The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is the third of four planned movies in the Hunger Games franchise. This time around, director Francis Lawrence had a major task ahead of him, bringing the first half of a relatively quick read to life in a two-hour movie. Largely he succeeds, adding details and embellishments to Suzanne Collins’ original story in order to flesh out the world that Katniss, Peeta and Gale live in.
Following are the 15 biggest changes I noticed in my screening of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 1. Plenty of other details were changed, of course, and feel free to remark on any changes you feel may have been more noticeable. There are many spoilers in the Mockingjay – Part 1 book to movie comparison. Do not delve in if you want the film to be a surprise.
Like other Hunger Games movies, we get behind-the-scenes intel from the other important people involved in the rebellion. This time around, we get to see Plutarch and Coin scheming about rebellion strategies and ways to use Katniss throughout the film.
Katniss visits District 12 later than expected. Collins’ Mockingjay opens with Katniss in District 12, returning to her home where bodies are incinerated and the mines are on fire. In the movie, it is Plutarch’s idea to send her to the burned district to give her perspective and enough fire to persevere in the rebellion.
We see shots of Snow’s demonstrations in the other districts. This adds a lot of violence to the third movie. In one memorable sequence, Snow’s so-called "peacekeepers" blindfold random citizens in each of the districts and force each community to watch as they are executed. It’s chilling.
Peeta’s TV appearances are a bit different. The first time, Katniss is in the mess hall with much of the District 13 army when he first pops up onscreen, professing a desire for a "cease fire." The District 13 residents are displeased and respond viciously. Later, when Peeta warns 13, we do not seem his blood splatter on the floor. The screen goes dark before he is actually hurt.
Effie is stuck in District 13. In the book, it is Katniss’ prep team that has been kidnapped and brought to 13. They’ve also been treated poorly and imprisoned, giving readers a reason to dislike District 13. In the movie, Effie is not imprisoned like the prep team in the books. Instead, she pulls herself together for Katniss' sake and brings her signature humor to the movie. She even flirts with Haymitch!
Katniss includes Finnick’s love, Annie, in her request for pardon immediately. In the books, she totally forgets and has to ask Coin at the last minute to pardon Annie, too. However, in the movie Katniss is more thoughtful toward the sensitive Finnick (plus her problems with Coin are less apparent so far).
Rebellion is also shown in the film. The movies have always given us perspectives in Panem outside of Katniss’ own head, and this time we get to see the moves and countermoves of Snow’s army and the rebellion. In one memorable scene, loggers escape into the trees, setting off explosives on the ground where rebel soldiers wait. In another, a dam is blown up, leaving the Capitol without power and vulnerable.
Katniss’ "Hanging Tree" song becomes a rallying cry for the rebellion. In the book, Katniss explains the horrifying nature of the song and why she stopped singing it when she was younger. In the movie, Plutarch changes the lyrics from "necklace of rope" to "necklace of hope" and it catches on as part of the propaganda.
Gale tells the story of what happened in District 13. In fact, Gale has a bigger role in Mockingjay- Part 1.While he is key to the rebellion in the book, he finally gets his chance to be a major part of the Hunger Games franchise in this movie, and Lawrence gives the character some real material to work with. He explains what happened to District 12 while the cameras are rolling. The movie's story of District 12's demise is a bit different, too. There are added details, including the peacekeepers leaving and people running to the main road where they were incinerated.
The rescue mission is shown. We see the team sneak past the heavy artillery, thanks to Beetee’s inventive computer work. We also see them infiltrate the Capitol and search the rooms where Peeta, Johanna and Annie were tortured.
Katniss and Snow have a chat on the jumbotron, where they size each other up. Snow reveals he knows the team is trying to get Peeta out, but later Gale reveals he lets them escape. We have to presume he is taking sick pleasure in the fact that Katniss will be forced to deal with the tortured Peeta, who now only has miserable feelings toward her.
To discuss The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, head here.