I’m going to warn you once:
DO NOT READ THE REVIEW BELOW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE HUNGER GAMES MOVIE. I am not responsible for spoiling the movie/plot if you continue on.
I would love some discussion on the topics mentioned below if anyone wants to comment.
Here’s the thing about The Hunger Games movie: I liked it, but I did not love it.
I read the Hunger Games Trilogy in about a day each. Clearly, I enjoyed the series. So when I saw the trailer for the movie, like pretty much everyone else who read the books, I was excited to see the movie and how they would adapt the book for the screen. And overall, I think they did well. I think that the costumes were great (although if you’re afraid of clowns, I recommend closing your eyes when they are showing large crowds of people at The Capitol). I liked the way that they presented each of the locations: i.e. the poorness of District 12, the opulence of The Capitol and the train. I thought the actors did a fine job of portraying their characters. I loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.
However, there were some crucial things that I think they missed/misrepresented. Here they are:
- The Mockingjay Pin/ symbolism: First and foremost, she did not get the pin at The Hob. The pin was given to her by District 12’s mayor’s daughter. The book also went into detail about what a mocking jay is and how it would be considered a symbol of rebellion/insubordination by Snow/The Capitol. Looking forward to future movies, they’ll have to explain this better when Katniss becomes “The Mockingjay.” Otherwise, who cares about a silly little pin from her district?
- Haymitch: Could they have glossed over his role any more? Some random dude shows up on the train and we’re told he’s the mentor. What does that even mean? Those of us who read the books know that the mentors are former winners and they are brought back yearly to coach the children from their districts and help them gain sponsors, etc. But he just kind of shows up. We see him talking to scary Capitol people and then Katniss gets gifts, so we can infer what his role is but it would have been nice to have them go into more detail about what the point of his being there is. Also, when she gets the gifts, they have notes on them. That wasn’t in the book- she had to know, knowing him as well as she did (not portrayed well in the movie) what his intention was (i.e. didn’t send water because she was close to it (also not in the movie that she almost dehydrates despite Haymitch’s advice that water is your best friend), that kissing Peeta would get more gifts, etc.) His relationship to Katniss and Peeta seemed remote in the movie. He also was key in telling them how to train, to stick together, etc. in the book but not so in the movie. He mentions that he can “work with” star crossed lovers but that’s about it.
- Avoxes were not mentioned at all. I think that was an oversight by the filmmakers as the Avox girl’s history with Katniss would further show the cruelty of the Capitol as well as set up for the Avox who helps her out in book 3.
- Her Prep Team: they were pretty much extras in this movie, which I felt was odd considering that she spends so much time describing them in the book, they are constantly around and become kind of a big deal in book 3.
- Rue: Oh Rue. How I loved you in the book and cried over your death in both the book and the movie. I felt that as stinking adorable as the actress who played Rue was in the movie, the connection between her and Katniss was not really fleshed out. Without Katniss’ inner dialogue about how Rue was her sister’s age and how she really began to take care of her because of that connection, her death was kinda like “that sucks” instead of as devastated as Katniss appears on screen. I loved that she still buried her and showed her that love and respect but it felt so much MORE in the book. The scenes with Rue and Katniss were like 5 minutes in the movie.
- Speaking of Rue’s death, I did not like that they cut out the part where District 11 sent Katniss bread as a gift for taking care of Rue when she died. That scene in the book was BEAUTIFUL. (which also goes back to them cutting out Peeta explaining the regional breads to Katniss…) The thought of such a poor community banding together to send a gift to a tribute from another district? The thought makes me a little teary-eyed. Instead they show District 11 going into revolt (did not happen in the book). I get that they’re setting up the sequel, but still…
- The Mutts: Yeah, I know it would have been really hard to set up the dogs who attack them in the end to really look like the dead tributes but that part in the book was crazy and poignant. I mean honestly, after reading that, did you have any doubt about how evil and manipulative and devious the Capitol was?
- Gale. Could he have been any more pointless in this movie? Other than eye candy for girls who are in love with dudes who are dating fallen Disney stars? I’m not a big Gale fan myself. But regardless, if you’re going to set up a love triangle, you should probably set up some storyline with “the other man.” You see them as friends in the beginning, he looks a little sad when he sees Katniss kiss Peeta on TV and then he’s obviously good friends with Prim at the end. The character development was just not there. Plus, without Katniss’ inner struggle with the affections she shows Peeta, how do you know that she even likes Gale back? He mentions having his name in 42 times, but they don’t even really touch on how that is possible. Maybe they should have explained the tesserae more…
- Katniss’ home life: yeah she told her mom not to zone out like she did when her dad died. But really, did that explain just how much Katniss had to be the head of household? They hint at her dad’s coal mine demise, but they don’t touch at all on how important her dad was to her: how he taught her those songs, how he taught her to hunt, that her bow and jacket were his. How she inherited her singing voice from him. I felt like their relationship was a non-factor in the movie.
- Speaking of her dad, after he died, Katniss almost starves to death. Peeta gives her bread when he sees her almost dying. This was in the movie, but I’m not sure the seriousness of her predicament came through. She looked like she was falling asleep and you don’t see that he burned the bread on purpose. Could have been expanded more.
- They didn’t really talk about what each district does. They talk about the tributes coming in “dressed in attire to represent their districts” but don’t really say what that means. I would have liked to have seen an explanation of the districts to add some depth to the story. Plus each tribute would have strengths based on where they were from (particularly important in the case of Rue, for example). That would have only taken a few minutes.
Overall, I think a little more character development would have really helped his film. Having read the book, you know these things so maybe it’s not a big deal that they don’t expand on them. But if you haven’t, does it suffer? I guess I won’t know since I read it, but I feel that the movie was, as my husband says, “the book on speed.” Everything happened SO FAST that they didn’t really explain some things, they didn’t really flesh out characters and relationships and they changed some things to set up sequels. I get that. I get that the movie was already 2 1/2 hours and to add all this would make it that much longer. But I feel like the movie would have been better if it didn’t leave out some of this stuff. There are more things that I could nitpick about, for sure, but these were the big ones that stuck out to me in the middle of this rant.