I started the book just a little while after that post, and I'm loving it so far, but I do have one question.
Has any of the background material ever said how far in the future the series is set?
No, but it has to be at least several hundred years into the future, after a series of global natural disasters had changed the face of the Earth and destroyed the previous civilization. Panem is situated in what is remaining of North America. We don't know how long Panem has existed in its current form, but it must have been (much) more than a century - since the first rebellion of the 13 districts against the Capitol was squashed at least 74 years before the events of the first movie/
Much of Panem's history is shrouded in mystery, though known history dates back approximately seventy-five years prior to the beginning of The Hunger Games trilogy.
An unspecified time before the current date, the face of the Earth changed and modern civilization was seemingly destroyed. It is unknown precisely what caused the "end of the world," but major landmasses changed shape as the sea level rose to unknown heights around the planet. Some time after the end of the world as we knew it, a nation was established in North America that would soon come to be known as Panem. It is unknown precisely when Panem was established and how long it has existed, though it is certain that Panem has been around for more than seventy-five years, and it's entirely possible for it to be at least a century or two old.
Panem eventually grew large enough that it was segmented into thirteen separate districts, each responsible for producing goods of a particular industry to serve the growing needs of the nation, and all operating under the auspices of Panem's oppressive Capitol. Its exact method of expansion is unknown; it is possible that some of the separate districts may have even once been smaller, separate nations that were eventually annexed by Panem.
The Dark Days
Main article: The Dark Days
Approximately seventy-four years before the events of The Hunger Games trilogy, the various districts of Panem rebelled against the Capitol, primarily due to the oppressive fashion in which the Capitol government ruled over the districts. It is unknown how long the rebellion lasted or the exact number of casualties on either side (although the Capitol claims that for every dead Capitol citizen, two rebels died), but by the end of the conflict, the Capitol had quelled the rebellion, defeating twelve of the districts and obliterating the thirteenth entirely.
I read the first two books and really liked them, but the movie toned down the violence so much that it undercut a lot of the tension, and made it all feel just a little too safe and tame for my taste. It never really felt like Katniss was truly at risk like in the books.
And broadening the perspective beyond Katniss's POV removed a lot of what made the books unique as well, I thought.
Broadening the perspective beyond Katniss' POV added a lot to the movie itself and the overall story, and made it a good complement to the books as well as a better movie on its own. Movies should not be books on tape with pictures, otherwise, what's the point of even making them?
(Sorry for double posting, but I believe that videos tend to disappear from the post when you edit it.)