This comparison is only intended for people who have already read the book and want to know how the film deviates from it. Basically, the film follows the story of the books exactly and contains no surprises, so I will not use spoiler warnings. I hope I got all the names right, because I watched the german version and there could be minimal changes in the names.
The film was good, but far below its possibilities. At first I thought that the production studio was to blame for the PG-13 rating, but with the further errors occur, the director is not entirely innocent of it. Especially people who have not read the book may have problems. The beginning feels rather stretched and bored and later parts got less screen time. A movie which relies on visuals should show more of the arena than about dialogue in district 12 in my opinion, which was the opposite.
The fights are completely shown in a shaggy cam. They are just a mess and don’t let the movie look dynamic. It’s sometimes like a bad youtube video in which the camera holder forgets to stand still for a second. It was great to see the character dying, because the fight was over and you could watch something, not just a mess of pixels. Blood is seen only rarely, or hardly at all. Too bad, because a slightly higher rank than PG-13 would certainly have been sufficient, without degenerating into an Saw orgy. Most of the characters fall in an unconscious rather than dying. Furthermore, not many things are explained. Examples: The importance of the camp of the career tribute and their inability to hunt.
At this point I may ask a question about the book. Why do the career tributes put their stocks onto a mine field, without even fearing to lose them entirely? There could be about 18 enemies and only one of them needs to be a crazy starving bastard to run into it, to cut off their entire supply. It’s like destroying your own base to kill a single person. In my opinion a big disadvantage, especially given that most others could hunt to survive.
Now I tell you more about the comparison. The fire which serves katniss to distract the carrer tribute is revealed only in retrospect to the audience. Furthermore, it’s not shown that the transporters collect the dead bodies. The Mockingjay brooch is given to her by Greasy Sae, who owns these in huge quantities. Madge Undersee was cut out, which wasn’t bad, as the Avox girl. Rue's death is a little differently, but no major change. Basically, the above mentioned things aren’t a big problem, but they were, due to lack of inner monologues. I don’t understood why they didn’t used them, because they needed so many tricks to explain a lot of things, which would be a lot easier to handle with inner monologues. They just don’t care and show it without explanation most of the time.
Some changes to the characters:
Cinna: I'll start with him because he was the weakest character integrated into the film. He appearing is not only explained, also his role is nearly cut off. He says something along 5 sentences in the whole movie, in which he mostly praises Katniss beauty and of course the obligatory farewell before she enters the arena. His appearance was unexpected normal. His Role as a huge supporter of her is not that clearly shown and explained by the movie. The dresses were nice with some CGI effects, but they never made such a lasting impression as they needed. Showing them felt forced and happened rather along the way.
Haymitch: In the beginning he is shown drunk on the train. Visually not like as I would have expected him, especially after years of alcohol addiction. Although he behaves calmly and defiant as in the book, it looks in the movie more like that kind of cool uncle guy, the one envied by all cousins, than a good for nothing, who he looked like in the books at the beginning. His alcoholism is in fact shown, without further negativity effects on him. Precisely because of his eloquence, the looks and Athletic ability, he seems to be fine with drinking all day. In the second half of the film his glass of whiskey disappears without a hint and he is no problem without it, as if there wasn’t anything at all. There are two smaller scenes added in which he talks with sponsors and the game master. The good point is that he is as funny as in the books with his statements towards Effi and her moral concerns all the time. Overall he was one of the crowd’s favorites. [Question: Had Haymitch in the first book an eye patch, or was that later? If not than this part would also be missing. ]
President Snow: He got a lot more screen time than in the books. After the descriptions of the book, I would have expected him to be a slick botulinum infested Armani carrier. He was portrayed more as a wrinkled Santa Claus, who predicts the following problems with Katniss. Mathpahern about the spark as it will be told in the second book.
Peta: He is basically the same as in the book, but with the exception of the final battle. This time he doesn’t lose his leg. One change I absolutely liked, because I had problems to understand the need of it in the book, which just looked forced to me. Something like there can’t be a “perfect” happy ending happen to them. It also makes things easier in future installments.
Buttercup: The cat was indeed shown, but only briefly. It’s questionable why it was kept, since it occupies an insignificant role.
Seneca Crane: I can’t remember the fact that his beard was described in the book, but his look is fantastic in the movie. He was granted quite a few new scenes, in which he directs the outcome of the arena or has deep dialogues with President Snow. The only blemish was his surprise at the Wolf Mutts, as if he was not the one who instructed the worker to create them. They also looked more like bulldogs and were teleported in a magical way out of the ground. Human eyes were also missing. All in all, he was one of the most successful added aspects.
And the highlight at the end!
Flickerman Caesar: He also got more screen time. Things that were usually told in the book by inner monologues were explained by him instead of Katniss. Be it the Wolf Mutts or the Tracker Jackers Mutts. He was the most positive enrichment for the film.
All the other characters were felt exactly like in the book and hadn’t any changes. For example Katniss, among others like Primrose, Gale and Effie.
i hope you like it. If you have any unanswered questions left, just contact me and i will try to help you! Tell me what you liked and disliked about the movie or something i forgot to tell in the comments below please.