The Hunger Games: Book vs Movie
Blogger: Rachel Kent
SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie and would like to, do not read this post!!!
I went to The Hunger Games movie last Friday, and the grade I’d give it is a B-. I’ve seen so many people commenting on Twitter that they loved the film and that it was so accurate, but I just can’t agree. In my humble opinion, it was a good film adaptation, but it wasn’t great. (I didn’t love the book either, so keep that in mind as you read my post. I’d give the book a B+.) It’s another lesson in how hard it is to successfully depict a book on the screen.
Here are the major problems I had with the film:
Problem #1) Casting: The first character to appear who wasn’t at all like the book described was Buttercup the cat.In the movie, Buttercup is a black and white tuxedo cat. Buttercup plays a pretty significant role in the book trilogy, and you’d think that it would be pretty easy to get an ugly, yellowish cat for the movie. Here’s how Buttercup is described in the book: “Mashed-in nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squash. Prim named him Buttercup, insisting that his muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower (Chapter 1).” With that description wouldn’t you cast this guy?
The second character who looks nothing like he’s described in the book is Haymitch Abernathy. He is described as “a paunchy, middle-aged man” who is always drunk (Chapter 1). With that description is this the actor you would cast?
I also wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She looks like her to me, but spent most of the movie standing around with her mouth open. I’ve seen articles online suggesting she deserves an Oscar for this movie, but I don’t get it. You can see how she looked for most of the movie in the picture to the left with Haymitch–mouth open, blank look on her face.
Now, I know I sound really critical, but remember I did give the movie a B-, so I definitely didn’t hate it. 🙂
Now on to problem #2) Lack of the romance plot. During the Hunger Games and prep time before the tributes are put in the arena, the movie removed most of the romantic elements between Peeta and Katniss. I know it’s hard to show subtle looks from Peeta since in the book it said he was often watching her, but the romance plan to help with survival wasn’t defined much. Cinna still could have been the one to have them hold hands on the chariot, and Haymitch could have told them to always be together when they’re seen in public.
Peeta’s plan to protect and save Katniss could have been more defined. In a movie, we could have even seen him plotting with Haymitch when he requested to train separately. That way the movie audience would have really understood that Cinna and Haymitch knew that a romance could help save one of them and that Peeta really did love Katniss and wanted her to return to the district and to her family.
Then, during the actual Games, it wasn’t clear what was going on between Peeta and Katniss, and Haymitch hardly played a role. What happened to all of the little encouraging sponsor gifts from Haymitch that Katniss understood to mean that she had to keep up the pretense of romance with Peeta? There was the soup in the movie, but not much more. If I hadn’t read the book, I would have thought that both Peeta and Katniss kind of liked each other, but Katniss was afraid of liking someone she might have to kill. I wouldn’t have understood the depth of the romantic plot and the big part it played in saving both of them during the Games.
Problem #3) The important tributes were never really introduced. I read the book over Christmas break, but during the movie I was scrambling to match faces to the few names I remembered from the book. They flashed through some of the names with pictures a couple of times in the movie, but it looked like they cut those scenes because of time constraints. If they could have taken a moment to let us see each one of the twelve more significant tributes with district and name, it would have really helped me.
Those are my complaints. I have to say I was really impressed with the world-building that the movie did. The districts, capitol, and arena were all really well done. The camera work was also impressive to me.
I’d love to hear your opinions. I’m sure many of you disagree with me, and that’s totally fine.
What grade would you give the movie?
What grade would you give the book?
What was your favorite part of the movie?
What do you think could have been improved?