Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Movie vs. The Book: Mockingjay Part 1

"Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!" 

On November 21st, Mockingjay Part 1, based on the bestselling third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, opened in theaters. 

All of the fan-favorite actors and actresses returned to play their leading roles, but a few new additions needed to be made. Natalie Dormer joined the cast to play Cressida, as well as Julianne Moore to play President Coin. 

The following are some differences between the film adaptation and the book - some for the better, and some for the worse. If you have not yet read Mockingjay, please be aware because... SPOILER ALERT. 

  1. Effie Trinket makes an appearance in District 13 very early in the movie, unlike in the book where she does not appear until the end. I whole-heartedly believe in this change because 1) by replacing Katniss's three stylists, Effie works as a symbol for even greater change within the rebellion, as now even Capitol people are siding with the rebels and 2) her silly humor and clueless attitude  would be greatly missed. 
  2. In the book, before Katniss consents to becoming the symbol of the rebellion, the "Mockingjay", she negotiates with President Coin three important demands: her sister Prim gets to keep her cat, the tributes captured by the Capital will be given immunity upon their rescue, and she gets to kill President Snow. In the movie, quite surprisingly, Katniss only asks for the first two demands, leaving out the request to kill Snow. Because of this, Mockingjay Part 2 could possibly take on a very different plot, giving the book's controversial ending a chance to change.
"Are you, are you
Coming to the tree?
Wear a necklace of hope, side by side with me. 
Strange things did happen here 
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight in the hanging tree."

Not only is the scene where Katniss sings the song "The Hanging Tree" my favorite part of the movie, but also the part I believe was the most well done. Jennifer Lawrence gives the song a jazzy feel that is both catchy and haunting, causing her voice to echo in your head long after the movie is over. The song continues to play during the two following scenes, scenes that were added in full to the movie whereas they were only hinted at in the book. These two scenes show other Districts joining in the fight against the Capitol - by destroying a dam and attacking a troop of Peacekeepers, the citizens of Panem are shown to be strong and fierce. 

One thing I will criticize is the relationship between Katniss and Gale, it seems forced, and is arguably nonexistent. Although fans of Liam Hemsworth will be happy to see him finally get some well-deserved action, he is still portrayed as a wounded boy waiting for Katniss to realize she is in love with him (readers of the book will realize this is useless).  

Overall, I believe Mockingjay Part 1 did justice to the book, and did a good job setting up the expected more epic and action packed Part 2 which is scheduled for release in November 2015.

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