What’s a Mockingjay?


I actually dared to see the “Hunger Games” on opening night. Crazy, I know, but this is the most excited I’ve been about a movie in a long time.

It was packed with all sorts of young adults (and by that I mean 20-somethings), but mostly the theater was less chatty than I was expecting.

My one sentence review? I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.

My longer review appears below and *may* contain a few spoilers– but not if you’ve read the book, as the movie is a pretty darn faithful adaptation. But if you haven’t read the book– why the fuck HAVEN’T you??


Anyway, like I said, I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. And there were 4 main reasons I didn’t love the movie:

(1) The Inception of the Mockingjay Pin

This is the most significant alteration from the book. Where Katniss gets the pin, who gives it to her, etc are all changed. Now, I get reducing the number of minor characters (getting rid of the mayor’s daughter, etc) but the significance of the pin gets altered in the process. Instead of being an inocuous gift to a Hunger Games contestant that’s allowed to be worn, it becomes a hidden token. So this leaves you wondering, “Why are mockingjays so important? what’s the relevance? Why is the pin important?”

(2) Not enough violence.

While I know that parents are up in arms about the violent kid-on-kid killing, I felt the movie sort of toned it down too much. That “shaky camera” motion was used, and the cuts from the deaths were all too quick. I wanted… no NEEDED… the kids killing other kids to be more shocking. More horrific. More “lord of the flies” savage. They are in a game where they have to fight to the death after all. I wanted to be physically uncomfortable with the savagry of the careers killing, etc. And I wasn’t.

(3) Haymitch.

Oh man, did they fuck up the Haymitch character. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Haymitch won the 1st Quarter Quell games– roughly 49 years before the current games. And if he was 14 or so when he won, that would make him like 63 years old. Which is how I pictured him in the book. 63, wiry, grizzled, unshaven, and drunk. And haunted. But shrewd, too.

The casting of a youthful appearing, blonde Woody Harrelson couldn’t have been further from my vision. Also, how the kids get him to sober up a bit and help them was completely altered. As was the development of Katniss’s relationship with him.

This whole area of the movie was a complete disappointment to me.

(4) Rue’s death sequence.

The death itself, and the flowers, and the singing were all there. As well as Katniss losing her shit over it (which was nice). However, once again, the Mockingjay thing was nearly completely glossed over here. They mention it when they come up with their 4 note call to each other (but the why it’s significant and Rue’s back story is completely obliterated).

My beef here is that in the book, Katniss sings to her as she dies, and then all the Mockingjays in the forrest pick up the song in a chorus. That part of the book makes me cry, and the mockingjay chorus is non-existant in the movie. So the extra poighancy is lost– as is the increased significance of the whole Mockingjay thing.

But other than these 4 areas, the movie is pretty good. The ending was perhaps a bit rushed, as was the train trip to Capitol City. But the rest is really failthfully adapted from the story. Effie is good, Katniss and Peeta are awesome, the games are creepy, the Capitol people are over the top, etc.

It’s definitely worth seeing– but the book, as usual, is so much richer.

About cb

Nickname: Munt Measurements: 45 B, 34, 38(?) Ambition: to be the best human ever! Turn ons: long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, porn, rainbows, cock Turn offs: bad smell face, men who are full of themselves, dead puppies, popcorn, sadness
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8 Responses to What’s a Mockingjay?

  1. Cubby says:

    “I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.” Agree.

  2. Sean says:

    I didn’t think the book was all that rich to begin with. A page turner for sure but still not as deep and developed as it could have been.

  3. Dirk says:

    Any time Woody Harrelson is in a movie, I’ll pass no matter how badly I want to see it (ditto Angelina Jolie). And that kid they cast as Peeta — which I always say with a Bette Davis accent — I wasn’t exactly wowed by him in THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT so not real thrilled to see him in the role.

  4. Jim says:

    When did CGI dogs become able to kill?

  5. 2-SMR says:

    Haymitch won the 50th Hunger Games, which were 24 years before the first book. That makes the age pretty close, but I agree with Dirk’s assessment that Woody Harrelson is always wrong.

    I agree that incidents surrounding Rue were way too underplayed.

    There have indeed been FAR worse book adaptations, though! I’ll be there for the next one.

  6. Blobby says:

    why haven’t I read the books?

    ummm….bc I’m not a 15 yo girl?

  7. Ben says:

    I agree with your issues over Rue’s death. I add the “gift” that was sent to Katniss by Rue’s district that was omitted. But in all it was a faithful adaption.

  8. Dustin says:

    Just got back (and literally just finished the first book 2 days ago lol).

    It’s definitely one of the better book to movie adaptations. They didn’t fuck it up as badly as they did with “Flowers in the Attic.” I mean they made any sequels impossible with that movie. Maybe it’s time to revisit that series lol.

    I actually think the worst omission was the lack of Peeta and Katniss and their story together. That becomes important later, does is not? And it seemed very glossed over. For example Katniss never overhears Cato explaining how he cut Peeta down, Rue tells her simply where Peeta has been hanging out. We never really see too much conflict from her as to why Peeta “betrayed” her with the careers. Sure they put the scene of Peeta in there after the tracker jackers telling her to run, but I thought that was poorly done. Had you not read the book, would any of that be clear? And of course almost all the important talks in the cave, the kissing, the fake romance on her part, and her telling him it was for play at the end . . . all cut. It almost seemed like they were in love, and now Gale is the odd man out.

    Also I was pissed with the ending at the Cornucopia and the wolves (now pitbulls?). I thought the revelation that the Capital had turned the other tributes into those wolves was powerful and important, and made Rue’s death all that more heartbreaking too.

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