My philosophy is that the book is always better. I even have a pin that says that! But some film adaptations are better than others. And some film adaptations are more popular than others. One trilogy that swept popular culture was The Hunger Games and I was obsessed, to the point I tweeted countdown quotes of the books before the movie premiere. I had read the books in middle school and couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen. For the most part, I was not disappointed, but maybe that was from the whirlwind of the popularity it had. I want to revisit the flaws and triumphs of that adaptation, at least of the first movie. *spoilers ahead*
Obviously, movies cannot include every aspect of a book, and I have such a short attention span with films that I don’t expect them to. It would be unrealistic. But there are a few missing parts from The Hunger Games that could have made the film better. For example:
- In the book, Haymitch sends Katniss notes attached to her sponsor gifts on what to do to please her sponsors, like kissing Peeta. In the film, Katniss somehow just magically knows what to do. It would have been better to see Haymitch’s coaching–he was their coach after all.
- Where the heck is Madge?? Madge was maybe not the hugest character in the book but she was nevertheless an important one. It was Madge who gave Katniss the mocking-jay pin to wear in the arena, thus marking her symbol and providing ample foreshadowing.
- In the book, District 11, the district Rue is from, sends Katniss bread through the sponsor basket, after Rue dies. This is a kind of a “thank you” to Katniss for trying to take care of Rue. In the movie, there is only the riots of District 11.
- The injuries were a lot worse in the book.
- The Mutts at the end of the Games should have been a LOT scarier. They were supposed to be wolves with the faces of the dead tributes, basically. Yet, in the movie they seem to just be big vicious dogs.
- Peeta lost his leg in the book and had to have a prosthetic.
- Finally, it is unclear in the film if they were depicting true love budding between Katniss and Peeta, or if they were depicting them faking the love to get sponsors, which is at least how it starts in the book.
These are some major differences but there are some things I think The Hunger Games film did well.
- The fashion and design! It is not always easy to imagine what things look like when reading, especially when it comes to outlandish clothes, make-up, and hair-styles. So, when depicting this in the film, especially in the Capitol, the styles were iconic. Seneca’s beard, Cinna’s eyeliner, Katniss’s fire-dress. All amazing!
- Added comedic effect. Though I’m trying to only refer to the first film, I think the comedic effects truly take hold in Catching Fire, when the audience is introduced to Johanna. The books are really dark and so then are the films, but sometimes the audience needs a little break from the seriousness of the plot.
- Great cast. I personally loved the cast they chose as actors and as people. I think they did a great job on the screen and a great job in interviews to connect with people.
So, upon my review and reflection, I got to say…I love the films and I love the books. But the books are always better. What do you think? I’ll probably do another film vs book post soon. x
May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor