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Commentary: Differences between book, film versions of ‘The Hunger Games’

Courtesy of MCT

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I went to see “The Hunger Games” last week. I had just read the book a couple days before, so the content was very fresh in my mind. Warning: If you haven’t seen the film yet, quit reading because there are about to be spoilers.

First of all, in the book, Madge Undersee, the mayor’s daughter of District 12, gives Katniss Everdeen a mockingjay pin. In the film, Katniss just randomly picks the pin up at The Hob, a market in District 12. She gives it to her little sister Prim who then gives it back to Katniss when she volunteers for the games.

This is very confusing to me because Madge plays a pretty vital part in “The Hunger Games” as well as “Catching Fire,” the second book. Katniss’ relationship with Madge and the mayor is a big deal in the second book and I really have no clue how it’s going to be pulled it off in the second film.

Another thing that I was confused about was how much the movie focused on Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker of the 74th Hunger Games who equates to somewhat of a director of the competition. Seneca ultimately made the decision to allow two tributes from the same district to be deemed victors at the end of the first book. In the book though, there was only minor focus on Seneca. I was confused as to who he even was in the film, until the games started. The movie could have put a little less focus on him.

It’s the little details that were missing for me in terms of the film. I wanted to see a CGI mockingjay. I also would have liked to see the reflections of the dead tributes in the faces of the muttant dogs or mutant mutts, which are genetically engineered dogs used as weapons against the final three tributes by the Capitol. In the film, instead of Katniss plunging a needle into Peeta when he was about to die of a blood infection, sponsors sent them salve that could be used for both of their injuries.

Another thing I thought didn’t match well with the book is the fact that Peeta doesn’t lose his leg in the end of the film. This quite possibly could have an effect on the second movie. In the book, one of the mutts bites Peeta and Katniss ties a tourniquet to stop the blood, but he still loses his leg, which definitely has an effect in the second book on his ability to run. Maybe the movie didn’t do it because it would have affected Peeta’s sex appeal, or maybe it was once again because of the PG-13 rating.

I was just a little surprised to see Amandla Stenberg, an African-American, casted as District 11-tribute Rue, who was also the smallest and youngest tribute at 12 years old. I was offended, though, when I heard people were upset about it. I think that the young actress did a great job with the role. Even in the book, the tributes from District 11 are described as having dark skin and brown hair.

I don’t understand why someone would be upset about a little girl’s skin color. Come on, people. This isn’t the 1950s and we should be past all that by now.

In the end, I thought it was a very good film, but it could have used more detail. I think that lack of detail, such as Madge and Peeta’s leg, is going to hurt the production of the second and third films, but they will probably make do.

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