I went to see Hunger Games in a theater, mainly because I could (it was right across the street from Nationwide Arena, how much easier can you get) and to be fair when I continue to rip it up one side and down the other.
It's a very pretty movie. However, it's basically what I thought...pretty much exactly like Battle Royale and Running Man and Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and pretty much all others of the genre throughout time. Instead of Japanese stoicism-and-loyalty imagery, they just contrasted decadence with Depression-era poverty (think Sofia Coppola's take on Marie Antoinette with ripoffs of Dorothea Lange photos thrown in- as a matter of fact, in one establishing shot they directly imitated a Dorothea Lange image
). Otherwise, it's all the same. Beat Takeshi is Woody Harrelson. They even had the specially trained ringers, the Careers who trained and volunteered, just like Kiriyama in BR.
I don't know. The woman who write this is, I've heard, a Hollywood screenwriter. If, as she claims, she never heard of BR (or Running Man, or even The Lottery, which I thought was in every high school English book) when she submitted the manuscript, that's just a poor educational background. But as I said, it's a pretty movie with pretty people. I've only read excerpts of the book so I can't say how far it departed from original intent. I'm guessing not far.
It's still better than Twilight, but I am pissed at it bring thrown about as a new thing and I'm irritated that its production blocked the American version of BR from being made (it put them in the position of looking like they were the copycats). However, that version might have sucked as bad as The Grudge, so maybe they saved us all.