Now that The Hunger Games has gobbled up all the world's money, it's time to take a hard look at how well it captured everything we loved from the book.
While the movie stayed pretty faithful to Suzanne Collins' book, there were still a lot of things missing. Here is our list of everything from the The Hunger Games book that didn't make it into the movie.
We're going to attempt to be fair and not petty (e.g., Marvel was shot in the throat by Katniss, not the chest!) Just the big things! Here are the really big deviations from the source material.
The Mockingjay Pin
Right out the gate, there's a fairly big change. Katniss no longer receives the pin from Madge Undersee (daughter of the mayor of District 12). Instead she picks it up for her sister, Prim, at The Hob to cheer her up on Reaping Day explaining that the pin will keep her safe. Of course Prim quickly gives it back to her once Katniss volunteers to take her little sister's spot as tribute in the Hunger Games, thus giving the iconic symbol a lot more emotional weight. Some may argue that Madge is important later on when Katniss gets a whiff of the rebellion from the mayor's television. But now that the movie has put television inside Prim and her mother's homes (EDIT: apparently the Everdeens do have a TV in the book, the Mayor's TV is just special) it shouldn't really be that big of a deal to cut Katniss' schoolmate. Sorry Madge!
The Avox Girl/Capture
Early while Katniss and Gale illegally hunt for food they witness a red headed girl and a young man (presumably running away from The Capitol) get sucked up by a giant hover craft. The young man is actually harpooned right through the chest and the girl is captured alive. She shows up later as an "Avox" — a tongueless servant for the Capitol, punished forever for her crime. While there most certainly are Avox-like servants waiting on Peeta and Katniss in their skyscraper apartment, we never really know what horrors these people faced for their "crimes." In the film Katniss does remark that if she and Gale were to run away the Capitol could catch them and cut out their tongues, but it's all talk. The silent red head (while not integral to the story) certainly made it known that life inside the city was pretty horrendous for those who are opposed to President Snow.
Lamb Stew (Actual Hunger)
Food is a very big deal in Suzanne Collins' books. In fact there are websites, and books dedicated to the dishes cooked up on Panem. One could even argue that the whole plot of the book is based around food — not having it, versus having it. The winning tribute returns to a world of money (so they can buy food) and their district gets to live a whole year with additional rations from The Capitol. Almost every other thought inside Katniss' head is about food, finding food, protecting the food, feeding her family, feeding herself in the games, will she have enough food? How will her future actions affect the people of District 12's food supply? Food is everything. Heck, "Hunger" is in the title! So it was surprising that not a single food item was namechecked in the movie. There was no reaping fish soup, no goat cheese bread Prim saves for her sister, no the Mellark cookies, no crescent bread delivered from District 11 which was supposedly meant for little Rue (a completely gutting moment), and of course, no lamb stew!
That's not to say the movie was devoid of all food, but the way it was handled on camera was strange. One of the first shots of District 12 shows someone chomping down on a bit of meat, thus implying that the people have food, they just prefer to eat it outside. In the novel, Katniss and Peeta spend most of their time on the train and in the Capitol stuffing their faces (because food is so scarce in District 12). While director Gary Ross treated the audience to a few shots of Capitol dishes (glasses full of blue gatorade, completely unrecognizable jellied dishes, and plates of gorgeous delicacies) we rarely see the starving kids eat! Where is the lamb stew? Even in her interview with Caesar Flickerman, Katniss brings up the lamb stew! Plus it's the very dish that Katniss and Peeta share while inside their cave of love later on in the games.
The hunger is missing from Hunger Games, even when Katniss had her flashback in the rain with Peeta. She merely looked sad, not a wreck of malnutrition desperately trying to keep her sister from starving. This is why it's SO important when Katniss makes Gale promise her family won't starve when she's gone (and if she dies) because there is no food.
Speaking of the magical night of lamb stew, what happened to all the cave scenes? While battling it out inside the games, Katniss finds Peeta slowly bleeding to death in the river. She drags him into this cave where they spend a few nights watching Peeta's infection grow. All of that is in the movie, but it's trimmed down to the bare essentials. Katniss does not open up to Peeta and reveal the sweet story of her sister's goat. Nor do they share a silver parachuted feast together. Inside the cave is where Katniess truly begins to care for Peeta. So much so that she tricks him with a special broth (also sent by a sponsor) so she can retrieve his medicine. While we're all aware the movie can't be three hours long, we would have liked to see Katniss at least attempt to warm up to the boy with the bread. That makes her eventual exploitation of his love (in the end) even more bittersweet.
The Mockingjay (sort of)
We didn't actually get to see the Mockingjay. But they were still in there. Not a huge deal. Can't wait to see what it looks like in the next film.
Octavia, Flavius and Venia
Katniss' glam squad took a backseat (were they even in it, it looked like different people in every beauty scene) so her relationship with Cinna could get more screen time. Understandable. Let's hope they come out in full force in the second movie — because if not, no one will care about their terrible fates in the third.
Effie Trinket's Backstory
Call us crazy, but was Effie Trinket ever officially introduced? Did anyone actually say her name in this story? Were her position, title and aspirations ever revealed? A friend of ours who hadn't read the books was confused as to why this character was still hanging around with Peeta and Katniss. They thought she was the Reaping talking head that traveled from District to District, gathering tributes. That being said, Elizabeth Banks NAILED this character. "That is Mahogany!"
"Muttations" Weren't Fallen Tributes
When Katniss, Cato and Peeta battle it out in the big finale, they're overtaken by a pack of gigantic dogs hungry for their flesh, which are dubbed "Muttations." These creatures allegedly have the eyes and hair of each fallen tribute. Making it seem as if the Gamekeepers had harvested the eyes of the tributes and shoved them into these monsters. Was it an important cut, probably not. We already know The Capitol is evil, they send children to die for national entertainment. We don't need mutts that may (or may not according to Catching Fire) be made of the eyes of fallen tributes. It's a huge stretch of believability. But like tongueless people subjected to a lifetime of servitude, that's horrifying.
Haymitch's Drunk Antics
Haymitch got pretty sober relatively quick didn't he? Wasn't he supposed to fall off the stage during the reaping of District 12? We would have liked to see more "Haymitch Disappoints," before he got his shit together. However, the additional scenes of Haymitch going after sponsors and tricking Seneca Crane fit the tone very nicely. And gave the audience a chance to understand how the whole game world operated without having to explain. An excellent moment of showing, not telling.
Peeta's first Hunger Games fatality was played down tremendously in the movie. One could even argue that the movie completely covered up his first kill. When the careers (who Peeta teams up with during the first half of the games) come across a Tribute from District 8, they attempt to kill her but fail. While she's slowly dying it's Peeta that volunteers to go back and finish her off. Katniss sees all of this and is horrified. Granted one could argue he was showing the tribute compassion, what's more important is that Peeta was demonstrating to the audience that he was capable of killing. In the movie you just see the District 8 Tributes' campfire, which causes the careers to appear. It is not implied that Peeta did any killing.
Hovercraft Body Collectors: Katniss Loses Her Mind
The hovercrafts were also a big part of the Games that were never really utilized in the movie. After a Tribute has died, a hovercraft would appear and snatch the body up (taking along whatever was attached to it). This is fairly important in the second book as the resistance uses their hovercrafts against The Capitol. But also, in the final moment of the Games when Katniss and Peeta consider eating the poisonous nightlock berries it's heightened, because Peeta is slowly bleeding to death from his legs. They NEED the hovercraft to come, and fast. They have to make the decision quickly. When they do trick the gamekeepers into releasing them both, the hovercraft separates Peeta and Katniss and our braided hero loses her damn mind. It's the first time you see Katniss go absolutely insane for Peeta. She doesn't know if he survived, if he bled to death, what the Capitol is doing to him — she just goes bonkers, and it's really the only way you should end a death battle, with crazy rage and fear.
Peeta Loses His Leg
Because of Peeta's horrible end wound and Katniss' tourniquet Peeta loses his leg. There is no reference to any leg missing in the end of The Hunger Games movie.
People Say We're In Love
The epic betrayal of Peeta's heart. In the film we see Haymitch warning Katniss that if she wants to live another day after the games she has to pretend to love Peeta forever. In the book Katniss' big "my love for you is make believe" reveal is devastating to Peeta, because he was actually in love with her. Plus, Katniss has been seemingly fanning this unrequited love by resting her head on his shoulder and flirting with him during the final interviews. On the screen we see Katniss hold Peeta's hand and say a few nice things to him, but the actual exploitation is gone from the movie (possibly to detract the audiene from hating Katniss for being so cruel). Couple that with the fact that Peeta never said the iconic line, "She has no idea, the effect she can have," in the film — and you have a pretty strongly one-sided love triangle.
This may be our only nitpicky fan comment. Buttercup is black and white. Were there no orange cats available?
Top Image from Katnips On Fire