I almost literally finished the novel then went and watched the movie. I was very anxious to read the novel and if you read my review, which I posted right before I watched the movie, you would know my disappointment. Which did not give me high hopes walking into the movie.
First, a few of the very obvious differences. The first was that Logan was staying with his sister and her family before he took his walk across the country. In the movie Logan was also ready to tell Beth the truth the moment he walked into the training area for the dogs, she was the one who jumps to the conclusion he was there for the job and did not grow suspicious of him until he mentioned being a Marine. Ben, Beth’s son, and Keith do not seem to have such an anathema type relationship and Ben seems to out-and-out love his father though his father can be a jerk. The last change I really want to point out, and it’s by far my favorite one, is the way Logan and Keith meet for the first time. Their meeting in the movie actually seems more organic.
Honestly, these changes saved the movie from the parts of the book that fell short. Without giving things away too much, the movie actually had better character growth and Keith was not so much just an out-and-out asshole. The fact he seems more sorry for the choices he made than self-righteous all of the time helps. He’s still a jerk, and you still want to punch him for the threats he makes, but he’s not as horrible.
I have been saying this more and more of late, which is sad, but if I was to tell you which to do, read the book of watch the movie, I would tell you to watch the movie. The movie fits in perfect during it’s length the plot that needed to be touched upon, and did it better with characters you could care about. The only downside to the movie was that Zeus, Logan’s dog, did not have as big of a part in the movie, but they saved it with how they went through the movie. The movie was about the characters, where the book was about his idea.
Winner: The Movie
While it is a widely known fact that the “book is often better,” in some cases the movie is such a win that you might be able to miss the book entirely and not really miss a beat. Hunger Games was almost there.
There are minor differences, like exactly how Katniss came along the Mockingjay pin and the monsters that attack at the end. There were glossed over plotlines, like Haymitch’s involvement and the work that went into the costuming. However the best minor differences came with the involvement of characters that were not Katniss.
The novel is told from Katniss’s point of view. This meant a lot of glossing in areas that Katniss was not there to see. While the movie did not detract terribly from the arena and show things she would not have been aware of, it gave an excellent view of the Seneca Crane and President Snow and the workings of the games. Instead of spending a lot of time explaining to Katniss and Peeta they just decided to show the audience the scenes, more powerful than words.
Which would I recommend? Either. If you do not want to miss a single beat, read the book. But if you want something visual, something that will guide you through some of the most beautiful scenes and give you a taste of what Panem is really like, the movie is for you. Both are A in grade.