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From the Book to the Big Screen: What’s the Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

The movie is never better than the book. 

There is no arguing that fact. Usually, when a book is adapted into a movie, it falls short, leaving the audience disappointed and craving more from the story that they love. Understandably so. When it comes to bringing a book to life, it is extremely hard to fit hundreds of pages worth of material into a two hour movie. There are honestly very few book to movie adaptations that I can confidentially say are good, except one… The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Released in November of 2013, Catching Fire remains to this day one of the best book to movie adaptations. Let’s take a look at why. 

First, the movie stays true to the book. With the adaptation of any book into a movie, the small details are often axed because there isn’t enough time to keep everything. But that’s not the case with Catching Fire. When taking a look back at the book after watching the movie, there were minor cuts made to the smaller storylines, but in no way did it affect the overall plot. And the director knew what was important to the readers. One of the most important scenes kept in was between Katniss and Peeta on the beach. They are sharing a somewhat casual moment together, when Peeta opens an oyster, finds a pearl inside and gifts it to Katniss. While this scene was absolutely swoon-worthy, it is so packed with meaning, and the fact that the writers and director decided to leave it in the movie shows the attention to detail, and their desire to do the book justice. 

Secondly, visual, visuals, visuals. Catching Fire is packed with so many stunning visuals that helped bring the book to life. The tribute parade is filled with beautiful costumes and effects that leave the audience in awe, and the scene with the tribute interviews is even better. When watching the scene in which Katniss transforms from her wedding dress into a mockingjay inspired dress, it’s so obvious that the writers did their research.The transition looks so seamless, and the fire that engulfs her dress leaves my jaw dropped. Every. Single. Time. The movie took one of the most symbolic parts of the book, and executed it seamlessly. And don’t even get me started on the arena! The cornucopia and the beach, and the jungle surrounding it, are incredibly accurate when matching them to the descriptions in the book. During the entire movie, I was in constant awe of how beautiful and accurate everything ended up being. 

Lastly, casting. I cannot say enough about the casting choices made for this movie. The actors can truly make or break a film, especially if they don’t live up to the image of the characters that others had in their minds. But these actors did not disappoint. Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss was nothing short of spectacular. She embodied Katniss’ personality and all of the different sides of the character that we see in the book. It also helps that Josh Hutcherson was the perfect Peeta. He truly delivered when it came to this role. Hutcherson did not hold back, and gave us the perfect mix of optimism, humor, and seriousness through his portrayal of the character. There is just something about him that demands your attention and makes you emotional every time that he is on the screen. Lawrence and Hutcherson also have undeniable chemistry. The two of them together created such a beautifully heartbreaking story and I was hooked from the moment I saw them interact. 

After ALL of this, I hope that you can agree that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is without a doubt the best book to movie adaptation. And if you haven’t read the book OR watched the movie… it’s a must!

Ella is currently a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a degree in Communications. She loves reading and writing in her free time and loves getting to talk about important topics or events in the media.