Differences Between The Hunger Games Mockingjay Movie and Book. 37 differences between Francis Lawrence‘s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and Suzanne Collins‘ third book in her trilogy have been noted. Some of the changes are minor while others are large.
The 37 differences between The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) movie and the book (spoilers):
1. They start in different places
In the Book: We open with Katniss standing amid the ruins of District 12. She fills us in on how she got here. She says she made it a condition of her cooperation that they taker her to District 12 first. On the third page, she describes her technique for fact-checking reality, running down an ever-more-complicated list of things that are true.
In the Movie: We open with Katniss reciting her list of things she knows to be true while hiding in what appears to be a ventilation duct. In the book she mentions having several hiding spots, and this must be one of them. She quickly gets dragged out, drugged, and placed back in her hospital bed. It takes close to 10 minutes for her to get to District 12 in the movie, after Plutarch explains to President Coin that it’ll remind Katniss who the real enemy is. So in the book the District 12 visit was Katniss’ choice, but in the movie, it’s a way to manipulate her into being the Mockingjay.
2. The movie isn’t tied to Katniss’ perspective
In the Book: All three Hunger Games books are told in first person from Katniss’ perspective. We don’t see what anyone else is doing when she’s not around.
In the Movie: Like Catching Fire, Mockingjay, Part 1 brings us new perspectives. Not only do we see what Plutarch and Coin are up to, but also what President Snow is doing. This means we get to see Snow ban the Mockingjay icon and watch his granddaughter kind of shamefully start removing the long braid in her hair — the same braid that became fashionable in the Capitol because of Katniss.
3. Katniss Watches Peeta’s First Interview in the Cafeteria
In the Book: Katniss and Gale are on their way to dinner when Gale gets a message on his communicuff for the two of them to head to Command. From there they watch Peeta’s first interview with Caesar Flickerman, so Katniss is around District 13’s most powerful when she watches Peeta call for a cease-fire, making him seem like an enemy to the rebels in 13.
In the Movie: Katniss and Gale make it to dinner and watch the interview from the cafeteria. So instead Katniss is there when the lower ranks of 13 decide Peeta is a traitor.
4. District 13’s High Command Is a Smaller Clique
In the Book: Whenever Katniss meets with High Command, it’s in a room that’s described as being full of people including Coin, Plutarch, Fulvia, Boggs, and other District 13 officials.
In the Movie: Usually she’s just meeting with Coin and Plutarch. Fulvia’s not even in the movie.
5. Katniss’ List of Demands Gets Trimmed
In the Book: On Prim’s suggestion, Katniss writes out a list of demands. If she’s going to agree to be the Mockingjay, then she wants a few things. On that list are five things: 1. Prim gets to keep Buttercup. 2. Katniss and Gale get to go hunting. 3. Gale will stay at her side whenever possible. 4. Peeta and the other Tributes will be granted immunity. 5. Katniss kills snow.
In the Movie: Prim suggests the demands just like in the book, but this time, Katniss only demands two things. First, that Peeta and the other Tributes will be granted immunity. And, almost as an after-thought, that her family can keep Buttercup.
6. Effie Is in 13, But Not Fulvia or the Prep Team
In the Book: Effie disappears for almost the entire book, putting in an appearance near the end. The only remnants of the Capitol in 13, besides Plutarch, are his assistant, Fulvia, and Katniss’ prep team: Venia, Flavius, and Octavia. Katniss is horrified when she discovers Venia, Flavius, and Octavia being held prisoner in the book. They’ve been chained up in a room and they’re treated terribly even after Katniss insists they shouldn’t be kept as prisoners.
In the Movie: Shortly after Katniss delivers her list of demands, Plutarch takes her to see Effie, who is sewing a new pink dress in her quarters, angry that she’s being forced to live so minimally. Fulvia and the prep team are all kind of combined into Effie in the movie, except she’s tougher than any of them. She actually stares down President Coin at one point. This decision means we don’t get to see the cruelty that District 13 is capable of, but it does keep the story moving, and Elizabeth Banks is so good as Effie that I was happy to see her onscreen instead of Fulvia, whose absence goes mostly unnoticed.
7. Effie Tells Katniss Cinna Is Dead
In the Book: Katniss assumes Snow killed Cinna, but it’s never confirmed.
In the Movie: Effie comes right out and says it.
8. Effie and Haymitch Kinda Flirt
In the Book: Nothing. There was never any hint of anything flirty between these two.
In the Movie: Haymitch is talking about how to get a decent propo out of Katniss, and asks the room to remember a time when Katniss genuinely moved them. Effie makes a couple of suggestions and Haymitch says, “You know, I like you better, Effie, without all that makeup.” And she replies, “I like you better sober.” It’s kinda flirty, but not overtly. Check it out below and see what you think.
9. Finally! An Avox!
This is actually the same as the book, but I thought it was worth noting that in the third movie, they finally use the word “avox” when Katniss meets Pollux. It was weird that they skipped over the whole avox thing in the first two movies.
10. The Bombing of District 8
In the Book: Katniss is sent to District 8 for the sake of a propo that will show her interacting with the wounded there. As she’s about to leave with her District 13 team, Capitol hovercraft show up and start bombing the place. Haymitch explicitly tells Katniss they think the raid was already scheduled and that it wasn’t her presence that brought on the bombing. Katniss fights back, and she and Gale end up taking down about five hoverplanes.
In the Movie: We switch perspectives to see President Snow watching Katniss on surveillance footage from District 8. He sees the makeshift hospital she visits where everyone gives her the three-finger salute (the salute didn’t happen in the book). He decides to bomb the hospital because he’s outlawed all Mockingjay iconography as treason, and these people have just committed treason. When he sends in the bombers, we don’t see as many of them, but we do see Katniss take out two with one arrow.
19 Ways ‘Mockingjay, Part 1’ Is Different from the Book
11. Katniss Sees the Propo in Public
In the Book: Katniss and Gale didn’t return from District 8 unscathed. They were both treated that night in the hospital wing, and the next morning they saw the propo for the first time during a Command meeting. By that time the video had already been played 18 times on Capitol airwaves.
In the Movie: Before the video airs on Capitol airwaves, it’s shown to the people of District 13, who assemble in a gigantic hall to see it. The video is almost exactly as its described in the book, but after it’s over Coin holds Katniss’ hand and raises them together in victory.
12. We See District 7 Fight the Peacekeepers
In the Book: We’re told the districts are rebelling against the Capitol, but we don’t really see it.
In the Movie: One scene shows District 7’s army of lumberjacks (seriously, an army of lumberjacks) scurry up trees to flee from the Capitol’s Peacekeepers. Once they’re up in the trees, they set off a series of bombs to take down the white-clad enforcers.
13. Katniss Doesn’t Kill the Deer
In the Book: When Gale and Katniss get clearance to go hunting around District 13, they bag “a mixed dozen — rabbits, squirrels, and turkeys.” They bring back the game to be added to the food supply. Katniss mentions that the “animals here are not suspicious enough,” but that doesn’t stop her from killing them.
In the Movie: When they go hunting they come across a buck who just stares at Katniss with her bow drawn. She notes that they’ve “never been hunted before,” and puts down her bow.
14. Gale Doesn’t Butt Heads with Boggs
In the Book: Gale gets in Boggs’ way twice. First, he blocks Boggs so Katniss can run away and hide after seeing Peeta’s first interview with Ceasar Flickerman. The second time is when Katniss and Gale climb to a District 8 rooftop to fight the Capitol’s bombers. That time Gale kicks Boggs in the face on his way up the ladder, breaking Boggs’ nose. This leaves him wearing a plastic flesh-colored mask for a while after.
In the Movie: Gale and Boggs barely interact, and neither of those things happen. This also means Gale never loses his Communicuff.
15. Gale Reacts to Peeta’s Second Interview
In the Book: Katniss sees Peeta’s second Caesar Flickerman interview while alone with Finnick. They immediately turn off the television and pretend they didn’t see it when Plutarch and Fulvia arrive to check on them. This sets up some tension between Katniss and Gale when he doesn’t tell her about the interview, and Katniss decides he’s keeping it from her.
In the Movie: She sees the interview with Gale, who immediately calls Peeta a “coward.”
16. No ‘We Remember’ Propos
In the Book: The District 13 rebels made “We Remember propos to celebrate fallen Hunger Games tributes.
In the Movie: They only make the one Propo from District 8, though they do have some other footage they use later.
17. The Storming of the District 5 Hydroelectric Plant
In the Book: We know the Capitol at some point begins to suffer from power outages, and we know District 5 is the one that’s devoted to power. But Suzanne Collins never wrote a scene showing the unrest there.
In the Movie: About halfway through the movie we get this awesome set-piece with this gigantic hydroelectric power plant where the rebels storm a dam, plant several bombs, and bring the whole thing down. It’s kind of amazing. And as soon as the dam breaks, the lights go out in the Capitol.
18. We Get to See the Rescue Team
In the Book: A small strike team is sent into the heart of the Capitol to rescue Peeta and the other Tributes being held prisoner there. It’s a pivotal moment in the book that we don’t get to see because the book is tied to Katniss’ perspective. Boggs later tells Katniss it was too easy to rescue Peeta.
In the Movie: We get to see the strike team, including Gale and Boggs, go to work. They fly into the Capitol, wear night vision head sets, gas the guards, and advance methodically through the compound. It reminded me an awful lot of Zero Dark Thirty, and it’s pretty awesome. A new wrinkle is thrown into the mix, though, which brings us to #19.
19. Katniss and Snow Have a Little Talk
In the Book: Beetee distracts the Capitol by playing a propo in which Finnick spills all kinds of sordid secrets about President Snow and other prominent people in the Capitol.
In the Movie: They still use Finnick’s secrets to distract the Capitol from the rescue mission, but in the movie the lights come up in the darkened Capitol just when the strike team is getting close to Peeta and the others. Then the Capitol takes control of the airwaves so Katniss opens a line of communication. They put a camera on her, she looks into it and succeeds in getting President Snow to talk directly to her. Smiling all menacingly, Snow reminds Katniss of what he’s said before, “It’s the things we love the most that destroy us.” Then he reveals he knows the strike team is in the Training Center. So this time it’s pretty explicit. Snow definitely let them get out of the Capitol with Peeta. When they get back Gale confirms it.
20. We learn Gale’s side of the story on live television.
In the novel, Gale’s version of what happened during the fire-bombing of District 12 is a tossed-off piece of exposition delivered by Katniss. In the film, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) himself explains it, during yet another visit to District 12 (this one filmed by Katniss’ new camera crew). It’s much more powerful, and it delivers important exposition with necessary flair.
21. Beetee gets a lot more screentime.
Beetee, the technologically-inclined former Hunger Games victor, is alive and well in District 13 in Collins’ book, but we rarely see him around. In the film, Jeffrey Wright’s character pops up with regularity, a soothing and familiar presence in a foreign world.
22. There are no tattooed-on daily schedules.
Although life in District 13 is certainly highly regulated, the film does away with the daily tattoos that serve as a reminder of everyone’s individual schedule in the book.
23. Katniss’ decision to be the Mockingay is all but demanded by President Coin.
Book-Katniss has far fewer interactions with President Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of the rebellion, and while she eventually comes around to serving as the revolution’s all-important Mockingjay, it’s not necessarily a choice foisted on her by Coin. In the film, Coin’s lack of confidence and general iciness push Katniss to take up the mantle (and, you know, help save the world and stuff).
24. Katniss’ new bow isn’t nearly as technologically advanced.
Katniss’ shiny new bow and arrow are created by Beetee in both the book and the film, but the book subplot of her having a bow that only responds to her voice has been chopped. What, the budget didn’t have room for it?
25. There’s no nightlock.
The rebels think of everything, and in the book, that includes assisted suicide. Worried that their fighters—including Katniss—will be captured and tortured, they cook up a special little poison pill (“nightlock”) for all warriors to carry into battle should the worst thing happen. It’s not even an option in the movie.
26. No one treats Katniss like a soldier.
Katniss is referred to as “Soldier Katniss Everdeen” during the early part of Collins’ book, and she even undergoes eventual training to bring her up to snuff, but the movie actually mocks her non-soldier status. It’s a minor thing right now, but it’s definitely going to have an impact on the second film, which heavily relies on Katniss-as-soldier to drive it on.
27. Finnick and Katniss don’t have an intimate chat in the woods.
The former victors interact sparingly throughout the film, a choice that includes chopping a short conversation from the book, when the duo go aboveground to talk about the latest word from Peeta. The effect is a weird one: Finnick is definitely there, but he feels less involved with Katniss and her emotions.
28. Oh, about Peeta’s leg.
Peeta lost a leg during his first go-round in the Hunger Games, a plot point that has been totally excised from the movies. By the third film, it’s more jarring than ever that the Boy With the Bread has all his limbs, especially as the novel makes such a big point of it—particularly during his televised missives to Katniss, when the camera lingers over his prosthetic. No such imagery in the film.
29. Katniss isn’t part of the channel-jamming propo that unspools during the rescue mission.
Instead of chattering right alongside Finnick as they jam the airwaves with propo action during a rescue mission to get Peeta, Annie, and Johanna, in the film, Katniss refuses to step up. Finnick fills in, and his stories about life in the Capitol unspool as the mission plays out.
30. Katniss doesn’t get to visit Peeta.
Peeta is indeed rescued in both the book and the movie, and yes, in both incarnations, he comes back totally bonkers, intent on killing Katniss, and loopy as all get-out. The film ends with a shocked and heartbroken Katniss observing a tied-down and totally wild Peeta screaming his head off in a hospital room. In the book, Peeta isn’t just left to yell it out, his rehabilitation kicks off with a visit from sweet District 12 pal Delly. It’s no wonder that Delly can’t help heal Peeta in the books, simply because her character has been cut. Yet even this change doesn’t afford Katniss a solitary glimpse at Peeta, and she can only see him she accompanied by lots of other observers.
31. Snow’s subtle use of language
Because the book is told from Katniss’ perspective, the audience only sees what she does. In an early scene that’s exclusive to the film, President Snow works with an assistant to develop the proper language to use when talking about the “rebels.” He decides to call them “radicals” in his public announcements, painting them as extremists whose viewpoints are unworthy of consideration.
Why it’s important: The scene helps to explain the strategy by which President Snow retains control over the populace. By calling the rebels “radicals,” Snow undermines their credibility and their power.
32. Citizens are murdered by the government
Snow is also a big believer in using fear to quell the growth of the rebellion. In the film, he gives a public address noting that the use of the “mockingjay” — a symbol of the rebellion — is strictly forbidden. During his address, he orders Peacemakers in all of the 11 main districts to execute those who break the law. The movie shows these executions taking place, while the book never mentions this scene.
Why it’s important: Language is not the only tool at President Snow’s disposal. He also has force, and he’s willing to use it — another key insight into the way he maintains power.
33. Peeta’s outburst is removed
In the book, Peeta becomes upset when Caesar suggests that both he and Katniss were involved in the rebellion at the end of the Quarter Quell: “On his feet, leaning into Caesar’s face, hands locked on the arms of his interviewer’s chair.” In the movie, this encounter is toned down, with no fiery outburst.
Why it’s important: The book depicts Peeta’s spirit in a way that’s missing from the film, as well as his efforts to protect Katniss from being implicated if she’s ever captured.
34. The darker side of President Coin is hidden
In the book, President Coin is more of a control freak: over Katniss, her prisoners, and even the schedules of her fellow rebels. The movie slow-plays this more tyrannical side of Coin’s personality, keeping her motives in question.
Why it’s important: In the book, Coin’s early actions foreshadow the psychotic decisions she makes later in the story. The film makes her far less predictable.
35. Peeta isn’t beaten
In the film, Katniss assumes Peeta doesn’t realize that District 12 has been destroyed by President Snow. During one of his television interviews, Beetee interrupts the Capitol’s television signal and shows the destruction of District 12, leading Peeta to warn Katniss and District 13 about the bombs headed their way. After his warning, the Capitol ends the interview and shuts off the feed before Peeta is injured. In the book, after he warns District 13 about the attack, Peeta is seen being beaten on television with his blood splattering on the floor.
Why it’s important: The film — in what’s likely an attempt to steer away from a harsher MPAA rating — doesn’t show the attack on Peeta.
36. The reason for attempting to rescue Peeta has changed
After the attack on District 13, Katniss realizes that President Snow is using Peeta to get to her. Her nervousness about serving as the living embodiment of the mockingjay forces President Coin to plan a rescue of Peeta and the other hostages. In the book, Coin realizes that Katniss would be unwilling to cooperate fully if Peeta wasn’t rescued. The movie offers a different reason: preventing President Snow from using Peeta as a pawn to keep the rebels at bay.
Why it’s important: In the movie, District 13 saves Peeta for political reasons; in the book, it’s for personal ones. In this way (and in several other ways), the film is more focused on the public relations war between the Capitol and the districts, not just the battlefield.
37. Finnick doesn’t appear half-naked in the hall before a Katniss elevator ride.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire starred Willow Shields, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright, Lynn Cohen, Maria Howell, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Tony Shalhoub, Amanda Plummer, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, James Logan, Ivette Li-Sanchez, Justin Hix, Megan Hayes, Bobby Jordan, John Casino, Elena Sanchez, Daniel Bernhardt, Marian Greene, Jackson Spidel, Tiffany Waxler, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Lenny Kravitz.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 cast additions include Natalie Dormer, Wes Chatham, Stef Dawson, Mahershala Ali, Elden Henson, Robert Knepper, Evan Ross, Julianne Moore, and Lily Rabe.
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