UPDATE: Jonathan has now posted a new post titled, After Seeing The Hunger Games… We encourage you to peek at that, since the post below was written before the film’s release (even though they are both in agreement with each other).
After posting our article about what parents can expect from the movie Hunger Games, we’ve been receiving some interesting emails and comments from our readers. The most common question:
“Why should we let our kids go see a movie about kids killing kids?”
That’s not an ignorant question.
How should parents react to a story like Hunger Games? Are our kids going to want to start killing each other if they watch this film like all the kids that are throwing parties after watching the rebellious film Project X? Are we lowering ourselves to be like the audiences who gathered to watch gladiators fight it out thousands of years ago? (All accusations I’m hearing.)
First, let me ask a question: Should we avoid any story where both good and evil are presented? Think about this kind of reasoning. In The Chronicles of Narnia we see a group of kids fight against an evil witch! (Wow, that’s like Hunger Games vs. Harry Potter!) Should we avoid that classic C.S. Lewis story?
What about stories with kids killing other kids? Should we shelter our kids from any stories that tackle this ugly premise? Should books like Lord of the Flies be banned? (Wouldn’t be the first time.) We’d have to censor Genesis, Chapter 4, if we go that route. What about violent stories of adults killing other adults? (Oh man, there goes the book of I Kings!)
What kind of content should parents be leery of?
Good question. I’m reading The Hunger Games right now and am planning on seeing the movie this weekend and blogging about it. So far, I find the book not only captivating, but also thought provoking. A tyrannical government known as “The Capitol” lords control over the 12 remaining districts in the known human race. The districts are forced to each provide a boy and a girl to fight to the death on national TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss selflessly takes her younger sister’s place, forced to fight for survival in these evil games.
As you investigate this film for yourself, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this story glorifying violence or inappropriate sexual situations?
- Is this story making “bad” look “good” or enticing?
- Does this story irresponsibly display imitatable attitudes and behaviors that our kids will absorb and eventually emulate?
- Does this story needlessly sell out to showing “eye candy” like nudity or gratuitous violence?
Let me be clear: I haven’t seen the movie yet. But from what I’ve read in the book so far, and what I’ve read from those who have seen the film, I don’t find any of those negative elements in this story.
I encourage you, as parents, to do the same. Read the book for yourself. Read several articles, not only ours, but this one from Entertainment Weekly about Common Sense’s review on the film. (Note: don’t just read the headline of this article, it’s misleading as to Common Sense’s actual stand.) Read IMDB.com’s parents guide for the film, which always lists any sex & nudity, violence & gore, etc.
Furthermore, watch the film with your kids, just like I suggested you do with a movie not quite as innocent as this one. Go out to ice cream afterwards and talk about the story.
Don’t just tell your kids “yes” or “no.” Help your kids think Christianly about this film and any other entertainment media they encounter.
What about you? What do you think of Hunger Games? Do you have any concerns about this story hitting the big screen this Thursday night at midnight?