Up For Discussion: THE HUNGER GAMES

It's gonna be big this weekend. Have you seen it? Spoilery discussion within!

I just came back from seeing The Hunger Games a second time, and I liked it more than the first time. Interestingly I ended up liking the first half better than the second this  time, and it was reversed on my first viewing.

This thread is for all sorts of spoilery discussion, but only spoilers for The Hunger Games please. Leave Catching Fire or Mockingjay spoilers aside for now.

Here's my review, which was written after my first viewing. Some thoughts from my second viewing:

- I still dislike where it ends. The film needs to end on Katniss and Peeta standing in front of the crowd, and specifically with Katniss looking troubled. The whole point of the end is that Katniss has given up so much of herself to win the game - so why end it on President Snow? The movie needs to end on Katniss. It goes on six seconds too long.

- There's a real rough patch between the fire in the forest and the trackerjackers. I assume this comes from the source material, but it should have been fixed in  the movie. Why don't Cato and the others kill Peeta once Katniss is up the tree? Why not have the game controllers put the trackerjackers in the tree rather than have it be a stunningly stupid coincidence?

- I'm very impressed with how much Gary Ross underplays much of what's going on. The fact that Katniss is only kissing Peeta for the cameras isn't hammered home, and I expect a lot of people will walk out of the movie saying the love story is half-baked.

- Elizabeth Banks' character is never once named. (She's Effie Trinket)

- The political stuff really pops on second viewing. Again, it's understated. Peeta and Katniss have no idea there's a salve that heals wounds so quickly, but it's apparently readily available to people in the Capitol. The stark contrast between haves and have nots is presented but not commented upon. And that stuff isn't science fiction; I'm writing this on a remarkable flat screened iMac while children in Africa don't even have clean water to drink. Our world is exactly as fucked up as Panem.

- I hope this series doesn't go all Matrix on me. I'm excited about the possibilities of this story, this world and these characters. I can handle an ending that doesn't quite succeed - so few franchises nail the ending - but I'll be bummed if this gets as bad as The Matrix films did. 

What did you guys think? I expect some of you will have liked it while others won't be so fond - I'm really interested in hearing a range of opinions on this one.