Just to get it out of the way I never read the books and don't plan to.
I think Hunger Games needed an R rating to keep up with the brutality of the games. From the trailers I assumed there would be longer more vided scenes of the children being killed so you could dwell on the scenes and it would have a bigger impact on how sick the games were. When they showed the victor from the previous year becoming the victor I really felt appalled by that but then all that dissappears until the end with Cato. All the violence at the start of the games was too quick and the shaky cam made it too disorienting aswell.
I think there should have been two versions of this movie a rated R versions as well as a PG-13 version. Most of the people I saw in the theater watching the movie was well over 17 anyway. So I doubt it would have taken away from sales. They also could have made the R rated version longer and focus more on Peeta and Rue since I didn't think they were developed enough. Since adults can sit still longer then 12 year olds during a movie I doubt they would have mind if the movie was 20-30 mins longer.
I hope there's like an extended unrated director's cut of the blu-ray cause I'd get that in a heartbeat. Anyone feel the same way.