Since my first reading of The Hunger Games back in 2009, I’ve been pondering just how Hollywood would adapt this fantastic book to the screen. I’ve monitored entertainment websites as they’ve updated the trilogy’s fan base about casting; I’ve argued with people about whether or not Jennifer Lawrence would make a great Katniss (she did, by the way); I’ve reconsidered whether the decision to employ Suzanne Collins as one of the film’s screenwriters would put her too close to the source material; and much more obsessive nerdiness. After two years of obsessing, I finally got to see the movie, and I was not disappointed.
Although I thought the movie was outstanding, there were a few parts here and there that left me wondering, as a fan of the books, why they changed it. I’m not going to rant and rave about the omission of Madge (I would have liked to have met her on the screen, but I understand why they cut her), or moan about any of the characters not looking like I pictured them while reading the series. But there were a few nit-picky things here and there that left me baffled as to why they even made the change. Enjoy.
1. My main objection to the film was that the writers didn’t establish Rue as a character. Her death weighed heavily in the film on both Katniss and District 11, but the film didn’t make the audience care much for her. The audience spent about five minutes with her, then quickly killed her off. All I wanted was for the screenwriters to give Katniss and Rue a little more light-hearted dialogue to play off one another with. Perhaps an exchange about the differences in their districts; some information about the plants Rue knew how to gather; or a few visual comparisons to Rue and Prim. The way it was set up felt way too rushed, leaving me feeling underwhelmed. I understand that Gary Ross was short on time, but this was a pivotal moment in the story that could have taken just a couple more minutes to expand upon. (And according to the husband, we really didn’t need that full 30 second countdown to the start of the Hunger Games. That could have easily been traded in for some more Rue and Katniss dialogue. Good point! He should have been contacted before the film was green lit!)
2. Why didn’t we hear a cannon go off at the onset of every death. We only heard them after the massacre at the cornucopia and again toward the end when Thresh and Cato died. Why wasn’t a cannon fired in the background after Rue and Marvel’s death? I know this is very nit-picky, but it felt like a lazy omission to me that disrupted the flow of continuity, in my opinion.
3. Okay, Gary Ross. This is a note for Catching Fire and Mockingjay: I enjoyed the shaky camera work, but only in moderation! Goodness gracious! After a while of its nonstop usage, I started to get a headache! It was just overdone; it should have been saved for important fight scenes, and not incessantly used during the opening scenes showing the residents of District 12 going about their day-to-day business.
4. Why didn’t the berries touch Katniss and Peeta’s lips? They barely had the berries near their mouths when Ceasar yells “Stop! Just kidding! You win! You got us!” No! They put the berries in their mouth and spit them out as Ceasar made his announcement. Again, this is very particular of me, but I felt as if we were denied the added tension of “Oh no! They’re going to eat the berries and die!”
5. Dear set crew, why didn’t you spring for a love seat during the final Hunger Games champion interview with Katniss and Peeta? Was it too much money? Did it not fit into the film’s $200 million budget? In the book, Katniss snuggles with Peeta on a loveseat during the final interview. And I know this sounds super nit-picky, yet again, but it’s important. Katniss has to convince the Capitol that the only reason she defied them with the berries was because she was so hopelessly and desperately in love with Peeta. So she rests her head on his shoulders, puts her feet up on his lap and holds his hand for dear life. But in the film, they each sit in separate seats and barely touch. This is the one book omission that I absolutely did not understand. It’s not like it saved the filmmakers any time to put Katniss and Peeta in separate seats. Why didn’t they give them one loveseat to cuddle on? The way it was filmed made Katniss look emotionally distant from Peeta . Even as they finally held hands, it seemed forced. I wanted to see her cuddle with him as if her life depended on it. (Which it did.)
Well, those are my only main objections as a super nerd who re-read the book a week before seeing the movie in theaters. But my thoughts on the film were not limited to critiques. I loved so many things about it. For example, I loved the addition of Seneca Crane and being able to watch the control that he had over the games. Effie was pure awesome. And I enjoyed the riot from District 11. Although I missed District 11’s bread gift to Katniss after Rue’s death, I was happy for the omission if it meant we got to see the added riot scene. Also, Peeta’s camouflage in the mud as he hid from the Tributes after Cato cut his leg was picture perfect. It was exactly how I envisioned it. And last, I liked the addition of the flames on Katniss’ second dress as she spun around. That was such a nice touch.
What about you? Are you a super nerd like me? What crazy omissions frustrated you? What did you absolutely love about the film? Are you sick and tired of all the Hunger Games coverage? Sound off in my comments section below!