Friday, 13 January 2017

The Hunger Games | Adaptation Film Review

The Hunger Games is a 2012 film based on the 2008 young adult novel by the same name written by Suzanne Collins. The film was directed by Gary Ross and stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, two stars who have since gone on the appear in the rest of the series and have extremely successful careers. The film was met with widely positive critical opinion and has gone on to produce 3 sequels, splitting the final book into two films, potentially as the story was to detailed for one film as well as for some commercial benefit.

Fig 1: Movie Poster, The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games follows the life of a Katniss Everdeen, a young adult who lives in the poorest district of the 12 that remain, each year the wealthy state known as the capital holds an event known as the hunger games, an event which sees two young residents from each state enter an arena and fight to the death, leaving only one victor. The idea of the hunger games existing as an event in this fictional world is to remind the citizens of the 12 districts of the extreme power of the capital. 

As an adapted piece of material, The Hunger Games is widely successful, it keeps the majority of the story and characters fairly identical to that of the book and events occur in almost the same chronological order, meaning that a fan could follow the books as well as the films and not only maintain chronological sense but also follow the same events that result in the same outcome.

Fig 1: Screenshot, The Hunger Games

There are almost no differences between the book and filmic versions of The Hunger Games, an achievement that not many adaptations can boast they have accomplished, as often times in pieces of material that have adapted from novels or literature in films, different aspects need to be altered in order to suit the needs of cinema.

Now obviously there are slight differences in the descriptions of characters from the books and their physical appearance on screen as somethings are simply unachievable, also within film there will always be a priority for some actors to play certain roles in a directors vision, meaning that small compromises have to made in order for goals to be met and a cohesive film to be created.

Fig 3: Screenshot, The Hunger Games

One of the most notable changes that the director made when translating the book to a successful film was the addition of Wes Bentley's character Senenca Crane, a character who works within the control room of the hunger games arena, a character that didn't get much attention within the book. Jean Bentley states that "Since the book is told from Katniss’ point of view, we never entered Crane’s world outside of his interactions with the female District 12 tribute" (Bentley, 2012), a problem that often occurs when books are told from the perspective of the lead character. 

As a whole, Gary Ross' filmic translation of the successful young adult novel The Hunger Games is extremely close to the details and events that are featured in the book with the addition of a few small characters that otherwise would never of been highlighted due to the nature of the narration of the book. Even with the addition of these small characters, Ross's adaptation of The Hunger Games is true to the novel and has gone on to spawn 3 successful sequels that have only grown in popularity.


Bentley, Jean, 'Hunger Games': The best book-to-movie changes (Seneca Crane, anyone?),, Accessed on: 13.01.17

Illustration List

Fig 1: Movie Poster, The Hunger Games,, Accessed on: 13.01.17          

Fig 2: Screenshot, The Hunger Games,, Accessed on: 13.01.17 

Fig 3: Screenshot, The Hunger Games,, Accessed on: 13.01.17

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