Scenes in ‘The Hunger Games’ Movie That Weren’t In the Book – Why They Worked!
Spoiler alert for the film: All of these scenes are not in the book, so don’t read if you don’t want to know, and haven’t seen it yet! (If so, what are you doing? Head out there to your theater and see it! )
Often fans will get annoyed when adaptations add scenes that aren’t in the book. However, in this case, with the author on board as producer and co-screenwriter – plus with the novel’s first person perspective – the scenes added really enrich the story in my opinion! Here is a list of scenes that aren’t in the novel, but worked well in the movie.
Katniss and Prim
Katniss and Prim’s relationship is strengthened by changing the way Katniss gets the pin – it’s important because their relationship really is the foundation of all three novels. Also, unlike in the novel, Katniss sings the valley song (which she sings to Rue later), as a lullaby to Prim. I feel like it was a necessary addition / change, since Prim’s role is much more central to the whole trilogy than Madge’s was. Having that relationship feel real is extremely important for the film’s success.
Haymitch and Effie’s Hilarious Banter
The hilarious conversation between Haymitch and Effie provides much needed comic relief in a film about kids killing kids! ‘That is Mahogany!’ will surely go down as a fan favorite for years to come.
Haymitch Watching Capitol Children
Seeing how Haymitch reacted when seeing the capitol children play-fighting, obviously copying the violence that has ruined his life, and haunts him everyday really hit me hard. Woody Harrelson nailed the look on Haymitch’s face when seeing this happen. It really intensified the fact that these capitol citizens are actually enjoying something so extremely barbaric.
Katniss and Foxface’s Collision
I loved this scene. The look on both of their faces just screamed, “I’m scared, I don’t want to be here! I don’t want to kill anyone!” Amazing job, Jackie Emerson!
Cato’s Ending Monologue
Alexander Ludwig shined as Cato in the ending monologue – making the audience really feel for his character after hating him for the majority of the movie! Yes, it’s true, he’s a ruthless killing machine that was trained for this from childhood. However, he didn’t know any better. At the end, he was a child, terrified of dying. Really amazing performance.
Seneca Crane’s Expanded Role
Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane was fantastic! This was his job, he enjoyed it, it was just something that was understood as part of life, he didn’t think it was barbaric. It was obvious that President Snow was very much in control of him. I just really loved his character, he did a great job with it.
Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith
The scenes where Caesar and Claudius are announcers worked really well to replace inner dialogue in many scenes. Especially for the tracker-jacker scene. Without them, movie-goers that hadn’t read the book would have been pretty confused!
The Tracker-Jacker Hallucination
It was such a creative way to show Katniss’ relationship with her mother, and the death of her father. It may have been a little bit confusing for those that hadn’t read the books, but it was a nice tip of the hat to those who had. Also, did any of you love the creepy bit with Caesar in the forest as much as I did? I don’t know, I think I have a strange obsession with Caesar! He was just so great! The whole montage did such a great job of making you feel like you were ‘out of it’ and somewhat high on the venom as well. Same thing with how they added the high pitched ‘ear-ringing’ sound after she blew up the food – it was a great little nod to those who knew it had damaged Katniss’ ear quite considerably.
Actually getting to hear that the reason why the section of woods Katniss had been laying in was engulfed in flames was very interesting – plays well into the story with the forcefield from Haymitch’s Quarter Quell. The CGI was done extremely well and was interesting to watch! Cool to see them actually making the mutts, and putting the tribute death announcements in the sky.
Haymitch Negotiating Sponsors
Seeing Katniss in pain after being burned really affects Haymitch, and I think proves how much he actually likes her (as much as he’d hate to admit it) – and he stops drinking and heads into the high-profile capitol party to negotiate a sponsor for her medicine. It was great to be able to see that process.
Seneca and Snow in the Rose Garden
As Gary Ross has said, these scenes prepared us for Catching Fire perfectly! As Snow says, “A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.” Katniss was creating a spark of rebellion, that if not contained, could turn into a fire that would destroy Panem. Putting it out in words like that, plain and simple, really made it make more sense to me. Since I understood it in Catching Fire, and Mockingjay when I read them, but the whole rebellion plot did confuse me a little bit in The Hunger Games at first.
Uprising in District 11
I can’t blame Suzanne Collins for giving this addition her blessing – it was great! In the novels, since you’re stuck in Katniss’ head, the whole storyline with rebellion and ‘Katniss vs. Snow’ scenario can be a bit confusing. You can feel like BAM he’s all of a sudden mad, and not fully understand why since we are so very much on Katniss’ side, and why would anyone believe what she did was anything but necessary? Also, who’s to say there wasn’t a rebellion in 11 that we never heard about? There’s so many great opportunities to expand when in a first person narrative! Shoutout to Stephen Soderbergh for doing a great job filming this sequence!
Seneca Crane and the Nightlock
Having Snow force Seneca to commit suicide with the nightlock was just so ironic and perfect. Again, when reading the book, Katniss wouldn’t know that this occurred, but it just makes so much sense, doesn’t it? He was locked in a room with the berries so he could either starve or eat them. It really showed how much power Snow had, and that the small little spark Katniss created with the berries was starting to burn into something bigger.
Final Scene – President Snow is Angry…Very Angry
This scene also perfectly set up the franchise for Catching Fire. Seeing how the citizens are welcoming Peeta and Katniss home with open arms, two victors…Snow isn’t happy. Then in the next film, he’s coming to District 12 to tell Katniss just how unhappy he is!
Did I miss anything? Sound off in the comments! I was pretty happy with all the scenes they added but did any of them not work for you? Which one was your favorite?