfectly convey Ms. Collins' verbal descriptions and bring forth the bigger political issues.
By and large I found the casting to be spot on with a small criticism being leveled towards Josh Hutcherson (who plays Peeta). But let's first rave about Jennifer Lawrence (who plays Katniss) and her beautiful balance of kick ass and caring. She's the perfect story heroine brought to life and puts the Twilight series Bella to shame. THIS is who young girls should aspire to be and admire! She was tough with a cool exterior one minute and showing a highly emotional side the next. The scene involving the death of Rue brought tears to my eyes once again and brought a moment of humanity to the barbarism of the Games. Woody Harrelson brought some much needed humor to the film and his interactions with Jennifer provided some wonderfully sarcastic bantering. Lenny Kravitz was the biggest surprise bringing some coolness and subtle support in his role of Cinna. Donald Sutherland does his usual great acting in the role of President Snow and flows easily between politically charasmatic and creepy. Even the acting from those playing the other tributes was nicely done with the actress playing Rue (Amandla Stenberg) leaving the longest impression. I don't really have much to say about Liam Hemsworth (Gale) since he plays such a small part in this movie. We'll see how he does when given more meatier material later on. With such a strong heroine it's a shame that Josh can't quite keep up. He always felt like a pale shadow when standing next to Jennifer. I'm not sure if that's more of an interpretation of the character of Peeta or just weaker acting. Again, we'll have to see how he handles what befalls his character as the series progresses.
This movie definitely lived up to all the hype and I'm excited to see how the next book will translate to the big screen. I have high hopes that those who haven't yet read the series will see this and read this amazingly written series of books. Seeing it is wonderful but reading it brings in so many extra layers that make this dystopian world even more intriguing.
My rating for this is an A!