This weekend my wife and I had a chance to see the movie ‘The Hunger Games’.
Typically, thanks to our 3 children, we do not get to see many movies. In fact the Hunger Games is not a movie we probably would have chosen to see, but we wanted to go to dinner and a movie with some friends and they were already planning on seeing the new film so we decided to join them.
Going into the movie I knew very little about it. I had seen the trailer and heard that it was an extremely popular book series. It did look fascinating and I was excited to see it.
After the Movie:
On the way home my wife and I were discussing the movie. I thought it was very well done, captivating and I could see why there was so much hype. The story was excellent, the main characters well developed and the scenery and imagery was incredible. The story, which follows 16 year old Katniss Everdeen, is enticing and pulls you in. The movie is extremely suspenseful and violent. It was very entertaining and leaves you with a lot to think about after. Two things I really love in a movie.
Just could not shake this one thought:
While my wife and I were discussing the movie there was this one thought we just could not get past. That was that it felt like the movie promoted, or perhaps desensitized child violence and killing. I use the word ‘child’ specifically instead of ‘teen’ because there are 12 year old children that get killed (by other children) in the movie.
For those that do not know The Hunger Games is about a post apocalyptic society separated into 12 districts. Each year these 12 districts are forced to send 2 children, 1 boy and 1 girl, ages 12 – 18 to participate in the Hunger Games. The children involved in the Hunger Games are chosen at random and are forced to kill each other on live TV for the entertainment of the rest of the society. 24 children start and kill each other until only 1 is left.
The thing the movie lacked was the voice of morality. There was not a defining moment in the movie where someone stood up or fought back. Throughout the movie I was waiting for that scene where someone takes a stand against the “system” (you know that scene in the Gladiator when he throws his sword and yells at the crowd, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!”… that type of scene). It just seemed like the movie was about a bunch of kids killing other kids, and the people of the world enjoying it as entertainment.
There were a few scenes in which people discussed that the Hunger Games were wrong, the rulers of the area talking about how they use the Hunger Games to oppress the districts to ultimately rule over them with fear and even riots from some of the people in the outlying districts. I can see how they are laying the ground work for this type of overthrow, but based on a stand alone movie it was hardly there.
To watch a bunch of kids killing other kids is extremely disturbing. At the beginning of the Hunger Games event all the kids are running to collect supplies and weapons. The scene is described in the movie as a “blood bath”, and that is exactly what it is. Kids just getting killed left and right. A group of 4 or 5 older teens form an alliance in order to kill everyone else then turn on each other in the end. This group mocks the other weaker children before they murder them and laugh about it. There is one scene where a young boy maybe 13 years old gets his neck snapped by an older boy who is probably 17 or 18. A 12 year old girl gets a spear through the stomach.
The director did a good job of not making the violence gory, but the psychological side of the violence being innocent children killing other innocent children is what is quite hard to stomach. The movie is rated PG-13, but it is a strong PG-13.
Is this Our Hunger Games:
In the movie the society watched these kids killing each other as entertainment. We sit back and say that is disgusting and disturbing, but how is that so far off from America watching this movie? Without the moral voice in this movie the entertainment value is essentially watching the kids kill kids. While we understand that we are only watching a movie, it draws an interesting parallel to what constitutes as entertainment even in real life.
Ultimately the movie disturbed me in the sense of kid vs kid violence. The lack of the morality advocate in the movie made the movie seem like it was centered around The Hunger Games event instead of being centered around bringing down the evil leaders who are oppressing the people and ruling with fear. The “bad guys” were never challenged nor were they really developed. The only people killed in the movie were innocent children. I fully understand this is a trilogy and the ground work has been laid for the overthrow to happen, but then again I do not know for sure because I have not read the books.
My issue is that this movie in and of itself seems to send a dangerous message to kids that the entertainment of kids killing kids is cool.
After the movie I ran into a young man I know who is about 16 or 17 and I asked him what he thought of the Hunger Games and his response was… “The scene when they were all running for the weapons and just slaughtering each other was awesome!”
What do you think?
What do you think of the movie? Have you read the books? If you have read the books maybe you can share in the comments (without giving too much away) what transpires later on concerning an uprising and overthrowing of the evil rulers.
I think I am going to have to read the last 2 books to gain a better understanding of the entire story.
That being said this first movie disturbed me and my wife. The killing of children was never avenged by overthrowing those responsible for such atrocities, nor did anyone even take a stand. It seemed like a movie in which kids killing other kids was passed off as entertainment. (Sounds like the Hunger Games in real life.)
You think I’m right? Wrong? Crazy? Stupid? Please leave a comment.