‘Catching Fire’ Book vs. Movie Breakdown: A Fan-alysis

·Senior Reporter
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

[Editor's note: This story is loaded with spoilers, so read at your own risk.]

At long last, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is in theaters and now that we have had the chance to see it, it's time to turn from "What we hope to see" into "What we didn't see" in the movie.

It goes without saying that adapting author Suzanne Collins' gripping 391-page novel into a 146-minute feature is a challenge, but given the film's very positive reviews, it seems as though the end result is a win for everyone. Nevertheless, we couldn't stop the itch from seeing which book material made the final cut of the film and what new elements were created specifically for the sequel. So we sought out experts from a few of our favorite fellow fansites to get their thoughts on the book vs. movie.

The Best of the Page-to-Screen Scenes:

Sam Claflin in Catching Fire
Sam Claflin in Catching Fire

"There were so many good ones, but I thought they adapted Johanna's elevator scene to be stronger than the book's," said Crystal Watanabe, director of content at Mockingjay.net. "The jabberjay scene was particularly well done, though it was painful to watch." Colleen Hurt, book expert for HGGirlOnFire.com, agreed: "[The introduction] to Johanna Mason was amazing. It was a great scene in the book, but the reactions from Peeta, Haymitch, and Katniss were priceless!"

"I really loved when the Quarter Quell Tributes all joined hands in defiance of the Capitol right after being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman," said Aldrin Gamos, site administrator for Down With the Capitol. "This wasn't the first acknowledgment of the rebellion in 'Catching Fire,' but it was certainly one of the most powerful and it gave me chills to see it on screen!"

[Related: Why the 'Catching Fire' Cast Has More Fun Than the Rest of Us]

"The emotional District 11 scene and beach scene are obvious favorites, but one that really stood out to me was at the end of the Games when Beetee directs Johanna and Katniss to unwind the wire, while Peeta and Finnick stay to guard him," added Amanda Belcher, admin at TheHob.org. "Some additional dialogue was added to this scene to make you really question the other Tributes' motives, and you could see and feel the reluctance between Katniss and Peeta to be separated."

"Out of all the book-accurate scenes to choose from, my favorite book-to-film scene would have to be the classic sugar cube scene," said Courtney Custodio, co-founder of WelcometoDiscrict12.com. "Sam Claflin not only delivers his lines exactly how I imagined them, but the script for this scene is word-for-word out of the book. It warms my heart to know that Francis Lawrence and all those involved in making this scene come together honored the fan's intense desire to see Finnick's character come to life. I also appreciate the way he sticks the sugar cube in his mouth and saunters off which provides some great comic relief."

Lost in Translation: Scenes From the Book That We Wanted to See:

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire
Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire

"The only scene I really 'missed' was Katniss's cold and cruel comments to Finnick about Annie in the end," said Watanabe. "But this didn't bother me that much because I can see how this would make for a stronger scene in 'Mockingjay' in District 13 than it would be at the end of 'Catching Fire,' considering the flow they went for. There's still hope for that one!"

"One scene I noticed didn't make the film was when Plutarch Heavensbee flashes his watch to Katniss, revealing the Mockingjay symbol to show he's on her side," added Gamos. "I can see why they cut this, as this would fly by most people's heads, and they show later in the movie that Plutarch was always in on the 'grand plan,' but it would have been cool to see it in the movie anyway!"

"I would have loved to see the scene after Katniss has to drop down from a tree over the electrified fence," said Hurt. "She's injured and there are Peacekeepers waiting in her home, but her family, Haymitch, and Peeta are so quick to catch on to her cover story, it just shows how close they are as a team. No matter what, they’ll protect each other."

[Related: The Buzziest Moments from the 'Catching Fire' Premiere]

"Looking back at the movie, I know there were a lot of scenes missing — Katniss trying on wedding dresses in District 12, Katniss jumping over the fence and injuring her ankle, Katniss and Peeta watching old Games footage on the train — but while sitting in the theater watching the movie, I was never distracted by their omission, so I wouldn't add any back in," offered Belcher. "The script was completely seamless without those scenes, which I think says A LOT about the intelligent choices that were made with the script."

"I really wanted to see Haymitch's Games if only to gain a fuller sense of his character," said Custodio. "I love the idea that he also won his Games in a rebellious fashion, but more importantly it is because he, sadly, was the example. It cost him everyone he loved. The 'Catching Fire' film is character-driven, so I'm sure Francis Lawrence thought seriously about whether or not that would make the cut. Given the pace of the film, it seems to me perhaps that was a good decision for it even though we didn't get to see it unfold."

What do you think was the best book-to-movie scene and which passage from the book do you wish had been included in the final cut?