By Erica Misoshnik and Hannah Bennett
WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for both the book and movie.
When we were given the opportunity to write a post on The Hunger Games, we jumped at the chance. Discussions of how to approach it varied from Capitol levels of crazy (dressing up and doing a faux interview) to an old-fashioned essay. Eventually, we decided to meet somewhere in the middle.
Deviations from the book: One of the first things people ask about any book-to-movie adaptation is, “Was it the same as the book?” The good news is that the movie did follow the book very closely, and the things that were added only made the movie better. In particular, we loved:
- The behind-the-scenes action: Seeing the Game Makers actually manipulate the field was not only visually impressive, it gave the story more depth.
- The changing perspectives: As much as we enjoyed being in Katniss’s head for the duration of the books, we were pleasantly surprised by the glimpses of Seneca Crane’s and President Snow’s viewpoints.
- The reactions in other Districts: As die-hard Peeta fan-girls, we never thought we’d enjoy seeing Gale as much as we did, but some of the best moments of the film were seeing District 11 revolt and seeing District 12 reactions to the Games.
Of course, there were deviations we could have done without:
- The cave scene: This was essentially a watered down, awkward portrayal of one of the most pivotal moments in the book. Very disappointing!
- The Mockingjay pin: The significance of the pin was lost entirely.
- The muttations: Nothing close to the horror we imagined when reading. They were more surprising than fearsome.
- The acting was top notch. Every actor really did a tremendous job with the material. Despite all the “controversy” regarding her look, Jennifer Lawrence made us believe she was Katniss from the second she stepped onto the screen.
- The visuals were stunning. CGI and special effects aside, the costuming and make up were outstanding.
- Despite our foreknowledge of events, we still found ourselves watching with the same amount of anxiety we had while reading the books, especially during the reaping.
- Seneca Crane’s beard: honestly, it needs its own category.
The reason Peeta gets his own category has nothing to with the fact that he is our favorite character and everything to do with the fact that he was the biggest source of disappointment in the movie. While Josh Hutcherson did an amazing job with the material given, our gripe is with the material itself.
- Peeta’s character was as perfectly charming in the movie as he was in the book. However, book Peeta is more than just a charming baker – a fact that movie makers seemed to have forgotten.
- Peeta’s entire character was a watered down representation of the beloved boy with the bread. It seemed as if there was a decisive idea to make Peeta weaker in order to make Katniss seem stronger. We found this ridiculous as Katniss is tough all on her own, no matter what the male characters around her are like.
- The moment it all went downhill for us was when the rule change in the Games was announced. From that moment on, everything seemed rushed and diluted, including the vague ending.
Peeta aside, we want to really stress that the movie was FANTASTIC. Fans of the book and new-comers to the story can enjoy it (though we personally feel it’s always best to read the book first).
Are you a fan of the book, the movie, or both? What did you think of the movie adaptation?