Of course, I'd read all the books before the movie and I loved them.
I think, if you didn't read the book, the movie was actually pretty good.
A lot of things pissed me off though, for example, things like the way she was given the Mockingjay Pin. In the book it was a big deal. Also, the Mutts towards the end of the 74th Hunger Games, the way they were portrayed didn't fit the book at all. When I read the book, I pictured the Capitol being like it was, but maybe a bit less futuristic. I mean, when I read "A world grown out of an old America", I pictured more or less a world like the movie Water World, or Book of Eli. Something more post-apocalyptic. Maybe it was just me. I mean, that's just MY interpretation of the book.
Some of things were a bit too futuristic for me when thinking about the districts.
I did however really enjoy the way they added the death of Seneca being forced to eat the nightlock was very clever. I enjoyed it, rather a lot.
Well the reason why they didn't put Madge in was that Gary Ross wanted to make a close connection between Katniss and Prim but its going to be a problem when they shoot Catching fire because Katniss looks into the Mayor's office and sees the news about the Capitol and such. But otherwise I understand why he didn't add Madge.
I've seen the movie and read the books and I don't really understand the upset over Madge not being in the movie. She really didn't have THAT big of a part in the book to begin with, and I actually think to have included her would have just been one too many characters in a story that already has a lot of characters.
It's like how Harry Potter had to start excluding characters towards the end of the series. Even with a two hour long movie, it's hard to squeeze them in and then expect audiences to connect with someone who appeared for five minutes. (It's personally one of the reasons why I hate Ginny. I mean, where the ******** did she come from?)
The fact that Prim gave Katniss the pin made it more meaningful, at least to me.
I think I would have to agree with SlowKiss for the importance of Madge and the comparison to Harry Potter. it makes sense, and if you think about the role that Katniss will have to further have to play "picking out" the Mockingjay (the symbol of rebellion) will probably have more impact on her character to the audience as opposed to accepting rebellion blindly as she did in the book. I think they're trying to make her look less reluctant (which is odd because throughout the entire series she's very reluctant XD).
As for the Capitol and futuristic style as opposed to post apocalyptic.
There have been references to our North America, so it's not as though they don't know about us or the technology we've developed.
But i think the post apocalyptic was supposed to be in the mentality of the capitol by going back eons and eons to the way we're thinking about human rights and the oppression of the people. I'm sure the technology came from who they put into the different districts and the sharpest minds based on our work and forced them to develop stuff further than us. kindof like when the Nazi's would separate Jews who had a special skill like playing the violin for their entertainment. Harsh comparison but i'm trying to find another way of explaining it.
Personally I think the film did the book justice. There's bound to be changes but the adaptation was great. However I think Madge should ahve been portrayed, I don't know, just reading the whole series through again it seems a bit weird without Madge.
The movie itself made sense for people that haven't read the book already. One of them is my friend and he did honestly say he enjoyed watching it along with me. So I think reading the actual series would give people that are intrigued by the Hunger Games or wanting to learn more about it a chance to find out.
That's how I see it.