The Hunger Games: The Book vs The Film

Today I begin my bridge into books with a look at something i woudl hope you’ve been reading if you liked the film as much as I did.

This is one of those rare occasions that I actually think the film does a better job in a lot of places then the book actually did.

So let’s look at the Hunger Games book vs. The Hunger Games Film…
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Now first off the DVD hasn’t been released yet at the time of writing and it’s important to note that the more graphic parts of the film actually got cut in the UK version to gain a 12A rating so I may mention something that actually was in the film but just not in the UK version… I won’t know until the extended version is released here in September.

So let’s start with what the film left out. To the films credit most games part of the film ended up being left on the cutting room floor aren’t important to the plot but generally fall on the more physiological side of what Katness has to face throughout the games part of the book. The two main part I’m going to focus on the the Tracker Jacker venom and the Mutations. While there are some characters that are left out completely from the first half of the book; most of them are minor.

Let’s look at President Snow first as he’s perhaps the biggest expanded character second to Haymitch from adaptation into the film. Giving him scenes where he interacts on a one of one basis with Seneca Crane helped show his evil side much earlier then Katness learns of it in the books (not really getting a proper conversation with him until Catching Fire). For the sake of the film he is the face of the Capitol and everything that happens which might be one of the few flaws of the film, which I’ll get to later on.

Madge is completely absent from the film adaptation which leads to Katness acquiring the Mocking Jay pin differently then in the book. With the removal of this character the history of the pin is never explained which may lead to the removal of the history behind the ownership of the pin being left out of future films. Delly Cartwright is absent as well though he role isn’t as important till later books and even then can still be replaced. The various peace Keepers of District 12 are never mentioned by name either though are shown in the back grounds of scenes.

This leads us into perhaps the most important sub plot that was left out of the film the Avox’s. Both Katness watching the escapists get captured in the forest and returning as their servants before the games is skipped over. This is a decision I don’t like as much given I think this is one of the areas that shows the cruelty of the Capitol but not in a way that is too graphic unlike the parts that happen in the games. This feels like something that was cut for time and perhaps not content.

During the games the description of Glimmer’s body while under the effects of the Tracker Jacker venom is far more graphic then what is shown on screen, though the craziness goes a bit further hallucinations by having Katness see Caesar Flickerman visually reminding her about the effects which made a nice replacement for her mad inner monologue at that time. The mutations are perhaps the most cut out piece, the whole ending of the games up to the death of Kato is changed. The most important thing I didn’t like being left out was the eyes of the Mutations and them being based on the physiques of each tribute however I understand this being cut as its hard to explain on screen as opposed to the thoughts of Katness. Kato’s death being shorter again I imagine was cut for time and possible graphic nature of a night of torture but it didn’t go along way to making me feel sorry for him as well as hate the Capitol even more when it came to Katness killing him.

Now I agree with most of the things that were left out, given that the book is very graphic in places its hard to show that kind of scene on screen and keep a low rating. Though my concern was that in making Snow a bigger face that all the viewers hatred would be focused on him like he was the cause of the mentality of the Capitol instead of hating the people of the capitol. Before I get into that too much I’ll talk about the additions to the film.

Now when I say additions I’m mostly referring to scenes that take place with characters other Katness outside of the dome during the games. The most important thing that the film does is expand the film away from Katness once she’s in the games. It would have been possible to purely focus on her during the second half of the film however the interplay she has mentally with Haymitch would have been near impossible to do on screen. So instead the film shows messages given with the packages sent to Katness to instruct her what to do. The film also shows reactions of the general populous and game makers to what Katness does in the games.

Haymitch also has a big change which I should have covered earlier in that his drinking is actually dealt with (weather or not he goes back to this in the sequels still we will have to see) but in a particularity powerful scene we see Haymitch watching a Capitol family play fight seems to bring home to him what’s happening and inspire him to stop drinking. This also makes him a better character to follow as he is seen orchestrating the rule change with Seneca Crane to help Katness and Peta. The most powerful addition to the film is the aftermath of Rue’s death and the riot of District 11. Obviously Katness never knows anything about the riots until Haymitch informs her so it gives the viewers a chance to actually see how she is effecting the word around her.

I suppose the final thing to cover is the ending. In the book the story ends upon Peta realising that Katness was only putting up an act in the relationship but the movie ends before this point leaving it vague to weather she has fallen in love or is faking it. While there never actually is anything in the film that suggests that she is faking it does end the movie on a slightly higher note the the novel which would have helped if the film had under performed and never garnered a sequel.

Anyway with that out for the way I can now really speak of my thoughts to all of this. When I originally read the novels I would have killed to know what was actually going on with characters out side of Katness as that’s one of my bigger floors with the entire series in that Katness is never privy to all of the information and this only becomes more annoying as the series progresses. I had a giant interest in this world and wanted to know more and only through the film did I get to see a bit more of the world. I suppose if I was to have to pick one thing I wasn’t as fond of is that given the direction the series would go on to take Gale’s role wasn’t expanded which I believed was deserved.

I may follow up soon on my thoughts for Catching Fire and MockingJay and what I’d hope for them from their films. I find the characters that are introduced in Catching Fire to be very fun and entertaining, especially Finnick and I would hope that the films will expand of them a little more. Also as a minor nitpick with the change of director’s for the sequels can we hold back on the shaky cam for the fight scenes. When we get to the Quarter Quell everyone including Peta and Katness as well trained warriors and I’d like to see that shown off… a lack of shaky cam would go along way to help with that!

David ‘Ryatta’ Wyatt
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About Ryatta

So about me... Well when I'm not reviewing things I'm a technical animator working in one of the UKs biggest game studios!

Posted on 08/10/2012, in Other, Text Reviews/Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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