Sunday, February 16, 2014

Catching Fire: Movie v. Book

Although the Catching Fire movie was a wonderful, exciting film, it was also in many ways a gross oversimplification of the book. The most exciting parts of the book were largely depicted in the movie representation, but the small details which build the characters and give meaning to the revolution are left out. My first complaint about the Catching Fire movie was the fact that it went too fast! A reader will go through the entire first third of the book with out more than a brief mentioning of the upcoming hunger games, yet in the movie they jump right into the violent action. This means leaving out crucial details such as Katniss's meeting with Bonnie and Twill in the woods. Bonnie and Twill are runaways from District Eight who are attempting to make their way to District Thirteen. These girls believe that there are people living underground in District Thirteen, left alone because they had nuclear weapons during the dark days. They tell Katniss about the footage of the mockingjay in District Thirteen which is constantly recycled, sparking the suspicion that perhaps the footage is being reused and there really are rebels living there. This leads me to the fact that District Thirteen is scarcely discussed until the end of the movie, even though Katniss spends a large part of the book obsessing over news footage, trying to figure out if there really is hope of a safe haven.
On a different note, the film overlooks the development of Peeta and Katniss's love, choosing instead to show Gale more frequently. In the actual text, many sweet moments are shown, such as Katniss and Peeta adding to the plant book together for weeks. All these small details justify the later development of Katniss and Peeta, but because the movie wanted to play up the love triangle, they chose to play up the infrequent encounters with Gale. When Katniss broke her heel in the book, Peeta carried her down the stairs every day for weeks, in addition to keeping her company during the day, yet this is never mentioned. In fact, the whole incident where Katniss breaks her heel is left out, which is a crucial part of showing how bad the situations in the districts have become. In district twelve, the new head peacekeeper Thread cracks down on all district activities, including illegal hunting. Katniss breaks her foot because Thread finds out she is in the woods and sends electricity to the fence to strand her. Katniss is then forced to climb a tree a jump over it, breaking her heel. Worse than the electricity in the fence are the public whippings, which are shown only once, inaccurately, in the movie. Gale's whipping is shown in the movie, but in the version he is whipped because he attacks the head peacekeeper, which seems almost justifiable. In the book though, the whipping of over forty lashes is caused simply because he was in possession of a wild turkey which he claimed he had found inside the fence. All attacks from the peacekeepers are barely provoked, which could definitely have been shown better. Over all, the movie was a fun film which I really enjoyed, but not a particularly accurate representation of the book.
Gale being whipped in District 12
Katniss and Peeta spark rebellion in District 11

1 comment:

  1. I really like the point that you made about the misrepresentation of the love triangle between Peeta, Gale, and Katniss. I completely agree that by removing many of the touching moments with Peeta and over-emphasizing her interaction with Gale, the viewer is really given the wrong impression about the overall dynamic. In my opinion, Katniss spends much of Catching Fire pulling back from Gale as things become more developed with Peeta, and the viewer definitely misses that dynamic at least until the Quarter Quell.