Book Review: The Hunger Games Official Illustrated Movie Companion

The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Kate Egan
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: Feb. 07, 2012
The New York Times bestseller by Suzanne Collins is now a major motion picture -- and this is your guide to all of the movie's excitement, both in front of the camera and behind it.Go behind the scenes of the making of The Hunger Games with exclusive images and interviews. From the screenwriting process to the casting decisions to the elaborate sets and costumes to the actors' performances and directors' vision, this is the definitive companion to the breathtaking film.

"...I think a book adaptation doesn't have to be just like the book, it has to feel like the book. That's what you want. You want to get the feeling from the movie that you got from the book, and you want the characters to evoke the characters that you fell in love with."
-Nina Jacobson (producer), pg. 20
I can't even begin to describe how many worries and fears about the making of the movie, this book put to rest. Just reading about the careful decisions that were made through every step of the process, and about exactly how much each person involved cares about keeping the integrity of the series, was well worth the cost of this book. Reasons for why certain elements of the book were changed for the movie are explained in a way that make me feel very confident that those in charge have the reader's/viewer's best interests at heart.

Just reading quotes from Gary Ross (the director) talking about Katniss, made me smile. I can tell that he truly *gets* Katniss; that he understands her enough to portray her story in a true and faithful adaptation. For me, that's what is important. I chose that quote at the top there, because I agree with it wholeheartedly; I can deal with different hair color, missing characters, and other changes...as long as the characters are the same ones I fell in love with, and as long as the movie makes me feel that same powerful way that the book did.

*Clears throat* Moving on....It was nice getting to see how things work behind the scenes. For someone who doesn't know a lot about what goes into making a movie, I appreciate the fact that each step of the process is explained; from Suzanne Collins' experience with getting the book published, to why the production company/director/cast was chosen, the thought that went into the costumes, the food, and the locations, and all the way to what it was like on set. I loved learning all these things I didn't know before. There is a wealth of information that did not allow me to put the book down. Each time I tried, I learned something new and interesting.

"The book--and now the film--captures themes and concerns that seem timely.
But its real strength, in the end, is that it's timeless. It speaks to us today, and it will speak--even more powerfully--tomorrow."
-Kate Egan, pg. 154

As far as pictures, the companion includes a large amount of brand new pics of the cast, the set, early digital renderings of scenes, and various pics behind-the-scenes, along with some pics that have been around for a while. Although some have recently been released in various places online, there are still many pics hat I have yet to see anywhere but in this companion.

The only drawback I can see, is that I felt like maybe this was a bit too much information for me...at least right now. I'm one who likes to be completely surprised in a movie, and so the less I know going in, the better. But now I know SO many things about the movie, that I'm hoping I won't be concentrating on recognizing the details this companion mentions, instead of just enjoying the movie.

Overall, I think this is a strong movie companion, and definitely something you will want to add to your collection. This book put my fears about the movie to rest, and secured my trust that no one else on Earth could have been involved, who would have been more true to the series. It pumped me up, and made me extremely excited for the movie (didn't think I could get more excited, did ya?). And it will do the same to you.

Read this if:
...you want the inside scoop on the making of The Hunger Games, or you would like your fears about the movie to be put to rest.

Content Warning
Clean Read

Here are a few interesting quotes from the book. I haven't written all of them down yet, so I missed some good ones. Now my book is loaned out so I can't get the two really awesome ones I wanted to include, but I really like these.
  • On casting Katniss: "We always factor in a certain degree of research and analysis when we make these major casting decisions. But what ultimately led us to cast Jennifer in the role of Katniss wasn't anything that could be calculated--it was the visceral reaction of myself and the other decision makers at Lionsgate to her audition. Jennifer's read gave me the chills, and it made me cry." -Gary Ross (director), pg. 24
  • On casting Effie: "We wanted an actress who could have the comedic chops," explains Jacobson, "but also the dramatic undertones. Somebody who could do a lot with a little, because there's a version of Effie that could be very over-the-top, very distracting. The person needs to be ridiculous in some way and yet have a reality to her. Elizabeth Banks, we felt, brought all of that to the table."" -Nina Jacobson (producer), pg. 29
  • On Suzanne Collins' upbringing: "The Collins family visited many battlefields, and Collins's father never shied away from telling his kids what had happened there. He told them what led to the battle, what happened in the battle, and what its consequences were for the real people who fought in it and the citizens whose futures depended on its outcome. Other parents tried to shelter their kids from the idea of war, but Collins's father challenged his kids to ask questions. What, if anything, made these bloody battles worth their cost?" -Kate Egan, pg. 9
  • On choosing Lionsgate: "I felt that Lionsgate really understood the material and that they would let us make a faithful adaptation; that they wouldn't soften it, they wouldn't age up the characters, to make them older so that it would be more palatable. I felt that the power of the book was in the youth of these protagonists and that you couldn't cheat on that in terms of their age in the story. Lionsgate was on board for, of course, the PG-13 version of the movie, not something full of blood and guts, but something more thematically driven." -Nina Jacobson (producer), pg. 14

Looking for the official Hunger Games Tribute Guide? See my review here.

Purchase the Official Illustrated Movie Companion:
Kate Egan:


  1. Thank You Thank You for this!! I have been nervous and scared about the movie as well. I am going to see it, and now I'm more excited about it.

    1. You're welcome! This book is seriously awesome, and I'm glad I could pass on some of the confidence in the movie that it gave me. :)

  2. I bought this and I LOVE it! Especially all the pictures of the Capitol fashion. CRAZINESS! :D

  3. I think I'll have to get this one! Gotta love The Hunger Games!

    Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

  4. YAY!!!!! what a great review!!! I can't wait to see the Hunger Games and this seems like the perfect book to read before the movie release!!! Can't wait :-) Fabulous review!

    New follower!

  5. I think I'll get this for after the movie but I'll make sure I get the paper form so I can have the pretty pictures.

  6. Some movies give a bad message that, "if you're not sleeping around with lots of people, there's something wrong with you". Its ruining lives.
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