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Film / The Hunger Games

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"Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it's contained."
President Coriolanus Snow

The Hunger Games is the feature film adaptation of the book of the same name, directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit). The film was released on March 23, 2012.

In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to kill their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch.

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Stanley Tucci as Caesar and Donald Sutherland as President Snow.

Adaptations for the remaining novels were also made, with Ross being replaced by director Francis Lawrence. The Catching Fire movie was released in November 2013, and Mockingjay was split into two films, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 being released in 2014 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 in 2015. A prequel, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is set for release in 2023.

All character tropes must be moved to the proper character page.

The Hunger Games provides examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: While interviewing with Caesar Flickerman at the end of the book, Katniss discovers that Peeta had to get a prosthetic leg after being mauled by the mutts. It occasionally comes up as slowing him down, and in particular leaves Katniss ridden with guilt for not being able to protect him. Peeta gets away with both legs in the film version.
  • Abusive Parents: It is shown in the film that Peeta's mother at the very least is abusive. She is shown to be yelling at him, presumably for burning bread. The other indicator is that she told him that District 12 might have a winner, and it is more telling that his response is "She wasn't talking about me."
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Rare non-human example: In the book Prim's cat Buttercup was described as very scrawny and ugly, but in the movie when we see him he looks like an average cat. Justified, since you shouldn't make malnourished or sick cats work as actors.
    • The books mention Capitol citizens as often undergoing extensive body modifications and dyes that make them look almost inhuman. None of this appears in the film, where Capitol citizens tend to look like normal people in garish costumes and occasionally brightly-colored lipstick and wigs.
  • Adaptational Curves: Katniss in the books has almost never had a full belly, so she's rather scrawny even before being thrown into the arena. Jennifer Lawrence is of a healthier, curvier build.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Glimmer's dress in the book for her interview is described as leaving very little to the imagination. But in the film she's wearing a more modest, girly dress with a poofy skirt.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: There was a lot of complaining by fans that both Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) and Sam Claflin (Finnick) are too unattractive for their roles.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the book, Katniss gets her pin from Madge. Madge wasn't in the movie, so it was a gift from Greasy Sae. (The movie also adds the story points of Katniss giving Prim the pin and then Prim giving it back to her after the reaping; in the book, Madge visits Katniss after the reaping and gives her the pin.)
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • In the books, Haymitch is described as having dark hair, typical of the Seam. In the film version, he is blonde. (A possible explanation: Film Haymitch could have been born into the Merchant Class, like Peeta and Mrs. Everdeen.)
    • Buttercup the cat, named for the color of his coat, is for some reason black and white in the movie. He is changed for a more fitting yellow cat in the sequels.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Since the book is written in first person from Katniss' perspective, the film adds scenes in the control room of the Hunger Games arena and President Snow's garden to give more information about the world where the story takes place.
    • Seneca Crane is not identified at all in the first book, and is only mentioned posthumously in Catching Fire. The film turns him into a prominent character.
    • After Rue dies, the film depicts District 11 going into a riot in reaction to Katniss' impromptu funeral for Rue and salute to them. This is also some Foreshadowing for the revolts which begin in Catching Fire.
    • The film also allows you to see Gale's reaction to Katniss and Peeta in the games.
    • The film also shows the explanation for the rule change to allow two tributes from the same district to win. Haymitch is able to convince Seneca Crane to change the rules to distract people from the District 11 riots.
    • We also get a scene of Haymitch watching Katniss being trapped and wounded, then schmoozing with some Capitol bigwigs to send her the healing cream.
    • We see Seneca being forced to commit suicide, which is actually a reference to an implied event in the second novel, Catching Fire, although the novel suggests he was executed.
    • The District 6 boy that Cato gets into a fight with while training is named Jason.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • In the movie, we never find out the symbolic significance of the mockingjay, nor what the Muttations are made out of (in the book, it appeared to be dead tributes mixed with wolf.) Losing the first person perspective also means we lose Katniss's thoughts and motivations.
    • Katniss and Gale's conversation about how many times their names are in the bowl is not given direct explanation like it was in the book — it's explained in Katniss's parting words to Primrose, but it's easily missed.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The mockingjay pin's significant Back Story is Adapted Out along with Katniss' best friend Madge Undersee.
  • Advertised Extra: Liam Hemsworth as Gale received a lot of press for having a larger role in the subsequent movies. However in THIS movie, he only speaks in two scenes and is silent in his other scenes.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Katniss trying to heal Peeta's wounds after Cato stabbed him with a sword.
  • Age Lift: Two examples: Firstly, Cinna, described as a young man in the book, is played by a much older Lenny Kravitz. Secondly, in an instance of inverted Dawson Casting, the character of Clove, heavily implied to be 18 in the book, is stated to be 15 in the film, as she is played by then-14-year-old Isabelle Fuhrman.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Cato. In the book, he's portrayed as a psycho Blood Knight who enjoys killing other tributes right down to when he dies. Here, he's more or less the same... until he's about to die. We then learn that his motives were to bring honor and respect for him and his District. He was also a career tribute, meaning that he was trained to kill from a very young age, and likely had no choice in the matter. Killing was all he knew. Combining all of these, plus his behavior at the end, implies that he was craving respect and recognition from people, which, in turn, implies that he was abused, neglected, unappreciated, ignored, or possibly all of the above. This may show that he feels the only way to be loved is to win. What's even sadder is, that assumption may have been true.
    Cato: Oh no, I can still do this. I can still do this. One... more... kill. It's the only thing I know how to do... to bring pride to my District.
    • Foxface wasn't really a villain in the book, mostly just being a parasite on the Careers, stealing their food and generally being sneaky. In the movie, we have a scene between her and Katniss where they bump into each other while running from the slaughter at the Cornucopia, look at each other in terror for a second, then silently run off in separate directions. This makes her seem a bit more like Katniss herself. Katniss even seems glum when finding out that Foxface is dead, and from a rather random death too.
    • As in the original book (and possibly even moreso here), Glimmer in her death scene. She notably looks terrified as the tracker jackers surround her, negating any pleasure the audience could get out of her death.
    • To a certain extent, Seneca Crane. The character seemed to possess a certain degree of honor and fair play judging by his awarding Katniss points and there's something poignant about the scene where he's given a Sadistic Choice wherein his death occurs either way - especially since, like most Capitol citizens, he appeared to be more conditioned into his way of thinking than genuinely evil.
  • The Alcoholic: Haymitch's debut scene is stumbling into the dining car of the train drunk off his ass, and is intoxicated for many scenes after. He doesn't go stone-cold, but he does notably sober up through the course of the film as he takes his role as mentor more seriously.
  • All There in the Manual
    • Some people's names are never mentioned, but you can tell who they are supposed to be. Simultaneously inverted, with some characters in this film being called by names that weren't revealed until the second book.
    • There is a brief shot of a toteboard for Capitol gamblers containing tribute information such as name, height, age, and weight. If you pause the movie, you can see some descriptions of tributes that were left out of the books.
  • Arc Symbol: Fire and flames. District 12 mines coal burned for fuel, Katniss is immortalized as the Girl on Fire, etc.
  • Ascended Extra: Seneca Crane, Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith have a lot more to do, with the movie showing scenes that Katniss is not present for. President Snow also has much more to do than he did in the novel but as the Big Bad of the series, this was necessary.
  • Aside Glance: Haymitch sends Katniss some soup to feed Peeta with. Enclosed is the note, "You call that a kiss?", referring to a kiss on the cheek she gave Peeta earlier. Katniss promptly pulls this trope, though in the context of the film this doesn't break the fourth wall as she's aware her every action is being televised.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The aspect ratio gets wider as the fighting begins.
  • As You Know: The sportscaster scenes are this. Information about the Games provided by Katniss' narration in the book is provided by them here, such as Caesar explaining the Tracker Jackers to the audience. Seeing as first-time viewers would be small children, one assumes talking about an engineered species of creatures that's never found in the city is for the benefit of the target audience, namely the Capitol viewers.
  • Beard of Evil: Seneca wears a Weird Beard with immaculately trimmed curlicues that is opulent, silly and sinister all at once.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Due to medical treatments, Katniss's swollen Tracker Jacker stings completely vanish in the next scene. The cut she receives on her face all but vanishes in the next scene as well. For all the time she spends sleeping outside and fighting to the death, she still looks great by the end.
    • This goes for the other female Tributes too on the whole — even little Rue looks rather perfectly coiffured and clean, for a twelve-year-old surviving in the woods. In life Glimmer also looks salon-perfect — but the trope is averted by the state of her dead body after the tracker-jackers kill her.
  • Beauty to Beast: The beautiful Glimmer gets stung by trackerjacks. The venom from the stings destroys her beauty and her face is horribly disfigured.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed:
    • Due to letting two tributes win in the 74th Hunger Games, Seneca is given the option to commit suicide by eating some nightlock berries, whereas he was tortured and killed in the book. Which, given the context, is an example of Death by Irony.
    • The decision by Peeta and Katniss to commit to a suicide pact rather than forcing one or the other to kill also qualifies.
  • Be Yourself: This is Cinna's advice to Katniss regarding her interview with Caesar Flickerman.
    Katniss: How do you make people like you?
    Cinna: Well you made me like you.
    Katniss: That's different, I wasn't trying.
    Cinna: Exactly. Just be yourself, I'll be there the whole time, and just pretend that you're talking to me. Okay?
  • Big Heroic Run: Played straight and subverted. Katniss runs to save Rue when she's caught in the Career's net trap, and then runs to find Peeta later on when she hears the gong signalling a Tribute death (which wasn't his).
  • Big "NO!": When Katniss volunteers, Prim has several.
  • Bitch Alert: The actress playing Glimmer manages to convey this just through the condescending smirk she gives Peeta when he's training.
  • Blade Enthusiast: Clove's main weapon are short-blade knives that she is very proficient in throwing. She manages to slice Katniss' forehead with one when they return to the Cornucopia.
  • Border Patrol: Katniss tries to get as far away from the action as she can at the beginning, only for a Gamemaster-initiated forest fire to drive her back to the centre of the arena after she unintentionally gets too close to the boundaries. For added points, they keep it up long enough to drive her to the alliance of Careers, so she'll get killed.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The trainers stress that learning wilderness survival can give you at least as much an edge of winning as combat. In addition, Haymitch stresses really hard to Katniss that she must not bolt for the weapons at the start, but make for high ground and water right away. Katniss goes halfway by getting a backpack of wilderness survival gear, and that proves all she needs to start with, and through sheer luck, inadvertently gets a knife from Clove.
  • Bows and Errors: Katniss can hold back the drawstring for far longer than anyone less than a bodybuilder could.
  • Braids of Action: Katniss wears her hair like this whenever she hunts, trains and participates in the Games.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Katniss imitates Effie Trinket's "May the odds be ever in your favor" in the beginning.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: A variation with arrows and spears. When Katniss finds Rue tangled in a net, she frees her, then Marvel comes up and throws a spear at them. Katniss dodges the spear and shoots Marvel in the chest. Then Katniss turns and sees that the spear had hit a target: Rue.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Right before the bloodbath ends and the cannon signaling deaths is sounded, Katniss watches a black and blue butterfly fly away
  • Call-Back: Snow explains to Seneca why the Hunger Games needs a champion, and why it isn't simply an annual public execution. Peeta buys this at the end, asking Katniss to kill him so that District 12 will have their champion. Katniss, by now, realizes that she would do far more good as a martyr, and tells Peeta there doesn't need to be a champion at all.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Haymitch tells Peeta not to start a fire as it's a good way to get killed. Later in the film a girl does just that and you can guess the outcome. Katniss and Rue then exploit this with decoy fires in a bid to destroy the career alliance's stockpile.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mockingjay pin and nightlock berries. The former was simply a gift Katniss got back from Prim as her token that later became the symbol of the revolution. Nightlock berries are at first just highly poisonous berries Katniss is wary to look out for in the wild. She uses them in her and Peeta's Better to Die than Be Killed stand at the end, which first paints the huge targets on both of them for the rest of the story.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Katniss' hunting skills (via Gale's remark that she "practically lives in the forest") and familiarity with surviving in the wild.
    • Katniss is told early on in training that the Careers can be very arrogant. It comes back to bite them when Clove decides to torture and mock Katniss instead of killing her, which leads to Thresh overhearing that Rue was killed, so he kills Clove in retaliation.
    • Peeta's camouflage skills and strength from working in the bakery. The latter ends up being an advantage in the arena, but the former also ends up saving his life when he disguises himself in foliage after being brutally stabbed by Cato.
    • During training, Rue manages to steal a knife from a competitor and hide unnoticed. Her stealth skills allow her to help Katniss escape from the Careers later, and later give Katniss the idea to get rid of the Careers' makeshift cornucopia.
    • Early on in the game, Katniss sees a girl get killed after lighting a fire in the forest (which led the Careers to her position). She later uses the same tactic to draw the Careers away from their supplies.
    • Cato showcases his ability to swiftly break necks after one of his partners fails to protect the food supply. At the climax he threatens to use it again on Peeta.
    • Katniss shoots an apple out of a roasted pig's mouth. She later shoots a sack of apples to set off the alliance's mines.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Yet another horrifying aspect of the Hunger Games. Perfectly ordinary children (excepting the Career Tributes) are forced in a situation where, if they do not kill others, they themselves will die.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The jackets of the tributes while in the arena.
    • District 1 - Avocado Green
    • District 2 - Rust Red
    • District 3 - Mustard Yellow
    • District 4 - Seastorm Green
    • District 5 - Plum Red
    • District 6 - Tomato Red
    • District 7 - Russet Brown
    • District 8 - Goldenrod Yellow
    • District 9 - Bottle Green
    • District 10 - Foie Gras Grey
    • District 11 - Chocolate Brown
    • District 12 - Coal Black
  • Cool Train: The maglev that takes Katniss and Peeta from District 12 to Capitol. Unlike modern-day maglevs, this one hovers high above the tracks and appears to be flying on its own. It's also equipped with all the amenities for the tributes and their retinue.
    Effie Trinket: 200 miles an hour and you can't feel a thing.
  • Cue the Sun: Invoked by the Gamemasters, who can control the ambient lighting.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After outfighting Katniss, Clove gets completely overpowered and killed by Thresh.
  • Deadly Game: The Hunger Games themselves. As punishment for the Districts' rebellion, a boy an a girl age 12-18 is picked from each District and forced to fight to the death in an arena.
  • Death by Disfigurement: Glimmer dies from the trackerjack stings that disfigure her.
  • Death by Irony: Foxface is one of the most literal cases. Foxface's strategy in the game is stealing food from other competitors to survive. She is frequently credited for being very clever for this. That very skill is what leads to her death when she unknowingly steals poison berries from Peeta. The irony? Had Peeta tried to intentionally leave them as a trap, she probably wouldn't have eaten them. It's a case where someone incredibly smart is brought down by overestimating the intelligence of her competitors.
    • And at the conclusion of the film, the same fate is forced upon Seneca Crane, for his actions leading to both Katniss and Peeta making it out of the Hunger Games.
  • Death of a Child: The entire premise hinges on twelve to eighteen year old kids brutally killing one another. The death of Rue, the youngest tribute, drives home just how heartless the Capitol is.
  • Decade Dissonance: Particularly highlighted in the film. The Districts, especially the "lower" ones like 11 and 12 look straight out of The '50s at best, if not the Great Depression or even the 19th Century. It's no wonder then that those from there tend to be awestruck by how modern the Capitol is.
  • Declaration of Protection: Katniss's Big Sister Instinct for Prim is what leads her to volunteer to begin with. She later takes it on herself to protect Rue. Finally to Peeta.
  • Demoted to Extra: Greasy Sae, Buttercup and Katniss' prep team. In addition, while the District 4 tributes weren't even important enough to get names in the book, the entire District gets demoted from being a Career District.
  • Deus ex Machina: As Clove has finished her Evil Gloating to Katniss and is about to stab her, Thresh comes out of nowhere and grabs her (eventually killing her), to Katniss' shock.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Katniss has Rue die while she sings her a lullaby after Marvel spears her.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • When Katniss cuts down the tracker jacker nest in the book, this kills two people from the Career alliance: Glimmer and the unnamed girl from District 4. In the film series, District 4 is not portrayed as being a Career district—only 1 and 2 are—so this girl is not part of the alliance and dies offscreen, seemingly in the Cornucopia battle, and Katniss's tracker jacker trick only kills Glimmer.
    • Thresh technically dies offscreen in the book, but is more or less confirmed to have been killed by Cato in a days-long fight to the death that the latter eventually won, with Cato having pursued him in revenge after Thresh killed Clove and stole the District 2 backpack from the feast along with his own. He dies before Foxface and comes in fifth place. Here, he is still alive after Foxface dies and comes in fourth place, and is the first person attacked and killed by the muttations before they attack Katniss, Peeta, and Cato.
  • Dies Wide Open: Several tributes.
    • Glimmer may be the creepiest example, given the condition the tracker jackers left her in.
    • Rue. Katniss gently closes her eyes right after.
    • After Thresh opens a can of whoop-ass, he drops Clove on the ground like a sack of potatoes, her mouth agape, and her eyes open.
    • This is how Katniss and Peeta find poor Foxface, dead by nightlock poisoning from Peeta's stash.
  • The Ditz: Glimmer - for a Career, anyway. She's not completely stupid, but she spends most of her time following rather than leading, and screams for help while the others are running away from the tracker-jackers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: There are constant reminders of the influence of reality television on the setting, such as the sponsors. The District 11 riots also resemble the civil rights put downs.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Just like in the books, Haymitch is pretty drunk when he first meets the latest set of kids he'll have to prepare to fight to the death. Unlike in the books, it's not a formal agreement he makes with Katniss and Peeta that keeps him out of the bar. The film makes a clear point of displaying how he sobers up only after it becomes clear to him that Katniss and Peeta have a legitimate chance of surviving the games (and on several occasions he is reminded that tributes and children from other districts actually see being recruited for the games as a good thing, even fun).
  • Due to the Dead: Katniss does this with Rue, inspiring a riot in her district 11. The male District 11 tribute saves and spares Katniss in deference to this as well, and also savagely kills one of the Careers who gloated about it while attempting to kill Katniss moments before.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Mostly involving the look of District 12 and the Capitol. The former was far more rural than it would be in later installments and the latter would have far more high-rises than we had seen here.
    • Katniss is initially portrayed as brunette, while Jennifer Lawrence would later dye her hair black (which is her hair color in the books).
    • The Peacekeepers wear modern riot gear with open helmets and visors, while the sequels would show them as Faceless Goons wearing enclosed body armor.
    • The sequels had a different director than the original film, which comes through in the overall gritty, almost indie feel of the cinematography and music scoring of the first film. The later films are much more polished.
    • Buttercup is depicted as black and white. The latter films would depict him as fluffy orange, closer to his description in the books.
  • Environmental Symbolism: The sun sets almost instantly in the forest as the Muttations attack, and immediately rises after Cato dies, reinforcing the fact that it's the endgame. The Gamemakers control literally everything inside the Arena.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Haymitch enters the film drunk and still drinking and point-blank tells Katniss and Peeta he can't save them—his first bit of "advice" being to "embrace the probability of [their] imminent deaths." It at first seems to just establish him as an apathetic alcoholic, but we see some of his true character shine through later when (albeit very unenthused and hungover) he gives them legitimate advice that they need to work on their likability to gain sponsors. When Katniss stabs a knife between his fingers just to piss him off, he just drolly compliments her table-killing skills and continues. Haymitch may be blunt and crude, but he knows what he's talking about.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Many Capitol inhabitants have them.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Done mockingly by Katniss after shooting an arrow at the gamemakers, who had been ignoring her archery display in favor of food and smalltalk.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Driven home more in the film than the book, where we can see the Gamemakers controlling everything, up to making burning trees fall on command.
  • Evil Gloating: Clove taunts Katniss about Rue's death instead of just killing her... and unfortunately, Rue's fellow District 11 tribute was listening.
    • Inverted by Cato's rant at the end, which gives Peeta enough time to gain the upper hand, although Cato's intent appears to be to force Katniss to shoot him instead.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: The Gamemasters' control room, to a ludicrous degree.
  • Facial Horror: Glimmer's face is particularly horrifying in the movie version after she is stung by trackerjackers.
  • Fade to White: From Rue's perspective as she dies.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Katniss destroys the Careers' supplies from much closer than she did in the book, and is quite visible in the composition of shots focusing on Cato in the middle of his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The film has its share of this, although a Gory Discretion Shot is occasionally used for the bloodier ones. The tracker jackers are probably the worst, as Glimmer's corpse is shown in all its sting-covered horror.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Though the Capitol law enforcement is seen carrying black automatic rifles, the Districts have no such access since it's in the best interest of the powers-that-be to not have subjects shooting back at them. No firearms are provided in the actual Hunger Games themselves, likely to keep the games more interesting.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Fixing the Game: The people in charge of the games aren't above manipulating them in the same way the ground isn't above the sky. That Seneca doesn't manipulate them to Snow's desired ends is what results in Seneca's death.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Katniss and Primrose are both named after plants. Katniss is a type of weed found near water, and primroses are small, delicate flowers.
  • Follow the Leader: Early advertising emphasized the rather minor Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle and strongly resembled posters for Twilight, probably to exploit the huge overlap between the two fandoms. Advertisements for later films (Mockingjay in particular) shifted the focus back on the story of revolution.
  • Food Porn: So much of it, starting on the Capitol train. Katniss and Peeta are from a district constantly on the brink of starvation, and they're overwhelmed by the food they're now surrounded by.
  • Forced to Watch: It's required by law that everyone in the Districts watch the Hunger Games in some capacity. It hammers home the message that the Capitol is sending: we can abduct your children and force them to fight to the death in a sensationalist bloodsport and there's nothing you can do about it.
  • Foreshadowing: When Peeta remarks that he doesn't want the Capitol to change who he is, nor be a pawn in their games. Two films later, the Capitol has successfully brainwashed him into thinking Katniss and the rebels are enemies, so well that he becomes violent just at the sight of Katniss.
  • Game-Breaker: In-Universe. The hoard of supplies (including weapons, food and general items) the Careers were guarding would presumably have kept them well-fed and armed for quite some time. Katniss uses this to her advantage and destroys the stockpile.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Foxface and Prim. Peeta also recalls Katniss as a child with two braids instead of the one she wears now.
    • Inverted with Glimmer who still manages to be pretty intimidating despite having them though hers are worn looser than the other two.
  • Glass Cannon: Katniss is deadly with a bow but when it comes to close combat she very quickly gets into trouble.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Zig-Zagged throughout: most violent shots are shown, but this is noticeably played straight towards the very end of the film. Cato's eviscerated body nearly comes into view, but the camera cuts away before we can see anything. Also zig-zagged during the bloodbath in the beginning of the Games. While we're shown scattered, jerky shots of various tributes fighting and getting taken down, we don't see them actually being killed. For the most part it's just splatters of blood or very quick shots of the death blows.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Katniss is a skilled archer, while Peeta is a wrestler whose main skill is physical strength. The rest of the Tributes fall into this as well with the exception of Marvel, whose skill with thrown spears is his hallmark (and the method behind his only on-screen kill).
  • Hangover Sensitivity: When Katniss and Peeta meet Haymitch for the first time, he's more interested in continuing his drinking than giving advice, to the point of going back to his room.
  • Heel Realization: Cato realizes before his death that he spent his entire life being bred to be a pawn in the Capitol's scheme and even if he wins he is just a source of entertainment. Unfortunately, he then decides that he can still get one last kill in, which sort of negates the sympathy the first part was trying to invoke.
  • Held Gaze: Katniss and Peeta do this frequently between themselves as a means of subtly creating romantic tension before anything truly happens between the two in the games.
  • Heroic BSoD: Katniss after Rue's death. She curls into a ball and starts crying, making herself vulnerable.
  • Hope Is Scary: According to President Snow, who explains to Seneca why giving the Districts "a little hope" is a more effective means of control than simply rounding up 24 children every year and executing them. Too MUCH hope, however, is dangerous.
  • Hope Spot:
    • After Katniss sabotages the Careers' food supplies, she realizes Rue is in danger. Katniss runs and finds Rue in a net, cutting her free. They hug in mutual relief. Then the tribute who set the trap shoots a spear at them; it misses Katniss but hits Rue in the stomach.
    • Invoked by Haymitch, convincing Seneca to change the Game's rules. "Give them something to root for: young love." This backfires horribly for Seneca.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • In the book, the yellow dress that Katniss wears at her final interview was supposed to be girlish and understated with a high, modest cut. In the movie, while not designed to overtly flaunt sex appeal, the dress's design is more mature than what's described in the book.
    • Inverted with Glimmer's dress. In the book, she's described as wearing a translucent golden dress. However, in the movie, she girlishly bounces out on stage in a puffy white dress.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Katniss has a rather distressed reaction when she thought Peeta consumed the nightlock berries.
    Katniss: Damn you Peeta, damn you!
  • Huge Girl, Tiny Guy: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) at 5'9", is four inches taller than 5'5'' Josh Hutcherson (Peeta).
  • Idiot Ball: The Career tributes fail to spot a deadly threat that Rue notices from further distance (although the tracker jacker hive may have been inserted by the game makers later), but then they all go to sleep at the same time without stationing a sentry in a kill or be killed scenario. This is quickly exploited against them.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Katniss' sadness over Rue's death leads her to go to great lengths to protect Peeta.
  • Impairment Shot:
    • Almost every time Katniss is injured during the games.
    • Rue watching the blurring tree tops right before dying.
  • Inescapable Net: Rue is inescapably trapped under a net tied to tree trunks. A freeze frame reveals the trap's poor set up which Rue should have had no problem escaping from. This provides the current page image.
  • Informed Ability: The Career tributes are trained for years, yet they ignore basic survival stuff such as the use of sentries and are prone to Failed a Spot Check. This incompetence is handwaved/paired in-story with their arrogance.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch. It doesn't start off well thanks to Haymitch's initial apathy, but he starts taking his job as a mentor seriously, and by the end of the film is still advising the two on how to stay alive now that the Capitol has targets on them.
  • It Gets Easier: Clearly indicated in those tributes who seem to have no difficulty at all in killing people. Referenced by Peeta's concerns before the game begins about becoming a killer. Also, while Katniss is heard stating her uncertainty about shooting something that isn't an animal, by the end she is able to put an arrow into Cato without blinking an eye.
  • I Should Have Been Better: When he thinks that he is dying, Peeta confesses to Katniss that he regrets that he tossed the bread in the mud that saved her life when they were younger. He says he should have handed them to her directly. Katniss reassures him that he saved her regardless, and she will always treasure that.
  • Jerk Jock: Careers, the Tributes from Districts 1 and 2, come off this way due to their district's practice of training children specifically to volunteer for the Hunger Games. As a result, they are far more likely to win than Tributes from other districts. On the other hand, their arrogance can easily be used against them and they don't know many of the basic survival skills that tributes from lower districts grow up learning.
  • Jitter Cam: Used quite a lot. Probably to be as violent as they can without an R rating, as it's hard to see anything gruesome with the camera moving around so quickly. The camera becomes "queasy cam" outside of the Capitol or during the games, and "normal cam" within the Capitol or when the focus is on it. A nice touch to show how formal the Capitol appears to be to the general population.
  • Jump Scare: When the muttation leaps out at Peeta.
  • Killer Game Master: Seneca and the rest of his staff gleefully manipulate the environment to make a good show, but they at least don't try to directly kill the participants. Until the endgame, that is, where they start unleashing ravenous hounds to kill off the people they don't want winning.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Rue. The youngest and most innocent tribute in the games, she is killed by a spear to the gut, and can only cling to Katniss for comfort as she dies.
  • Large Ham: Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, and Elizabeth Banks as Effie. Actually, nearly everyone in the Capitol is a massive ham.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Or nightlock berries for Seneca.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Katniss is only shown with her hair down when she is at her most vulnerable.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Peacekeepers wear pristine-white helmets and armor. Capitol, the heart of the decadent Panem, is an imposing Shining City. Even the rooms in the participant's rooms have bright white crystalline lights.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The Tributes, by necessity, wear their uniforms for the entirety of the game. Seneca Crane wears the same weird vest the whole time.
  • Love at First Sight: Peeta says this about Katniss during his appearance on Flickerman's show as part of a gambit to increase popularity for both of them and gain more sponsors. Whether or not he actually means it is the real question.
  • Lured into a Trap:Marvel traps Rue in an Inescapable Net in order to attract and shoot Katniss. It doesn't work out for him.
  • Makeup Is Evil: The residents of the capital tend toward heavy make-up in gaudy colors.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Panem" means "bread," which is a reference to the Roman phrase "Bread and Circuses" (Latin: panem et circenses), which are the ways that a tyranny can keep its population under control. People from the capital have Roman names, another reference to the trope.
    • Peeta the baker's name sounds like "pita," a type of bread.
    • You could predict Seneca Crane's fate if you know anything about his namesake, the Roman Seneca the Younger. He was also forced to commit suicide by his superior, Emperor Nero.
    • Katniss is named after a plant that is also called "arrowhead," referring to her weapon of choice.
    • "Primrose" means "eternal love".
    • "Rue" means "regret," referring to Kat's regret over her death.
    • Clove is a spice, a nod the character's brash nature.
  • Mentor: Haymitch Abernathy. The only (living, anyway) District 12 victor, it's his forced-on job to help Katniss and Peeta prepare for the arena. Years of watching his tributes die has made him very bitter about the whole thing, but he does come around to genuinely assist them. His main focus is their likability, as it's the only way for them to get sponsor gifts.
  • Mercy Kill: In the film, Cato actually screams "Please!" to be mercy killed by Katniss. And his ordeal didn't last 20 hours, unlike the book.
  • Mood Dissonance: The Reaping - with no music, the tension from the names being called, the horror of hearing Prim's name being called and Effie Trinket practically bouncing with excitement.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: The lethal spear stuck in Rue's chest is revealed in this way.
  • Moving the Goalposts: The Gamemasters announce that two people can live if they're from the same district, then revoke it at the end when two actually manage to fill that condition. Katniss showed them up by threatening suicide with Peeta, forcing them to make good on the original promise so they'd have someone to crown a victor instead of a martyr.
  • Mushroom Samba: When Katniss is stung by the poisonous Tracker Jackers, she sees things like Caesar Flickerman walking through the forest and her mother catatonically sitting in the living room. This is admittedly Lighter and Softer than the book's presentation of the events.
  • Neck Snap: Cato does this to the boy from District 3. It disturbs even Katniss, who immediately runs for it.
  • Nightmare Face: Once the tracker jackers are done with Glimmer, her grotesquely bloated and nigh-unrecognizable face is horrific to look at.
  • No Escape but Down: When Katniss uses the Tracker Jackers to draw off the Careers, she ends up falling out of the tree while trying to rapidly climb down it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Katniss watches footage showing one of the previous winners, who beat his final opponent to death with a brick.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the books, people from the Capitol nearly universally exhibit their own unique speech affectations, such as ending each sentence like it's a question. These are mocked by Katniss and Gale, and mentioned in regards to several characters exhibiting them. In this film and the three following it, however, only Effie exhibits an accent (which is interpreted as similar to the mid-Atlantic voice of 1930s cinema).
  • Obstacle Exposition: When Seneca and the game controllers decide on what obstacles to use to deter contestants or bring them together (the forest fire, the Muttations).
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Just like the novel, you never really get to see Thresh in action. Onscreen, however, he kills Clove in just one move, and she's absolutely terrified of him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Prim is chosen, there's a brief shot of Katniss, whose face is one of slack-jawed horror.
    • There's also a minor one when Haymitch tells Katniss that she needs to get people to like her. He calls her on it too.
    • Also, Clove, just before Thresh grabs her and brutally kills her with his bare hands.
    • When Seneca announces that he intends to revoke the Two Winners rule change, Both Katniss and Peeta share one.
  • One-Woman Wail: During the opening scenes, ethereal vocalizations play as we see an impoverished District 12. Fans of the Halo franchise will find the tune suspiciously similar.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Elizabeth Banks has some noticeable slips as Effie. It's harder to tell, but Liam Hemsworth's Australian also comes out.
    • Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence also slip into their Kentucky drawls at times, particularly in the "I want to die as myself" scene.
  • Opening Scroll: "From the Treaty of the Treason: In penance for their uprising, each district shall offer up a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 at a public "Reaping". These Tributes shall be delivered to the custody of The Capitol. And then transferred to a public arena where they will Fight to the Death, until a lone victor remains. Henceforth and forevermore this pageant shall be known as The Hunger Games."
  • Pacified Adaptation: While still a pretty violent affair, being a story about teenagers killing each other as competition, much of the violence is less rendered than what the book entails. Things written on paper tend to get very graphic, describing things like bones cracking or bodies splitting open in gruesome places. The movie is able to get away more with a Gory Discretion Shot here and there to keep things PG-13. And blood in general is kept less prevalent despite lethal wounds being dealt at many points.
  • Painting the Medium: While Katniss is cutting off the tracker jacker hive, she gets stung a lot, which leads to the editing and visuals briefly getting messed up and distorted (and that's before the hallucination) to reflect her disoriented mental state.
  • Pet the Dog: In return for Katniss giving Rue a decent burial, Thresh kills her attacker and spares her life, though he warns the offer is only good once.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: 5'5" Josh Hutcherson as the very strong Peeta. Also, the even smaller Isabelle Fuhrman as Clove.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: For the most part, the movie stays very true to the book, leading to a run time of of two hours and twenty-two minutes, but to keep it from being longer some things had to be cut, most notably the character of Madge and the girl Katniss didn't save reappearing as an Avox. Katniss' search for water, the District 3 boy's digging up and reactivating the mines for the Careers and Cato's death scene were also significantly shortened and Peeta gets to keep his leg. On the other hand, though, we get to see other things during the games, such as parts of the TV broadcast, the Gamemakers in their control room, and the riot that Katniss sparks in District 11, things that we only read Katniss speculate about in the books.
  • President Evil: President Snow, who advises Seneca Crane on what to do to the Games to best squash the hopes of Panem's people.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Cato and Glimmer have a thing going on until the latter is killed by Katniss with tracker jackers, even sleeping next to each other after trapping Katniss in a tree. In the books, we never see them interact at all, and Cato is closer to Clove, his district partner, with whom he supposedly will get the option to win together just like Katniss and Peeta. (Possibly not in a romantic way, just enough that he seems sincerely sad by her death.) A rather bizarre example considering that this is the Hunger Games, where Glimmer and Cato would have eventually been forced to kill each other anyway if they'd both made it to the end.
  • Race Lift
    • Many people in the The Seam have dark complexions, with black hair and "olive" skin. Their race is never stated outright, however, and not all residents are dark, given that both Prim and Katniss's mother are blond. In the film, Gale, Katniss, and Haymitch are all played by light-complexioned white actors.
    • Foxface and Sae are also implied to be East Asian. "Fox face" or "kitsune gao" is a Japanese term referring to women who have a narrow face with high cheekbones, close-set eyes, and thin eyebrows. Red hair is also a rare East Asian trait. Sae is a Japanese name.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Several tributes are seen being threatened/killed both on-screen and off, such as the curly-haired teenager who hides in the Cornucopia before getting sliced by Cato when he tries to escape. Rue and Foxface could also be a case of this.
  • Schmuck Bait: How Haymitch describes the whole Cornucopia at the start of the Games. Sure, it's full of weapons (including a bow and arrows for Katniss), food supplies and equipment that makes overall it very tempting... except going for it exposes you to the more trained career tributes, insuring a blood bath. Haymitch's advice is to ignore it completely and head for the woods immediately instead.
  • The Scream: Katniss, after she fails to protect Rue, but it's purposefully silent.
  • Sequel Hook: Even if you didn't know the book had sequels, the end of the film makes it perfectly clear that there's more to come now that Katniss and Peeta publicly turned against the Capitol by threatening suicide and depriving the Games of a victor.
  • Shining City: The Capitol is a glimmering silver city that Peeta and Katniss can't help but be awed at despite their situation. This is, however, a case of Light Is Not Good.
  • Ship Tease: Glimmer and Cato are seen cuddling while they sleep and exchange some flirty dialogue. Glimmer is killed by tracker-jackers, and it's left ambiguous how Cato reacted.
    • Katniss, urged on by Haymitch, uses this trope for all it's worth during the later parts of the game by pretending to fall in love with Peeta in order to gain sponsors.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: The "Star crossed lovers" and the use of the Romeo and Juliet theme as the Mockingjay signal.
  • Show Within a Show: The Hunger Games themselves, as all Panem citizens are Forced to Watch it.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Katniss to Peeta, when he got sick. But you do not get points for guessing this.
  • Slave to PR: In-universe. Tributes must do several things during training and the actual game (impress the judges, achieve a high training score, make a good impression on Flickerman's show) in order to receive sponsorships and items to assist them. Katniss decides to play with the rules (via her training stunt where she shoots the apple out of a roast pig) and gets the highest Tribute ranking (11 out of 12) and more assistance during the game.
  • Smarmy Host: Caesar Flickerman, complete with slicked-back hair, blindingly-white teeth, and over-the-top glad-handing.
  • The Spartan Way: Implied with District 2.
  • Suicide by Cop: It is very heavily implied that Cato physically endangers Peeta's life so that Katniss will be forced to shoot him.
  • Take a Third Option: When Katniss and Peeta decide to take the poison berries to kill themselves rather than one having to kill the other.
  • Technology Porn: The room where the overseers "modify" the game has some incredible animation.
  • Tempting Fate: Katniss tells Prim she won't be picked for the Hunger Games due to the fact she only has one ticket...suffice to say we know what happens next.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Katniss' brief breakdown after paying tribute to Rue could in part be due to her having directly killed someone (Marvel) for the first time.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Katniss makes fun of Cato with this. After he proves incapable of hitting her with a bow from a measly distance, she claims he should try throwing his sword instead.
  • Too Clever by Half: Foxface dies because, lacking the know-how to forage food from the forest for herself, she relies on stealth to observe and steal from other Tributes - meaning that she doesn't recognize nightlock berries and, assuming them to be safe because Peeta collected them, inadvertently poisons herself with them.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Katniss, safely hidden in a tree, watches a Tribute learn a cardinal rule about stealth in hostile territory the hard way: under no circumstances do you make a camp fire: you'll be too easy for the enemy to spot.
    • Clove, rather than just killing Katniss, starts gloating about how her group killed Rue. Thresh happens to be listening, and it ends badly for Clove.
  • Tragic Villain: Cato gets one in before his death. His District puts a lot of pride into their tributes, even treating the Reaping as a celebration rather than a death sentence. He's fully aware that by losing the games, he'll be considered a horrible failure who couldn't do his District proud.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Katniss tracks a blood trail leading out to the riverbank, and discovers a camouflaged (and injured) Peeta.
  • Training Montage: There's a brief montage of all the tributes training in different areas. Peeta practices his camouflaging, Foxface her flora recognition skills, and for the most part the Careers focus on their hand-to-hand combat.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Snow and Seneca have a discussion on this in regards to Seneca giving Katniss such a high rating. Seneca says that people like an underdog. Snow, however, does not. His following explanation about the manipulative properties of the Hope Spot suggests that he prefers the Career tributes to win, because they treat it like a game (thus reinforcing the idea that it's not a horrible spectacle of death and violence). True volunteers like Katniss or normal tributes aren't as predictable.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Katniss's Due to the Dead for Rue causes a riot in Distict 11, which the Peacekeepers violently suppress.
  • Villainous Breakdown
    • A minor one from the heavily-wounded Cato, who snaps at the Capitol audience for seeing his impending death as entertainment and lapses into the realization that all he knows how to do is kill people. Then he snaps out of it and decides he can take Peeta with him.
    • Also, Clove has one just before Thresh kills her, screaming frantically for Cato.
  • Villains Out Shopping: What does President Snow do when he's not busy being a dictator? Tend to his rose garden.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Seneca Crane is generally seeing a red and black one.
  • Weeding Out Imperfections: Implied when President Snow aggressively prunes his prize roses while talking about the "underdog" Tributes from the poorer districts.
  • Wicked Wasps: Tracker jackers are genetically engineered wasps with hallucinogenic venom that can potentially be fatal, if the entire hive doesn't Zerg Rush you into oblivion first.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: In the book, Katniss gets clobbered by a much older and larger Clove when called to the Feast. In the film, supposedly 16 year old Katniss is played by an early-20s Jennifer Lawrence, and Clove has been aged down to 15, and on top of that, she's played by then-14 Isabelle Fuhrman, who was tiny for her age. The film version of this fight is not so believable when Clove is clearly half Katniss's size. The film handwaves the discrepancy as Clove simply being much more trained than Katniss, but even then, to expect that Katniss would one-sidedly lose to the much smaller Clove is a stretch. CinemaSins notes "age differences at this point in child development matter: Katniss should easily dominate this other girl."
  • World of Ham: The Capitol when the cameras are on. Not that natives Effie and Caesar aren't overblown while off the spotlight as well...
  • Xanatos Gambit: Katniss and Peeta, the last survivors, are told that the rule that allowed them to win together has been revoked, so one has to kill the other. Katniss decides to have both herself and Peeta eat the nightlock berries, denying the Games their champion and giving District 12 two martyrs instead. Doing so forces Seneca to decide between letting them both win or letting there be no champion, thus stoking further civil unrest. Seneca chooses the former, and is then forced to offer himself as the final casualty of the Games.
  • You Have Failed Me: Snow to Seneca, for allowing Peeta and Katniss to get the better of him and force him to spare them both. Cato also does this to the District 3 boy standing guard after Katniss sets off the mines and destroys all the food.
  • You Will Be Spared: When he has a clear opportunity to kill Katniss, Thresh says, "Just this time, Twelve. For Rue." He all but says he owes her for protecting Rue for as long as she could and runs off.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Hunger Games Mockingjay


District 11 Uprising

Katniss's impromptu funeral for the fallen Rue and her hand gesture of solidarity sparks an uprising in Rue's home, District 11.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SparkOfTheRebellion

Media sources: