This blog post is my rant about The Hunger Games movie. While I know everyone has an opinion, I figure if you're reading this you may actually care about mine. haha That being said, I realize I'm in the minority when I tell you that I thought the movie had great potential, yet missed almost every single opportunity for it. This is a terribly long rant (hopefully I don’t bore you!) but I’m really bothered by what I feel was a terrible injustice to the awesomeness of THG books. Call me obsessive, but here goes!
First, let me start by telling you a couple things I thought the movie did well:
- The Capitol
As I read THG books, I often had difficulty imaging the Capitol. Plastic surgery gone bad was the only image I could really conjure up in my head when thinking of all its inhabitants. Everything artificial, unnatural colors, skin pulled too tightly...you get the drift. However, the movie did a fantastic job of conveying just how obscure the Capitol and its people really are. Now, as I reread the series, I have a better idea as to how foreign that must have looked to Katniss, Peeta, and the other Tributes.
The movie really helped me to envision Panem while viewing the Games. Throughout the film, Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith discuss what's going on live in the arena (explaining Trackerjackers to the audience, etc.) Since the movie was sort of set in the middle of the filming of a reality tv show, I was able to further understand the repulsiveness of The Hunger Games.
However, those were about the only two things I think the movie did well. Being a BIG fan of the books, there were a few main things I was looking for. 1. The first thing I look for in any movie that is based on a book is how true the movie is to the book. 2. How would they convey Katniss's thoughts and emotions in the film? A great part of the books is Katniss’s thoughts, after all. 3. I was hoping they wouldn't botch her relationships with Gale and Peeta. 4. Honestly, I found THG books to be inspiring. Collins paid great attention to detail in the books and conveyed emotion really well. I wanted to be just as moved watching the movie. The potential was there. Yet I was let down on all four of these accounts. The movie didn’t stay true to the detail in the books at all!! Yes, the characters and general plotline were there, but I was very disappointed overall. Here…my list of grievances regarding the movie untruths:
-Buttercup is not black.
-The bookbag Katniss grabbed at the Cornucopia was supposed to be orange.
-the Mockingjay pin. Katniss did not buy the Mockingjay pin. It was not a gift for Prim, later given back to Katniss BY Prim as a token. The pin came from Madge. This is an important detail. The pin also was not secretly put on her jacket by Cinna. The Gamemakers knew she had it. All tokens must clear the review board.
-It was not Peeta’s idea for Katniss to hold his hand. Cinna requested them to. All a part of the strategy they were using to defy the Capitol. Which brings me to my main grievance.
-What. The. Crap. They totally KILLED Katniss’s relationships with both Haymitch and Peeta. In the books, Katniss throws a knife at the wall while on the train (she doesn’t stab it in the table) and Peeta and Haymitch get in a scuffle (Peeta winds up with a black eye). This only begins Katniss’s strained relationship with Haymitch. He is soooo condescending to her throughout the books (calling her sweetheart all the time, etc.) and it isn’t until later that the two of them seem to set aside their differences and actually work together. In the movie, Haymitch and Katniss appear to be overall, very chummy. Then there’s Peeta. A huge part of the series for me was the conflict Katniss felt—allegiance to Gale and newfound feelings for Peeta (whether she acknowledged them initially or not). But the movie made Katniss seem to have feelings for him the whole time. It was as if they didn’t even HAVE to sell the ‘star-crossed lovers’ bit because Katniss already cared for him! The scene on the balcony where Peeta tells Katniss he wants to die as himself is way more intense in the book than was conveyed in the movie. Katniss appeared almost agreeable and emotional, yet in the book she mocks Peeta for being overly-noble. Later, when Peeta has the gaping cut in his leg, Katniss kisses him twice. In the movie, you might think it’s because she’s moved by her love for him. Yet in the book we know it’s really because she gets parachutes from Haymitch when she acts affectionately towards Peeta. I felt like the movie was just trying to turn the book into a typical love story (Hollywood-ized. I should not be surprised!) But there is so much more to it than that. This false portrayal does not allow for Peeta to feel betrayed (which is how he actually feels at the end of the first book because he thinks Katniss was just acting in love for the cameras). Furthermore, in that particular scene she was supposed to give him a sleeping draught she mixed up for him so that she could run to the Cornucopia to get him some medicine, though in the movie she just sneaks out during the night.
-Seneca Crane was hung. He did not die by Nightlock.
-Details. These kids were in the woods. Fighting. Yet they appeared very clean almost all of the time. Other details. Katniss’s red dress was supposed to be jeweled. She was supposed to have her nails painted in the arena to remind herself she was Katniss: The girl who was on fire. The colors of the clothing she wore weren’t right. She picked out simple outfits in the book (black pants, a burgundy tunic, a green shirt one time). I guess I just kind of figured those were simple details that could have easily been picked out and followed. It would not have been hard. There's more, but for everyone's sanity I'll quit.
THG books are phenomenal. I encourage every one of you to read them. The movie was, however, lacking in my opinion. Seems like everyone knew it would be a box-office hit and so it was put together rather sloppily.