At least I assume that's what's happened. How else to explain a film which spends seventy dull minutes preparing us, and its protagonists, for a thrilling second half set inside a game where 24 teenagers must fight each other to the death, only to deliver an even more boring seventy minutes in which almost nothing set up in the first half is paid off? How will Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) change throughout this journey? She won't. What lessons will the other, one-dimensional teens learn from their trials? None. How will Peter - sorry, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) - utilise his special skill (the uncanny ability to, uh, throw heavy objects)? He won't, despite making a big deal of it in the never-ending training sequence. Although he will, improbably and pointlessly, paint his face to look like a tree, which he learned to do WHILE HE WAS A CAKE DECORATOR.
Katniss is at least a refreshingly Strong Female CharacterTM, and the script does well not to make a big deal about her being a girl and kicking a lot of boy ass, but she's surrounded by cardboard cut-outs. Her mother gazes around gormlessly without explanation, her mentor (Woody Harrelson) is a drunk without explanation but not enough to make it a plot-worthy character trait, and her rivals in the Games are lunkheaded asshats without explanation (why do they believe Peeta's claims to be leading them to Katniss in order to kill her when they know he's in love with her? Why do they give up trying to skewer her with arrows so easily when they've got her surrounded up a tree?). Even Toby Jones turns up in a daft wig but doesn't do anything - again, without explanation.
This man has no idea why he is here
The standard response to much of this seems to be that "it's explained in the book". Well, that pissed me off with Harry Potter and it pisses me off now. It's unacceptable to assume that your filmgoing audience is either a) painstakingly familiar with the source material or b) happy to pop to Waterstone's straight after the film to buy the book in order to fill in the blanks. That's a fail right there: back to Adaptation School you go!