In order to get ready for Catching Fire this Wednesday, I decided to throw myself into the original movie, as I had not yet got around to seeing it. I was mildly impressed, but there were certain elements I wanted to see explored a little further. Mainly the actual Hunger Games part of the Hunger Games. I am sure I shall bring out a review on this movie soon, so I won’t go into details on where I felt the film faltered, but today, I want to tell you about three twists that I wanted to happen when watching the movie.
The final twist, of course, would never happen, as I am aware that it drastically changes the course of the novels and sequels, but I thought it would have been cool to see nonetheless. The others however, I feel were suitable changes to make the drastic nature of the Hunger Games feel more desperate and tense. Let me know what you think of my proposed twists or maybe I am just talking crap and you need to take me back to church. (I am assuming at least one of my readers is T-Pain).
3 – THE VILLAINS TURN ON EACH OTHER
I am torn on what I wanted more. Part of me really enjoyed the way it was directed through the eyes of Katniss alone. We had no idea of where the other fighters were and when they were killed, it was often done off-screen. It created an air of mystery and dread, letting our imaginations do the work for us, when it came to the gory deaths. It was also a neat trick to let the writers get rid of the younger children, without actually having to show a thirteen year old get her head chopped off. However, at the same time, I felt that the other fighters need more of an on-screen presence for the stakes to be raised that little bit higher.
I wanted a few brief expositional shots to be focused on the bad guys. Just so we got an idea of how twisted they had become. The evillest kid starts out as a showsman, but by the end, we see a broken kid, internally destroyed by the lives he has taken during the Hunger Games. That is an incredibly awesome character arc, but because of this ‘Katniss-centric’ direction, we miss all of it. What I wanted was some brief flashes into the villain’s camp to see that storyline progress. It would just have to be a couple of frames from time to time, just like something out of a Christopher Nolan movie (and yes, I am aware my advice to every film is becoming ‘Be More Nolan’). But, we could see the two alpha dogs turn on their tag-alongs, when the time is right, creating an unpredictable fear factor. When they are sleeping and keeping watch on Katniss in the tree… I wanted the villain to kill one of the sleeping group just for kicks. I think that would have raised the desperation of the Hunger Games to an additional level.
2 – THE LITTLE GIRL HAS A PLAN UP HER SLEEVE ALL ALONG
One of the cleverer beats of the movie was the character, Rue. She is first shown as a small girl, the youngest of the group, and we assume she has just been included into the running, so the director could hit us with the tragedy of a small girl, essentially being executed. However, it turns out that she is smarter than she looks and spends most of the movie, hiding from the others and outsmarting them with tricks like stealing and dropping venomous wasp nests into their camp. I loved her character, but I wanted to see that taken to the next level.
Notice how Katniss does the hard work for her. She drops the wasp nest into the camp on Rue’s instructions, almost getting killed by a wasp sting in the process. She also is the one that goes into the camp to burn down the other’s supplies. Rue comes up with all of these ideas, but it is Katniss, as the more able-bodied fighter, who does the dirty work. I thought it would have been really clever for Katniss and Rue to meet up after that mission… and the second Katniss turns her back, Rue plunges a hidden knife into her back.
It turns out that Rue is no different from the other fighters: cold and calculating. Not an evil character, per se, but she needs to survive. Maybe part of her expects Katniss to take her out in the near-future. So she planned to let Katniss destroy the enemy camp and then she can take them out one by one, starting with her old ally. However, Katniss is stronger than she looks. She manages to overpower Rue and kill her with an arrow. This would have also been a turning point for Katniss’s character, rather than the rushed nature of her first kill in the movie. I think it could have been the single, most shocking moment of the film. Well, maybe just beaten by…
1 – KATNISS TRICKS PEETA
The ending of the Hunger Games is good in its own way. Katniss and Peeta realise that they have to kill each other to end the game, but unable to bring themselves to let the audience ‘win’, they decide to eat some nightlock, in order to take their own life and not be ruled by the tyranny of the leaders. Of course, this brutal ending is cut because this franchise is a sequel gold-mine. However, in my version, Peeta wouldn’t have made it.
They both eat the nightlock. I personally think that the viewers would have allowed it, especially Donald Sutherland’s evil ruler. He would prefer if all of the combatants died. The Hunger Games organisers would have been less cruel, but have gone for the ‘original’ ending, maybe milking the Romeo and Juliet angle of it all. I think they would have let the two of them commit suicide and film their bodies convulse and fall to the floor.
And then Katniss spits out the berries. The audience are stunned at what they just saw. She tricked Peeta into killing himself, in order to win the game and get back home to her little sister. She did love Peeta, but her love for her family was stronger and after all, she did promise to do whatever she could to get home to win. It was have been the ultimate twist and have made Katniss such a meatier character. She would have been a terrific anti-hero. But maybe that is too dark for the books and after all, Peeta obviously plays an important part in ‘Catching Fire’. However, a writer can dream…