Okay, as I continue on I am going to assume that whoever is reading this blog post has already read the entire book series. In terms of the movie, I'm not sure how someone who hasn't seen it yet would feel. I mean, you already know the entire plot from the book so I'm really not spoiling anything. The way I see it is this: You will be entertained by the movie, it is a pretty good movie all around, but there are a lot of differences from the book and I will lay them out for you. You've been warned.
The biggest difference in the film is the mockingjay pin. *sigh* In the book, Katniss receives the pin from Madge, a friend from District 12. She wears it not knowing its significance until she and Rue have a discussion in the arena. In the movie, Madge doesn't exist. Katniss finds the pin in the Hob, gives it to Prim to "protect her at the Reaping", Prim gives it back to Katniss, and then there is never a discussion with Rue. Oh, and Katniss wears the pin on her dress at the very end of the movie as a sign of her rebellion, which never happened in the book. I was such a fan of the way the pin was introduced in the book--not so much in the movie.
The movie does capture the general feeling of the games and it doesn't skimp out on a lot of the violence. There are definitely a few deaths I was surprised to see included, but at the same time a lot of the deaths are just skipped over. (e.g. Katniss doesn't battle anyone for the backpack) After the initial battle at the cornucopia, 12 die instead of 11. WHY? Thresh is killed by the muttations instead of Cato. WHY? I guess just to move the story along but these little changes could've just used one dialogue line and stayed true to the book. (edit: It might be unclear how Thresh dies in the book. The scene near the end was changed, however, because in the book Cato comes frantically running past Peeta and Katniss and Peeta is limping as they all run together to the cornucopia. This would've been an even more adrenaline-filled scene if it'd stayed true to the book.)
Other scenes that are absent or changed in the movie:
- Katniss never receives bread from Rue's district
- Katniss never receives sleep potion or gives it to Peeta
- They never receive a feast basket when they are starving. (also, they are never starving)
- There is never a dried-up stream or torrential rain
- Peeta never really appears all that sick. At the end of the games, he just hops down off the cornucopia and he and Katniss look/act rather healthy. There is no mention of either requiring any hospitalization, no metal leg or cane.
- Katniss' dress for the interview has ZERO jewels on it. And she twirls in her dress to create flames in what is probably the cheesiest scene in the movie.
- Peeta throws a heavy object in training to prove to the Careers that he is no one to be scoffed at
- Rue steals a knife from a Career during the training period.
- Katniss doesn't have flames painted on her nails. (easy fix)
- The muttations at the end are just CGI dogs and not combinations of the tributes and wolves. This made me sad.
- Katniss is never visibly thirsty. She finds water right away and doesn't have to wander around trying to find it. She stays basically healthy throughout the entire Games except for her tracker jacker stings and her leg burn.
- After Peeta professes his crush on Katniss during the interview, she doesn't injure his hands.
- After Katniss wakes up from hallucinating from her stings, Rue is there explaining that Katniss had been asleep for days and that she'd been changing her camouflage.
- The sponsor gifts are delivered with a little noise, in a metal case with actual notes from Haymitch. (this change made sense to me)
The movie ends at a similar point that the book does but continuing the discussion on Katniss and Peeta, I was missing his realization that it was all faked, or at least a good portion of it was. In the book, Haymitch prepares Katniss for the post-Games interview and tells her that he doesn't need to do so for Peeta because "he's already there." Peeta only finds out Katniss' jumbled feelings after that. The movie ends with Peeta still being clueless and Katniss making eye contact with Gale back in District 12. And with President Snow looking generally evil and plotting. And with Seneca Crane being locked in a room with poisonous berries.
Using our new ratings system, I'd give the new Hunger Games movie: