I first heard about The Hunger Games when I was looking for a book to buy my niece. I ended up getting her Judy Blume books and eventually buying The Hunger Games for myself. I loved the book and quickly bought and read the next two in the series of dark and complicated young adult fiction
Like all fans, I was concerned when I heard the book about a future totalitarian United States split into 12 districts that every year must each send a boy and girl to fight to the death in a gladiator version of American Idol, would be made into a movie.
The Hunger Games movie is a necessarily stripped down version of the book. At two hours and twenty-two minutes it certainly couldn’t be considered short, yet I wanted more. What is captured on screen works. It’s what is left out that lessened the emotional impact of the film and makes reading the books a much deeper experience. The importance of Katniss’s relationship with her father, his death in a mine explosion and her mother’s subsequent breakdown is barely alluded to. Moviegoers who have not read the books will not get the deep connection between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who is barely seen. The significance of Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss facing off each other in the games is not revealed until well into the film, which minimizes the tension between the two. A full scene with the prep team as they serve as an introduction for Katniss to the world of the capitol also would have added some texture.