HUNGER GAMES MOVIE REVIEW…
This past Friday I had the opportunity to see the highly touted movie, HUNGER GAMES, on opening night. As this is one of the big blockbuster movies coming out in 2012, we figured parents would want to have a heads up on what their kids are seeing.
HUNGER GAMES is based off a three part book series. The typical audience the series reaches starts as young as preteens and goes up through young adults. I personally have not read the books and only saw the movie, which is the first part of the trilogy. So far from what I have learned from the movie, some fancy Wikipedia searches, and talking to friends who have read the books, the story is about an annual battle to the death tournament (HUNGER GAMES) between 24 randomly selected kids between ages of 12-18. There are twelve districts in the societal structure of the book and each district has two representatives (1 male, 1 female) known as Tributes. The main character is Katniss Everdeen, who comes from the poorest district, district 12. The government (known as “the capitol”) forces the districts to participate in these games every year as a reminder of the rebellion the districts had against the capitol 75 years prior. However, the HUNGER GAMES become much more than form of punishment. It has become the capitol’s form of the Super Bowl with the upper class rooting and gambling on their favorite tribute as if it was the Bears playing the Packers!
The games do not actually start until about halfway through the movie. The most disturbing scene from the movie comes at the beginning of the games when the teenagers are forced to kill each other for supplies. The actual deaths are not terribly graphic, but it is the morally incomprehensible moment when teenagers are killing one another that is most upsetting. From that point forward, tributes continue to be killed until there is a winner. The most troubling deaths consist of a tribute having their neck snapped and another grotesque death by mutated yellow jacket stings. There are also some nasty looking battle wounds. With regards to language, the lords name is used in vain but there is very little profanity that I can remember looking back.
Ignoring the disturbing nature of the plot for a moment, this was a well done movie I thought. It was engaging and had me locked in for the entire time I was watching. I intend on seeing the next two movies to see where the plot goes from here. Part of me wished I had the opportunity to read the books first but unfortunately that is not the case. I hope to read them soon so I can have a more well-rounded understanding for what is going on. Also, a lot of students have read these books, so it is helpful to have some insight into what they are reading.
The most difficult part of the movie is not the actual killing, which students see in other movies all the time, but the disturbing nature of the plot. Talking to fans of the books, they felt like it was much more shocking seeing the tributes actually kill each other on a movie screen than it was reading the books. The realization of a government allowing a battle to the death between kids is a very weird thing to see on screen. Parents have a couple decisions to make with this movie. The first is, how well does your child handle fiction? Some movie watchers take movies like this very poorly because, even though it is fiction, the plot is difficult enough they still struggle with the brutality of it. The second is deciding what age your child can watch this. I think at the least, parents should wait until their child is in Jr. High to see this movie. It is PG-13 after all and I have already heard preteen parents who wished they had not taken her child due to the darkness of the plot. For teenagers, I think it depends on what you are comfortable with. The movie does not have anything that is way out of the norm from a regular PG-13 movie. Nonetheless, you will still have to decide if murder, alcohol, and a general dark plot line is something you are okay with your student seeing. Also remember, if your student sees the first film, they will likely want to see the rest of the trilogy and possibly read the books.
While this review was written by Josh Afram you can get more reviews at http://www.pluggedin.com.