Like many of you out there, the GLG folks could not wait to see The Hunger Games on the big screen. And this last weekend, we did! Given our serious fandom of The Hunger Games more generally, and Katniss specifically, we thought we would do a little HG response fun. So we asked the GLG folks to pick a particular topic from the film and respond to it. This week, read on for thoughts on HG and violence, terrifying technology, Hunger Games fashion, and much more! And if you have a topic you want to discuss, post away in the comments or send us a question at email@example.com.
First up: Sarah S. on Savvy
I opted to comment on changes from book to film that I’m calling additions of savvy. (It seemed better than spending my time ranting about Lenny Kravitz’s awful Cinna). The film remains quite faithful to the book, but they added some noteworthy twists to either foreshadow the next two movies or to slightly alter the characters.
First, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) plays a much larger role in this film than the book, and his primary purpose is to foresee Katniss’s potency as a figure who could spark a revolt. The film adds scenes of Snow warning game-maker Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) to avoid making her into a symbol to rally around, either as a martyr or a winner. It also shows the stirrings of said revolt, beginning in District 11 as a response to Katniss’s humane behavior after the death of their young tribute, Rue (Amandla Stenberg).
President Snow & Seneca Crane
On one hand, this depiction of Snow’s savvy enhanced the film plot. But on the other hand, it undermined a key attribute of the Capitol: arrogance. In the book, the real reason Katniss can get through the Games as she does is because the Capitol, from Snow on down, is so immured in its own propaganda and immutability it can’t see her (and Peeta) coming. Indeed, immediately after the games (in book 2, Catching Fire) only Snow recognizes the danger she poses. Relatedly, there’s a thread in the first book (particularly) of Katniss and Peeta struggling against being pawns in the Capitol’s game. But in order for that theme to work, the Capitol has to view them as mere pawns. Yet in the film, we get the cliché movie twist of making the protagonist always already extraordinary. For my part, I would have preferred to retain the set-up of the novels, where Katniss works as a character because of her flawed humanity.