The Hunger Games – Movie vs Book

We have had some great discussions about the HG movie and how it compares to the book. I read this blog post that compares the two and I enjoyed reading it and I thought you might too. It discusses the adaptation, the acting, the violence and the “extra” stuff in the film. Here’s a taste:

The Extra Stuff:

By extra stuff, I mainly mean, the introduction of other points of view. While books can have a first person POV, movies are pretty much entirely 3rd person, with a few incredibly rare, artsy exceptions. With The Hunger Games I loved it – it still followed the story, but it gave us something new to look at and think about. My biggest frustration with the Hunger Games trilogy is how, with Katniss’ limited POV, we end up missing a lot of the important rebel actions, but here we get a taste of it, in five important ways:

Seneca Crane’s scenes. As the Games go on, we see the head Gamemaker managing the game with his crew. He’s a producer, and he’s producing a television event, and it’s fascinating to watch how he manipulates the board and why. I would have liked to have seen how he censored or tampered with Tribute footage to ensure it toed the Capitol party line, but it was still interesting watching the very Truman Show-esque manipulation going on behind the curtain.

The commentators: Toby Jones and Stanley Tucci set a very satirical tone as cheery commentators for the Hunger Games, and serve as an incredibly effective Exposition Device to explain things to the newbies without intruding on the story.

Haymitch’s wheelin’ and dealin’: Haymitch manages to smuggle in medicine and food to Katniss during the Hunger Games. We never see how he does this in the novel – again, Katniss’ limited POV. In the movie, however, we see him negotiating, making alliances and coming out of his shell in order to get Katniss and Peeta the items they need. This was great – we actually got to see how Haymitch could interact and sell himself to other people, and just how far he was willing to go out of his comfort zone to help his tributes.

The rebellion scene from District 11: While we don’t get the bread-gift scene in the film, we do watch as members of District 11 lash out against the Peacekeepers in a violent uprising as a reaction to Rue’s death. I don’t think this happened in the books, but it was an excellent early indication of the significance of Katniss’ actions. I was also caught by the racial symbolism – both District 11 tributes are black, and District 11 is shown to have a higher black population than the Capitol or District 12, and the Peacekeepers eventually put down the rebellion with high-pressure water hoses. I wondered if this was an intentional invocation of Civil Rights Movement imagery.

President Snow. In the first novel, he’s more an impending menace than an actual one, but here, we get scenes of him voicing his concerns about Katniss and the significance of keeping the districts under control. I liked this – it gives Katniss’ actions a far-reaching impact that connects the Hunger Games to the rest of the series. It also clearly establishes Snow as the central antagonist even if he only meets Katniss is person once.

 

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