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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire book vs. movie: 7 Tweaks

How true is the film adaptation to the book? Loyal readers will be happy to know it’s pretty darn close; however, there are a few changes that may have you wanting to poke the filmmakers with your mockingjay pin. Keep reading to discover what was altered.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Plutarch Heavensbee doesn’t know what time it is

That’s because he doesn’t have a mockingjay watch! He does take the time to dance with Katniss at the ball, much to the beautiful Tribute’s displeasure. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) plays the calculating Gamesmaker in Catching Fire and adds a very unsettling vibe to the movie. We think the filmmakers cut his mockingjay watch to keep us in suspense as to whether or not he’s Katniss’ friend or foe. In general, the mockingjay symbol is much less prevalent in the movie than the book.

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President Snow’s granddaughter

Though she doesn’t have a name (yet!), Snow’s young granddaughter (Erika Bierman) makes several appearances in the film to show how fond the youth of Panem are of Katniss. Almost like a superhero or religious figure, Katniss has great influence over the young citizens, suggesting they may be more likely to be led by her in the future. We’ll just have to wait for Mockingjay to see if the granddaughter reappears.

Catching Fire


Hi, my name is Haymitch and I’m an alcoholic

In the book, Haymitch’s drinking is quite severe, though through his backstory, we understand that he’s self-medicating due to his severe psychological anguish. Also, when District 12 runs out of alcohol, Katniss and Peeta help Haymitch detox before finding him more rotgut. In the movie, he’s still a heavy drinker, but there’s no time for him to detox. Additionally, while Katniss does take a sip of his alcohol, she doesn’t get drunk and end up hungover like in the book. Certainly the The Hunger Games‘ filmmakers want to keep Miss Everdeen a positive role model.


Darius who?

Darius, the young peacekeeper from District 12 who tried to help Gale, ends up on the cutting-room floor. Maybe the fact that he gets turned into an Avox (a mute, zombie-like slave) by the Capitol was too harsh to show or too difficult to explain. The movie is 2 hours and 26 minutes and pretty jam-packed with action, so we’re not complaining.

Catching Fire


Au revoir, Bonnie and Twill

In the book, Bonnie and Twill are two refugees from the riotous District 8 who Katniss tries to help. They offer her a piece of bread with the mockingjay symbol baked into the center and speak about the new District 13. In the movie, though, there are hints of rioting districts, but any info about District 13 is kept until the end of the film. It seems the movie version has Katniss less focused on political uprisings and more focused on her love triangle with Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) — when she’s not struggling to stay alive. Since The Hunger Games: Mockingjay will be split into two movies, we assume the filmmakers will have plenty of time to explore the new district with the unlucky number.

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Rue’s ghost

In the book, Katniss is continually haunted by memories of Rue. It seems that Rue’s death is her biggest regret and often the subject of her tormenting nightmares. In the movie, Katniss’ grief for Rue is pretty much summed up in the scene where she must visit District 11. She sees Rue’s sorrowful family up on a platform and a single tear rolls down her face. However, Peeta still paints a portrait of Rue during training for Katniss to see.

Catching Fire


Peeta channels Michael Phelps

In the book, Peeta has a fear of the water during the games, since he doesn’t know how to swim. Apparently, the movie’s director Francis Lawrence wanted to make Peeta a bit more agile and macho, saying, “We made some changes to Peeta’s narrative. We manned him up a little. And by the way, it didn’t take a lot, just little choices to make here and there. The story doesn’t really change, his relationship with Katniss doesn’t change — he’s just a different kind of character.” Josh Hutcherson, the actor who plays Peeta, agreed. “The option was either me drowning or sitting there like a cat batting my paw into the water. Either way the visual is horrible.” We think Josh looks hot no matter what!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in theaters Nov. 22.

Images courtesy Lionsgate

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