Yesterday afternoon, I was the oh-so-eager, proud and giggling recipient of a crisp new copy of The Hunger Games movie.
I had been anticipating its arrival ever since I consumed the book in 3 days, devouring the 2nd and the 3rd as well in record time, a few months ago.
I couldn’t wait to see all of the characters come to life on the screen.
Then I pushed PLAY.
It’s not that it was awful or anything, but there were changes from the book to the movie that affected me.
But Kim, that’s what happens..not everything in the book can be translated directly to film. Plus they have time constraints.
To which I reply: Okay, I get that and bull pucky!
Here are the major problems that I had with the adaptation and why they are a problem:
- In the movie, Katniss gets the mockingjay pin from The Hob & gives it to Prim, who gives it back to her before the games.
- In the book, Katniss gets the pin from the mayor’s daughter, who she regularly delivers strawberries to, before the Hunger Games, who tells her its significance.
This is a problem because The Hob is a huge part of who Katniss is in the community ~ all the way up to the mayor and his family! In the book she is connected and respected in the community and the fact that the mayor’s daughter gives her the pin, which represents rebellion, explains why they gave her such a significant gesture at the reaping after she volunteers.
- In the movie, the cat (Buttercup) is black and white. Doesn’t quite fit, right?
- Apparently, in real life, there is a terrible shortage of yellow cats because in the book, Buttercup is yellow and has a squishy face.
This is a problem because it really bugs me, okay? Surely, the producers could find a squishy faced yellow cat somewhere in the world and cast him or her in this movie.
Also, it is not clear in the movie that Buttercup is Prim’s cat and that Katniss was going to kill it when Prim brought it home, but didn’t. It’s not shown how important the cat is to Prim and how he makes her happy. The cat is a representation of the deep love that Katniss has for Prim and the lengths she will go for her.
- In the movie, District 12 is shown as a poor town that has an electric fence at one end.
- In the book, District 12 is palpable. You feel as though you’re there and you have an excellent handle on daily life and the importance of The Hob. It’s painfully clear that the electric fence goes around the entire perimeter of the district and how the electricity is only sometimes on, so Katniss has to listen before she goes through every day.
This is huge. It’s a major problem. If I were to watch the movie without having knowledge of the book, I would have no sense of how it felt to live in such a place, how often Katniss went out into the woods and how dire their situation truly is. The movie doesn’t show how much danger the district is in on a daily basis and how controlled they are. When I read the book, it had a Big Brother feel to it ~ I even talk about that in this post. Sadly, I didn’t get that from the movie at all. It could’ve been any poor town in any nation around the world. In reality, District 12 is much more than that.
- In the movie, Gale was a guy that met Katniss in the woods and he seemed to have a crush on her.
- In the book, Gale was her hunting partner. They worked together in the woods, killing and trapping to later sell and trade. They were together a lot and depended on each other a great deal. They helped each other and their families survive every day. It was a strong ~ best friend relationship.
This is a big problem because you have no sense of how deep and old and significant their relationship is. What have they been through in the woods? What is the nature of their relationship? The movie makes it unclear, whereas in the book, it’s perfectly clear.
There were also lots of things here and there that bugged me, but I’m trying not to be too terribly nit-picky. I mean, does it really matter that Katniss said “May the odds be ever in your favor” in the woods instead of Gale? Maybe not, but little things like that did bug me because I have to wonder why the change?
…and all of this is before we even get to the reaping!
The producers really needed to spend a significant amount of time establishing District 12, Katniss, Gale, Prim, her mom and the dang cat.
They could’ve, you know. They could’ve sucked you into that world, but they didn’t. There was an emotional disconnect. In the book, I felt all kinds of emotions by this point.
In the interest of not making this post too terribly long, I’ll pick up from the reaping next week and go from there. For now, I’m going to leave you with two things that I did like, just so you don’t think I’m being grumpy 😉
- I liked the casting choices for Katniss, Gale, the mother, Prim and Greasy Sae. Similar to how I pictured.
- I liked that they showed how gracefully and silently Katniss moved through the woods while hunting.
What about you? Have you seen The Hunger Games? Have you read the book? What did you thinking about the movie up until the reaping? Most importantly, is there a shortage of yellow squishy faced cats in your area? If so, we better get on some kind of breeding program..