While everyone is off talking about “The Hunger Games” breaking box-office records with a weekend earning of $155 million, we have a few bones to pick.
Though the film was a great complement to the book, providing more depth outside of the games with an omniscient view of the districts, Gale and the Capitol during the film, “The Hunger Games” sidestepped a few huge points important to the plot and setup for the subsequent sequel “Catching Fire.”
Sure the film got a lot of things right (Rue‘s death, Peeta‘s innocent boyish charm, Haymitch), making it sit well with diehard tributes (Rebels? Mockingjays? We don’t believe “Hunger Games” fans have claimed a proper nickname yet).
And, although everything wasn’t portrayed in the film (we were really disappointed Woody Harrelson didn’t stumble off the stage in District 12 and slightly bummed Katniss‘ hometown friend Madge got the bump due to a contrived moment of sisterly bonding), these items weren’t necessary to propelling the story forward.
However, after leaving the theatres, despite the cheers and praise, we noticed there were five huge plot details missing from the film that need to be addressed in the follow-up.
1. Peeta’s Leg Amputation
You wouldn’t have guessed it from the way the film made it appear; however, Peeta’s injury was much worse than you thought. It was so bad, the Capitol deemed his leg unsaleable, hacked it off and replaced it with an artificial one.
Photo: trailer screengrab
When Caesar asks Peeta how his new leg is working out.
“New leg?” I say, and I can’t help reaching out and pulling up the bottom of Peetas pants. “Oh, no,” I whisper, taking in the metal-and-plastic device that has replaced his flesh.
“No one told you?” asks Caesar gently.
Peeta’s robotic leg is brought up all the time in “Catching Fire.” His leg often slows him down, making him appear slightly weaker.
2. Katniss Became Deaf In One Ear
After Katniss blew up the Career tribute supplies, she’s sent flying and there’s a brief moment in the film where there’s a slight ringing noise for our heroine, common enough in films and TV shows. No mention of this is brought up again, and we’re to believe Katniss fine. In the book, blood streams from Katniss’ ear, leaving her permanently deaf in her left ear. She doesn’t regain hearing until the Capitol fixes her with a replacement aid after winning the Hunger Games.
…Yes, my right ear can hear again, although it’s still ringing. As for my left ear, well, at least the bleeding has stopped. … I don’t know what the explosion did, but it damaged something deep and irreparable.
In “Catching Fire,” Katniss uses her government aid as a scapegoat (we won’t say why). The film can easily write this point out, but we find it interesting that the main character went deaf at all.
3. There’s a District 13
Photo: trailer screengrab
Thought there were only 12 districts? Think again. Originally, there were 13 districts; however, when the inhabitants attempted to rebel against the Capitol, the government decided to make an example of them by destroying their district and anyone living there. As a punishment for rebellion, and to prevent further uprisings, the Capitol started “The Hunger Games” as a reminder of their imminent power over the districts.
The film did a poor job of explaining this through some short video. District 13 comes into play in book 2 and full centre in book 3.4. There are people going around with their tongues cut out.
If people defy the Capitol, their punishment is most likely death. Sometimes, they’ll go easy by cutting your tongue out and turning you into a mute servant, an Avox. This happened to a girl Katniss knew in “The Hunger Games” and occurs again in “Catching Fire.”
This factor isn’t as important to the plot line. (We imagine showing mutilated humans wouldn’t go over well for a tween film.) However, if there was ever any doubt of the Capitol’s unyielding power and mercilessness, this certainly provides confirmation.
5. Katniss Isn’t REALLY In Love With Peeta (she’s a clueless heartbreaker)
Yes, the two “star-crossed” lovers share a few flames; however, while Peeta honestly is head-over-heels for Katniss, she’s simply along for the ride. For Katniss, their romance is purely a survival tactic contrived to keep them both alive. Haymitch briefly mentions this after Peeta’s interview in the film; however, the topic never returns.
The movie makes it out to seem like Katniss drops the act and slowly warms up to Peeta. This is partially true; however, in the book the reader is constantly aware of Katniss’ true feelings toward Peeta. She believes the entire romance an elaborate scheme that even Peeta knows about. The film fails to show Peeta discover Katniss faked every hug, kiss and smile—for the most part—and that the idea of a relationship outside of the games is nothing more than a pipedream.
Photo: trailer screengrab
Haymitch: “Great job, you two. Just keep it up in the district until the cameras are gone.” …
“It was all for the Games,” Peeta says. “How you acted.”
“Not all of it,” I say, tightly holding onto my flowers.
The book closes with a heartbroken Peeta and the two barely speaking except to continue the show for the sake of their lives. If the Capitol finds out their relationship is a farce, they’ll be killed. “Catching Fire,” will follow how they need to keep this charade up, and how tough it becomes since Peeta now knows Katniss’ heart was never really his.
(This won’t really affect the plot of the second film, but if you went into the film without reading the book, you probably missed this.)
The Wolf Mutts Were The Tributes!
Remember those giant dogs chasing down Katniss, Peeta and Cato in the forest near the end of the film? In the book, Katniss makes mention of how the eyes of the mutts look awfully familiar, until she realises they’re those of the fallen tributes. Yes, the Capitol actually made Rue, Glimmer, Thresh and the rest of the bunch into mutated wolves. Each ones shares the eyes of its tribute combined with a distinct fur that matches their hair.
Gamekeeper Seneca Crane makes an ever-so-slight mention of this when he tells the planners to send in the genetically-altered mutts. If you don’t know to look for this, you’ll miss it.
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