So far, my theory of good trailer equals bad film is correct. Well actually, that's not entirely true in this case. I mean it wasn't a bad film, just a bad adaptation. Before I start the actual review, you should know I'm a huge fan of the books. I've read the first one just shy of fifteen times and have been looking forward to this film since about June. Since I booked my ticket to see it I couldn't breathe out of excitement whenever I thought about it and in the cinema, my friends had to stop me from jumping up and down in my seat when the lights went down. Clearly my expectations were at a height that nobody could reach but I'm not reviewing the film from what I think now. I'm reviewing it from what I felt as I was watching it. Do not read ahead if you're planning on seeing the film and haven't either read the book or read any other spoilers.

The slow start (I think this has become a trend in blockbuster films ever since HP8) could have worked well if it didn't feel so rushed. The story moved too quickly for such a quiet start to a film. It was like watching someone trying to run through water. If it was me, I'd have started with the video played at the beginning of the reaping and then gone straight into the reaping. To be honest, the very start isn't crucial to the story film-wise. Strike one. Strike two came with the parade costumes. The book describes something so fabulous, something that makes Peeta and Katniss look other-worldly and all we got was a really, truly awful special effect. Either they ran out of money or just couldn't be bothered because it looked like an 80s film effect. It was the same for the dress Katniss wore for her interview. The romance between Katniss and Peeta was given a totally different angle than in the book. The book leaves you wondering if it's real for Katniss or just for the cameras but the film implies she does actually love Peeta and it could prove a little awkward for the next installments. My only other gripes were the battle scenes were a bit poor but I'll allow that because they had to keep within 12A standards and Jennifer Lawrence's face was alarmingly shiny in some places.

On to the good. I have never, ever felt so tense as I did during the countdown to the Games beginning. I believe it was real time and it was almost painful to sit through. You could really feel the fear coming from Katniss, knowing she could be dead within minutes, and incorporating shots of the districts and Gale only added to the tension as you saw her family watching her be led to her almost certain death. The other brilliant scene was Rue's death. The emotion coming from Katniss was heartbreaking and added to with the view from District 11 (Rue's district) and, a man who I'm assuming was her father, starting a riot which leads perfectly on to the next two books. I was sobbing, the whole cinema was sobbing. It was brilliant. There are some major pluses to adapting books to film, the main one being you can show things that aren't shown from the character's point of view in the book. Seneca Crane was given a much larger role than in the book with scenes in a rose garden with President Snow and a brilliant one at the end of the film. We were also able to see the control room and how friends and family reacted to the events of the Games, instead of hearing it all from Katniss' point of view and I loved the integration of her back story and the history between her and Peeta.

All in all, a fairly poor adaptation but it had some brilliant moments which enhanced the whole experience. As a standalone film without the book it was good, still some flaws, but the more I think about it the more I want to see it again, so clearly something was done right.