1) Read The Hunger Games
2) Went and saw the movie in the theater
3) Watched Battle Royale, the Japanese film from a few years back with some eerily similar plot elements
The book was fantastic but totally gave me bad dreams, in addition to making an entire weekend feel VERY INTENSE because every little thing you're doing gives you the feeling that it could get you killed or worse. Then I saw the preview for the movie and just got crazy excited for it. So Marc and I left Josie with some friends and went for a movie date, first one since before she was born I think!
The movie was an excellent adaptation. I really liked the added information, the book is so purely Katniss' point of view you don't know what else is going on, stuff just happens. The riot in District 11 was totally not in the book, but totally WONDERFUL, so much more fulfilling than a "thanks for the kindness" loaf of bread gift.
I was sad that they didn't show just how starving the kids were. Peeta's act of kindness, where he threw the bread to Katniss in the rain, didn't seem like that big a deal. In the book it saved her life, in the movie it's just sort of an encounter they had. This might be a big part of why Peeta seems a lot less endearing in the movie, Marc has a bad habit of talking in movie theaters and was practically shouting "OH PLEASE KILL HIM! DEAD WEIGHT! DEAD WEIGHT! KILL HIM!" (maybe that's why I don't see many movies with my husband... I always worry about him getting his ass kicked).
There's a great scene in the beginning of the book where Effie compliments Katniss on her table manners, and quips about how uncivilized last year's tributes were, and Katniss immediately puts down her fork and wipes her fingers on the tablecloth. It's appalling that Effie would focus on the table manners of two kids who were not only violently killed, but had "never lived a day in their life with enough food". It's that kind of naive ambivalence that makes you hate the Capital citizens so much.
Also, the most disturbing thing in the book to me, the part that literally gave me nightmares, was TOTALLY left out of the movie, and that's the part where the nasty dogs at the end are the dead tributes, genetically modified and brought back to life as these mutants. It's such an abomination, like where Katniss recognizes Rue's eyes on the dog with 11 on the collar, it stuck with me for days. Maybe it was too hard to show in a movie, or maybe it would have made the gamemaker seem more evil than they wanted him to be... he wasn't really a character in the books and ends up being just another victim, we're supposed to like him.
Anyway the next day Marc and I watched Battle Royale because it's also about teenagers fighting to the death, and it's supposed to be this deep allegory about war, but I didn't really get it. To me it seemed empty, just a bunch of kids slashing each other up. In this movie the kids are all in the same class and have known each other forever, so there's some interesting "who are your friends, who have you always hated, who can you trust" sorts of dynamics. But there's not much detail about the society that's making them fight, it doesn't seem like they're on a big TV show, it's like that one crazy teacher is punishing them or something. I think it would take a tremendous amount of imagination to go from there to Hunger Games, which is really about a society that prioritizes reality television above recognizing the value of a human life.