Book Vs. Movie: The Hunger Games


Lauren Kelly and Paige Nelson

As someone who loves reading as well as watching movies, I often find myself comparing the two. I’m always excited to find a movie adaptation of a good book, however some are better than others. One of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations is The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins.

The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl fighting for her own and her family’s survival in a dystopian society. Every year two people from each district are sent to an arena where they have to fight and kill each other. The last person alive is the winner of the “games.” Katniss and a boy from her district, Peeta Mellark, go into the games together and struggle to make it out alive.

There are many aspects that make a film adaptation good or bad, and one of the main ones is casting. Those who are cast need to accurately portray both the physical traits of the characters they’re playing as well as the emotional state of the characters. The Hunger Games has some of the best casting I’ve seen in a film adaptation. Jennifer Lawrence nails Katniss’s aggressive and off-putting personality, while showing just enough emotion to make the viewers really feel for her. Her performance is so captivating it makes it almost impossible to remember that she’s only acting, and not really Katniss Everdeen. Josh Hutcherson portrayed Peeta perfectly as well. He captured Peeta’s surface level sweetness while also showing his intelligence and moments of cunning. 

Another thing I want to talk about is the filming of the movie itself. There are many times when the camera is moving around erratically or shaking, which really adds to the ambiance of the movie. It creates tension and gives the viewers an uneasy feeling. I also like how there are many moments of silence in the movie, like when the names are being pulled for who will be in that year’s Hunger Games. The silence of the crowd and the absence of music shows the palpable tension of everyone waiting to find out who will be chosen. The creators of the movie also did a wonderful job with showing enough violence to make the viewers uncomfortable, while still keeping the gore to a minimum. They showed just enough to get the point across of how gruesome the Hunger Games was for the children competing in it.

The only thing I have to say in favor of the book over the movie is that there are many small details that are left out of the movie. The missing details aren’t crucial to the plot, but they do further develop the characters’ relationships with each other, as well as showing how messed up the dystopian society really is. One of the details left out is that the genetically-altered mutts at the end of the first book/film are made with genes from the dead tributes. The mutts had the eyes of the dead tributes, and their fur matched the hair of the tribute they were made from. This is revealed in the book, but not in the movie. I wish the movie had made this fact more clear, because it is just one more gruesome detail that shows how horrible that society is. Another crucial detail that is not developed as much in the movie is that Peeta was truly in love with Katniss, but Katniss was only faking her feelings for him (in the beginning) to help them win. This is important because it shows the one-sided nature of their relationship, and also shows why later Katniss believes that Peeta is a much better person than she ever was and that she needed to save him.

Overall, I think The Hunger Games movie is a great adaptation of the book. It is one of the most popular teen dystopian franchises for a reason; both the books and movies are phenomenal. The movie was able to accurately portray the characters and the world around them, and did a great job of sticking to the plot and keeping the most crucial scenes in. Anyone can enjoy the movie, regardless of if they read the book or not. Taking everything into account, I would give The Hunger Games movie a 9.5/10.