Adapting a popular book to a film is a huge undertaking and there’s an intense amount of pressure from fans to get it right. Botch it, and you’ll have an angry fanbase to deal with for the rest of your life (I’m looking at you, Percy Jackson filmmakers). But when it’s done right like The Hunger Games, you create a phenomenon that touches fans for years to come.
Rather than put together a generic list of moments in the movie that touched most audiences, we wanted to get personal with this article. A bunch of us here at Bookstr decided to share the moments from The Hunger Games that have stuck with us all these years later. Get ready to laugh and cry as we take a trip down memory lane!
Emily Gumal, Editorial Department
“Rue’s death gets me every time. No matter how many times I watch it, I still bawl buckets watching her die. She’s just a little girl who shouldn’t even be in that situation in the first place. Jennifer Lawrence and Amandla Stenberg’s acting in that scene is incredible. The singing of the song, the covering of Rue with flowers and especially the symbol, the touching of the fingers to the lips and holding it out as a sign of saying goodbye to someone you truly love.“
“The reaction of the District 11 people is so raw and unbridled; it brings me to tears every time. Along that vein, another emotional scene that brings me to tears is the ‘Hanging Tree’ scene where the members of the district blow up the dam.”
Griffyn Tijamo, Graphics Department
“One of the things I find exciting to look forward to when a book is being adapted are the costumes, and specifically for The Hunger Games was Effie Trinket’s wardrobe and even the entirety of the capital’s fashion sense. Reading about their clothes as described in the books are one thing, but to actually see in the movie the contrast between the districts’ gray-toned, humble clothing and the capital’s use of color as introduced by Effie’s purple outfit with the gigantic flower in her hair at the reaping solidified Panem’s differences in class that’s at the forefront of the story’s conflict.
“It’s even interesting to be able to see Katniss and Peeta interacting with their new clothes before the Games, like their unease in the fire outfits that Cinna put them in for the chariot scene or Katniss’ orange dress for her interview with Caesar. While the costumes are beautiful and exceed my expectations after reading the book, it’s also haunting to think about how these are children being dressed up and paraded before they are to fight to the death – the absurdity of which is what I think has always made the story of The Hunger Games, as a book and movie, so intriguing to me and one that I will always reread/watch.”
Savannah Swanson, Editorial Department
“I have nothing but love for The Hunger Games, I was so excited when it was coming out. I’m talking wouldn’t-shut-up-about-it excited. Once I saw it, I was insufferable; you could find me putting on gold eyeliner and staring dramatically out the window while listening to ‘Safe and Sound.’ The soundtrack is amazing and the casting is spot-on. The great Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? Perfect. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch? Genius. Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman? ICONIC.
“I recently watched it again for the first time in years though, and noticed something odd that 12-year-old me overlooked. Like the fact that Peeta said his special skill was cake decorating, and then later in the games painted himself like a freaking rock for camouflage. I laughed so hard I was in tears when he just showed up out of nowhere like ‘Hey Katniss,’ while having foliage and paint all over himself.
I’ve got so many questions. Where did he get all those supplies? How did he do all the stuff on his face without a mirror? I guess we’ll never know, but that’s okay.“
Lexi Dockery, Editorial Department
“How has it already been 10 years?! 14-year-old Lexi was absolutely obsessed with The Hunger Games franchise and even had a lifesize cutout of Katniss in my room (don’t ask how I got it). After rewatching the movie this week, and realizing how silly certain parts have aged, I gotta say that my respect for the Dream Team has changed. No, not Katniss and Peeta, but Cinna, Haymitch, and Effie (okay, Effie can be unbearable in this movie, but she develops eventually!). I could go on and on about how much I loved Cinna, his style, and his support of Katniss and helping her become who she needed to be.
“During my rewatch, I couldn’t help but laugh at every Haymitch scene. One of my favorites is when Katniss is getting scolded by Effie for her ‘Thanks for your consideration,’ moment, and Haymitch gives her a thumbs up, laughs, and calls her a genius. Even with all their lives on the line, he still praises her for doing what she needed to do. Aside from some major f-ed up things he did, Haymitch can be pretty relatable. He is a mess, but honestly, so am I! TL;DR: At 14, I hoped to be like Katniss. At 24, I grew up to be Haymitch.”
Celeste Shelton, Graphics Department
“Although, I can’t remember the movies in great detail and I have to admit (I didn’t read the book, I know, I know) I think the moments that stood out to me the most were the ones with Effie and Rue! Effie’s costumes were so elaborate and colorful. Funny enough, her outfits are the one thing that are really ingrained into my brain from the first movie. All of the costumes in fact were done so beautifully! I have to applaud the costume department for the movie.
“I think the other biggest moment that stood out to me were the deaths. As I was unfamiliar with the novels, seeing death represented in such a gruesome way, especially with children/ teenagers, really left an impact on me. Rue’s death especially shook me to the core. I couldn’t sleep for a week after watching the movie.”
Emily Sharkis, Editorial Department
“I think the moment that stood out to me most is when the kids are first brought into the arena. The ominous music begins to play and the countdown begins. The books tell you that if you stepped off of your pedestal before the countdown was over, you would be blown to bits by landmines. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to know that just minutes after the countdown was over, a substantial amount of these other kids, and possibly even you, would be dead. It gives me anxiety just thinking about it.
“I actually had to turn the movie off at this point when I watched it for the first time. Sure, maybe a 9-year-old shouldn’t have been watching The Hunger Games to begin with, but seeing the blood and gore was slightly too much for me. A few months later, after reading the books, I was equipped with a Mockingjay necklace, a Katniss doll, and had seen the movie a few too many times.”
Lindsey Dolan, Editorial Department
“My favorite moments from The Hunger Games film adaptations are the incredible musical moments. James Newton Howard’s original score makes everything that much more atmospheric and heart wrenching, especially at the scene of Rue’s death when Katniss’ rendition of ‘Deep in the Meadow’ swells into the beautiful orchestral score piece ‘Rue’s Farewell.’ I was crazy for The Hunger Games during my early teens and would listen to the movie scores on walks and runs and as I’d reread the books; they brought a whole new level of feeling to the story.
“But I can’t talk about how perfect the music was without mentioning the movie soundtrack. Taylor Swift’s ‘Safe & Sound’ and ‘Eyes Open’? Those were kind of revolutionary. A whole album of acclaimed musicians writing songs inspired by the characters and story in the style of District 12’s Appalachianness was an incredible thing to happen, not to mention how absolutely STACKED the tracklist was (Taylor Swift, Neko Case, The Decemberists, Birdy, Kid Cudi, Arcade Fire — I could go on).”
Kayla Hoang, Editorial Department
“I actually jumped into the series way after the movies came out, but I still became quickly obsessed either way. For me, I’d say the most unforgettable moment was Rue’s death. Not only was it a message about the class disparities that existed in The Hunger Games universe and real-life, it also demonstrated how absolutely disassociated the Capitol was from its lower-class citizens.
“Although I am, and always am, a bigger fan of the books, I remember the screening of Rue’s death to the different districts, and how it became one of the very first catalysts to set off the rebellion throughout the later movies. I remember watching the moment she died with my aunt and mom, and both of them cried. It was a really emotional, candid moment that was one of the most important scenes of the first Hunger Games but also a powerful one that created a chain of events leading into the eventual war throughout the series.”
And there you have it! From the characters to the costumes, to the music and the acting, there’s much to love about The Hunger Games. We can’t wait for another great book-to-movie to come along and grace us with its existence. But until then, farewell, and may the odds be ever in your favor.