One of the most rampant complaints we hear about movies that were adapted from books is that they didn't include parts from the pages into scenes on the screen. It is a legitimate complaint at times. Integral chapters that are missing from a movie adaptation can ruin the whole story. However, there are portions of a book that just can't be translated into a movie. To even attempt to do so would turn the movie into a laughingstock of cinema.
The Hunger Games series does an adequate job of treading that fine line. As we can all attest to, young adult books don't always do as well as movies, and The Hunger Games series is one of the exceptions. The movies were able to portray a lot of aspects of the books that, quite frankly, we would have thought impossible. The fashion of the Tributes during the parades, the grotesqueness of the arena monsters, and the unreasonable displays of wealth at the Capitol are all examples of how The Hunger Games film series excelled in being an adaptation.
However, a lot of things were missing from the movies, some understandable, others not so much. We remember watching these movies in theaters, watching as they progressed from good to merely okay, wincing at all the things that could have been in the films that would have made them better, but were apparently cut from the story. Read on if you want to revisit the world of Panem and recall with fondness or amusement the things that might have been on the big screen.
25 Watch The Baby Bump
One of Peeta's ploys to keep Katniss safe was to lie about her being pregnant before their second time in the arena. This move was supposed to draw sympathy from Capitol viewers who wanted their "heroes" to have a happily ever after.
In the movie, Peeta still makes the same bold declaration during his TV interview, but the lie does not hold up within the arena. In the book, fellow Tributes made reference to Katniss' "condition," reminding her of the charade she was supposed to be keeping. In the movie, it's like everyone forgot.
24 Mutation Facial Awareness
In the book, the Mutations that attack Katniss, Peeta, and Cato toward the end of the first Game are engineered to have the same facial features as the fallen Tributes. Now, we have no flubbing clue how visual effects would have made that possible, but it would have been absolutely unsettling to see that on the screen.
Instead of a pack of slavering dogs, the last three Tributes would have seen familiar faces snarling at them as they tried to tear them limb from limb. Bring on the trauma.
23 Hovercraft Pick-Ups
Any movie that makes me say, "More hovercrafts!" is actually A-OK in my book. Silliness aside, the first movie misses out on introducing the body-collection hovercrafts in the arena.
Showing these automated vehicles picking up fallen Tributes would have set up the plot for Catching Fire nicely. One of those hovercrafts is taken over by the folks at District 13 to pick up Katniss and her fellow renegade Tributes in the second movie. The seeds for this plan could have been planted in the first film.
22 One Broken Foot Later
The first movie establishes that Gale and Katniss frequently cross over the electric fence (that is never turned on) surrounding their District to go hunt illegally.
But the second movie fails to raise the stakes by having the fence turned on when Katniss goes hunting and having her break her ankle attempting to jump back over using a particularly tall tree. It is definitely a missed opportunity to show how the Capitol is tightening security on their simmering Districts.
21 Claiming Snow's Demise
Katniss has every reason to be angry at President Snow. So when she demanded the right to end his life in the book Mockingjay, we all knew her motivations.
In the movie, she makes no such demand.
We think this lessens the impact of her choice to destroy President Coin instead when given the chance to destroy Snow. If she had claimed the right to eliminate Snow in the movie, the mental gasp when she chose to get rid of Coin (a President Snow in the making if we ever saw one) would have been greater.
20 The Missing Make-Up Squad
Octavia, Flavius, and Venia played a huge role in The Hunger Games. Why would these extravagantly named make-up assistants be so important? Well, it's because, in the world of The Hunger Games, make-up and costuming are ultra vital in getting people to like you.
In the movies, Cinna takes on the main role of gussying up Katniss. The rest of Katniss' beauty team are either in the background or missing entirely. And in the film version of Mockingjay, instead of greeting her old team at District 13, she gets Effie Trinket back. (Not that we minded more Effie time.)
19 Dehydration Time
In Katniss' first Hunger Games experience, she went through a period of dehydration early on. The book's description of this moment was pretty realistic, and it was a relief when she eventually found a source of water.
In the movie, Katniss finds water almost immediately.
At no point do you feel like Katniss suffers from the effects of dehydration or starvation when she's in the arena. Granted, precious movie time would have been taken up showing the audience these tribulations, but without them, the Games feel tamer.
18 The Fleeing Refugees
In Catching Fire, Katniss runs into some refugees from District 8 named Bonnie and Twill. These two runaways are fleeing their own District to see if they can make it to the rumored District 13.
Well, Katniss meets Bonnie and Twill in the books. In the movie, Bonnie and Twill do not make an appearance. If Katniss had met these District 8 refugees in the movie, it would have been a nifty hint about the existence of District 13 and what it means to the members of the other Districts.
17 Peeta's Brainwash Companion
After Peeta's time at the Capitol as President Snow's reluctant "guest," he returns to Katniss altered from how he used to be. Upon seeing her again, Peeta tries to end her thanks to some Capitol brainwashing.
In the books, a former acquaintance that Peeta knew from District 12, Delly Cartwright, spent time with Peeta while he was in this state. Delly was trying to acclimate him to his new surroundings and help him deal with his Hijacked mind. In the movie, Prim performed these actions instead.
16 Remember Who The Enemy Is
As Katniss headed into the arena for a second time, Haymitch and her supporters kept reminding her to remember who the real enemy is when she's in there. These words end up being a clue.
In the book, Katniss has to make a choice between fighting District 2 Tribute Enobaria or destroying the entire arena. In the movie, Enobaria is replaced with Finnick. Cutting Enobaria from this choice makes it a little more harrowing. Plus, extra time with Finnick Odair is never a bad thing.
15 The First Avox We Know
This particular omission makes no sense to me. At the beginning of the first book and movie, Katniss and Gale are out hunting. In the book, their hunting session is interrupted when a hovercraft spears one runaway and captures another nearby.
In the movie, a hovercraft appears above the two hunters, but that's it. The scene immediately cuts to the Reaping preparations back within District 12. Lame! Without that scene, the misfortune of the Avoxes couldn't be revealed later on at the Capitol.
14 The Loss Of Peeta's Leg
Peeta's leg gets wounded in the first Hunger Games. This happens in both the movie and the book. A key difference between the two is what happens afterwards. In the movie, Peeta gets some magic Capitol medicine courtesy of a sponsor.
In the book, the consequences of that injury are much direr.
Peeta ends up losing the entire leg. After he and Katniss have won the Games, he reveals that the leg had to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic courtesy of the Capitol.
13 The Good Peacekeeper
Part of the reason security was so lax around District 12 was because their Peacekeepers were totally chill. In fact, Katniss even knew one of them in the book. His name was Darius, and after the Capitol took personal charge of security around District 12, Darius was turned into an Avox.
The character of Darius is missing from the movies.
We understand the time constraints that may have caused this decision, but it's a shame those white-helmeted Peacekeepers could not have been given a more human side.
12 PG-13 Traps
The path to the Capitol's center in Mockingjay: Part 2 is fraught with devious traps. However, the traps encountered in the movie are weak compared to the traps found in the book.
In the movie, Messalla perished in a strange glowing light that disintegrated him into a million pieces. Sounds intense, right? In the book, that same light causes Messalla's skin to melt off his body. Now you tell us, which of these horrible ways to go sounds more awful?
11 The Buttercup Mix-Up
This change makes me laugh. So Buttercup is this cat that Prim owns and that she won't allow Katniss to get rid of. The first movie chose a black-and-white furred cat that came nowhere near the description of Buttercup in the book to play the part of Prim's cat.
At least this cut was rectified in later movies. That Buttercup was replaced with a far uglier cat, and everyone in the Hunger Games fandom could rest easy knowing that justice had been served.
10 The Origins Of The Mockingjay Pin
In the book, the mayor of District 12 had a daughter named Madge Undersee. When Katniss volunteers to be Tribute, Madge visits her and gives her a Mockingjay pin for her Tribute Token.
Madge's character and the origins of the pin were cut from the movie.
Instead of receiving the pin from someone else, Katniss finds the pin herself at the Hob and gives it to Prim for luck. Prim then returns the pin to Katniss once she's been selected as Tribute.
9 Peeta Harmed
Even though it took Katniss a long time to realize she was in love with Peeta, her feelings for him were apparent to viewers and readers alike. They should have been made even more apparent in Mockingjay: Part 1 when Peeta showed up on television as a prisoner of the Capitol.
After he tries warning District 13 during one of these interviews, Peeta is also shown being harmed on television. This drives Katniss insane as she views this. Unfortunately, the movie does not show this, which is a definite missed opportunity to underscore Katniss' concern for Peeta.
8 The Watch Hint
Plutarch Heavensbee came across as an odd character when we first met him. He was a Gamemaker, which automatically set him as an antagonist for Katniss. But, as it turns out, he was trying to help her.
In the book, Heavensbee's aid extended to him trying to show her what the next arena would be like by letting her get a close look at his watch. The second arena was shaped like a clock. This clue is missing from Catching Fire's film adaptation.
7 The Wedding Cake
Baking is Peeta's thing, baking and loving Katniss. So why in the world would they cut Peeta's wedding cake gift for Finnick and Annie's wedding in Mockingjay? Not only would it have been an opportunity for Peeta to show off his mad baking skills, but it would also have been a signal to Katniss that he was recovering from his Capitol brainwashing a bit.
Total waste of a nonexistent wedding cake. Now, the only thing Peeta ever decorated in a crazy way was his face in the first movie.
6 A Poor Distraction
In order to clutter airwaves during Peeta's rescue from the Capitol, District 13 decides to air propos during the mission, i.e. propaganda messages. In the book, Katniss contributed to these propos, willing to do anything to assist in the rescue of Peeta.
In the movie, Katniss chooses to stay out of it, letting Finnick handle most of the heavy lifting while the propos are being recorded live. Way to show your eagerness to rescue Peeta, the boy you've been pining for the whole movie, Katniss.
5 Coded Bread Messages
Everyone around Katniss knew the plan before heading into the arena in Catching Fire. Poor Katniss appeared clueless. This is true in both the movie and the book.
The books drive that point further by having Finnick, Johanna, and Beetee (other Tributes) receive coded bread messages from their "sponsors." The type of bread along with how many rolls were included were meant to show what time they would be rescued. We don't get to see this kind of bread cleverness in the movie.
4 Missing Chemistry
We don't know if the chemistry between Peeta and Katniss was cut from the movie or never there in the first place. All we know is that it is missing.
When you read about the time Katniss and Peeta spent in the cave in the first Game, it's a sweet moment that builds the foundation for their future relationship. In the movie, it was the most awkward bit of "romance" I've ever seen. When Haymitch sent that message saying, "You call that a kiss?" I wanted to shout, "Exactly!" at the screen.
3 Right In The Throat
Everyone who read The Hunger Games knew that Rue wasn't going to make it. So in the movie, when Marvel threw a spear into her chest, we weren't surprised. What did catch me slightly off guard was Katniss' reaction.
She immediately spins around and shoots Marvel in the chest with an arrow. In the book, that arrow caught Marvel in the throat. We do understand this alteration. Got to keep that PG-13 rating, and an arrow sticking out of a boy's throat would ruin that.
2 Peeta's First Lethal Moment
Peeta is a big old softie. (He's softer than pita bread.) As such, the movie makes a point of downplaying some of the intense actions he took in the first movie. The girl that the Careers attacked at night was actually finished off by Peeta in the book.
In the movie, it cuts away so you assume that the Careers themselves were the ones who ended her life. Honestly, this change does not affect me as much as some of the others on this list. (Got to have Buttercup looking like Buttercup, you feel us?)
1 Beautiful Burns
At the end of the series, Katniss is covered with burns all over her body. It's supposed to be ironic that the revolutionary Girl on Fire actually catches on fire.
In the movie, these burns are seriously downplayed.
The book described these burns as oozing and prone to bleeding. Does that sound like the Katniss Everdeen we saw at the end of Mockingjay: Part 2? No, it does not. Instead, Katniss' skin remained flawless. Come on, Hollywood, the world can take a few oozing burns!