Movie Review

The Hunger Games

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens.

Reviewed by: Jeremy Landes
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Thriller Drama Adaptation
Length:
2 hr. 22 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
March 23, 2012 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
DVD: August 18, 2012
Copyright, Lionsgate click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

Does The Hunger Games phenomena have “the possibility to catalyze, motivate, mobilize a generation of young people who were… by and large dormant in the political process“?

personal strength, values and honor

Katniss substitutes herself for her sister—SELF-SACRIFICE / importance of protecting the young and innocent / help those in need / be compassionate in your actions

Are you living a COMPASSIONATE life? (getting involved in helping those who are suffering)

“How do you feel about the fact that some people take their next meal for granted when so many other people are starving?”

If real people in our world, who are truly suffering, looked at your life, what would they see? Would your life seem frivolous? Self-indulgent? Excessive?

Katniss generally relies on flight and ingenuity to avoid unnecessary killing. Why?

Every human life is valuable. The taking of lives is tragic.

Refuse to give in to evil.

Refuse to compromise about what is truly right and good.

RIGHT AND WRONG—Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

bravery and courage

Evil governments, and our enemy the Devil, use FEAR to control people. How can we overcome that?

OVERCOMING FEAR—What does the Bible say? Answer

totalitarian governments

importance of personal freedom

dangers of big government control

What are the mechanics of totalitarian governments?

society in a repressive and controlled state, under the guise of being utopian

compare the film’s live televised spectacles to the ancient Roman Colosseum’s games and events, produced for public entertainment and political control

the trilogy’s coming constant battle for freedom against tyranny

media

media control and manipulation / What are the ways that media “play” the masses in the favor of those in control?

What is generally wrong with the way celebrity is created in our culture?

Are today’s youth being overexposed to contrived reality on television, leading to a detachment from images of others’ real pain and terror?

“What’s your relationship to reality TV versus your relationship to the news?”

Author Suzanne Collins says, “Too much of people’s lives are put on television, and we’re desensitised to actual tragedy unfolding before us.”

Are young people today becoming desensitized to the real world violence around them?

Featuring: Jennifer LawrenceKatniss Everdeen——“Winter's Bone,” “The Burning Plain
Josh HutchersonPeeta Mellark
Liam HemsworthGale Hawthorne
Elizabeth BanksEffie Trinket
Woody HarrelsonHaymitch Abernathy
Stanley TucciCaesar Flickerman
Donald SutherlandPresident Snow
Toby JonesClaudius Templesmith
more »
Director: Gary Ross
Producer: Color Force
Larger Than Life Productions
Lionsgate
more »
Distributor: Lionsgate

“The world will be watching”

Sequel to this movie: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013)

The Hunger Games phenomenon (first the novel, now a blockbuster movie) is, at its core, about how a government uses the media to control its population. In this fantasy future world, an annual lottery forces 24 teenagers (called “tributes,” from 12 districts) to participate in a reality television spectacle called the Hunger Games, where they will be forced to kill one another. The reason stated for these Games is to remind formerly rebellious districts that their government is still firmly in control.

This weekend, millions of Americans will be piling into theatres and mirroring the film’s fictional audience that cheers for their favorite tribute and bets on on who will kill all the other teens. Our own money is on Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence)—after all, she’s the movie star and the one on the poster, plus she’s the only character who the filmmakers portray as having anything passing for depth. It’s clear from the beginning, she’s in no real danger of losing her life. The main question is: what kinds of deaths are we going to get to see without jeopardizing the all-important PG-13 rating?

The decadent, gaudy audience members depicted in The Hunger Games are painted as heartless seekers of entertainment at others’ expense; we’re meant to judge them for their callous disregard for life. Except that going to the films counts us among an audience willing to pay for the privilege of watching teens kill each other as a form of sport. The main difference between the audience for “The Hunger Games” movie and “The Hunger Games” TV show (watched by ugly people with bad hair inside the film) is that we are being cued to feel badly about a few of the deaths (but not the “mean” kids) even though we know that Katniss only prevails if everyone else dies.

So how do the filmmakers help us empathize with a main character who is forced to violently kill others? They make sure that all the killing she does happens in self-defense or as a way to try and help someone who is “innocent.” They give her a sister who she saves from participating in the Games, plus another cute little girl to try and protect. They also introduce killer insects and dogs that can do the dirty work for her, so that paying audiences won’t feel any qualms about rooting for her to survive through killing.

So, if you’re reading a review of this movie on a Christian Web site right now, chances are that you call yourself a Christian and may be wondering if you should go see “The Hunger Games” or take your kids. Maybe you want to know how violent it is, whether there’s swearing, nudity, etc. Honestly, I can’t remember any swearing. Nor is there any sex or nudity. The violence is frequent and awful, but the filmmakers use a handheld camera and edit away violence that might seem too upsetting. In this style, when a little kid receives an arrow in her abdomen, she doesn’t scream or plead for help while she’s suffering. It’s a relatively clean death with a little bit of red makeup on her shirt that’s supposed to be blood. She dies quickly and peacefully while the music swells, plus she’s cute, cuing us that we’re meant to feel bad about this character’s death—even though she earlier helped end the life of another character via attacking insects.

When a mean character is getting eaten alive by monstrous dogs, there’s no screaming from him either—he’s one of the “bad” kids who delights in killing others by snapping their necks. Some might call these uses of violence appropriate, but I call them profane. In this film, it is a means to an end—setting up the character of Katniss for two more blockbuster sequels without giving us any pause to question her choices or character. Since this is a kill-or-be-killed arena, we are supposed to accept that she has no other choice.

Hundreds of years ago, crowds would gather to watch Christians getting torn apart by wild animals or burned alive. Today, the American culture deemed “Christian” by much of the world, is gathering to watch fictional characters end each other’s lives in creative ways. The fact that there’s another audience depicted in the film for us to criticize about their enjoyment of the reality television murders may seem to give us some moral distance and license to stay in our seats and keep watching the killings, too. But while watching it I could not help realizing that I was condoning the behavior demonstrated onscreen by showing up and paying to watch it, and I felt convicted.

One character interestingly theorizes, “If nobody watches the Games, then there’s no reason to have them.” Similarly, if you choose not to sit and watch teenagers participate in the bloodsport called The Hunger Games, you may send a message that there’s no need to make two more sequels. At the very least, you’ll be able to keep some disturbing images out of your head and be able to better meditate on what is true, noble, and pure.

Perhaps the most disturbing moments showed the two heroes moving toward suicide to achieve a goal and, later, another “evil” character being pressured to kill himself—being locked in a room with poison. If you’re reading this, you may still be able to exercise the choice not to enter a room/theatre where there’s only poison to digest.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate to mild—OMG (3), damn (3), hell (2) / Sex/Nudity: None

Editor’s note: The above reviewer read The Hunger Games before viewing the movie. The Hunger Games is the first part of a trilogy series of young adult books by Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay. The first book, on which this film is based, aims to establish the characters and depict the depravity of a totalatarian government that sacrifices its own children. The following books reveal rebellion, civil war, romantic intrigue, and the end of the Hunger Games.

BE SURE to see our list of relevant issues (above).


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I agree with the main reviewer that the movie would not be as popular if many viewers just didn’t want to view the child-on-child volence. I, also, think many Bible readers may read the Bible for the same thrill, i.e., Samson, David and Goliath and many other Old Testament stories of murder and mayhem. I definately agree with other reviewers that see the same message of oppression in today’s society that Jews in the Old Testament and Christians in the New Testament went through. Remember, Christians were a blood sport for the Romans.

While I wish “The Hunger Games” had a Christian message of hope, I am glad to see that its message that the government is not the answer to all our problems, and it is definately not our benefactor. I pray out of this message comes a general societal discussion that our hope lies elsewhere and that many will seek the source of true hope in Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—John Rubio, age 60 (USA)
Positive—My family and I read through Suzanne Collins” trilogy last summer, with enthusiasm and excitement—and at the recommendation of a wonderful Christian counselor (as we worked through trauma issues with our adopted children). We went to see the movie at its premier here in Central America (where we serve as missionaries). My husband and I have very high standards for movies (to which our teenagers” loud complaints will attest), however, I am completely shocked at all the negative reviews I’ve read about this movie. Granted, I believe it would be difficult to understand the full setting of the Panem story without having read the book(s), but I would hope that most viewers over 15, at least can see that the film is criticizing tyranny, materialism and violence.

Many of the participants of the Games are courageous, and each one, in the end, demonstrates that he or she is a victim of a cruel and heinous tradition. I felt Cato’s speech at his death was poignant and riveting—it was almost more tragic in the movie than in the book. It was the compassion of another tribute (Katniss) that ended his suffering quickly with her arrow. And it is made eminently clear that none of these kids deserves to die or even to have to participate in something so inhumane as the Hunger Games. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Amy, age 45 (Nicaragua)
Positive—I went to see this movie with my 12 year old son last night. We both read the book and enjoyed seeing the story come to life on the screen. It’s not a feel good, happy story, so those who have not read the book may not enjoy it or fully understand what it’s all about. In the book, Katniss is the one who tells the story from her point of view, and she tells you everything she thinks and feels. I enjoyed the movie more, because I knew what she was thinking and why, and I knew that it was a story with political, war and moral themes and not just about kids killing other kids. This movie is definitely not for young children, but if your child is close to 13, and you feel he or she is mature enough to handle it and understand it, I recommend seeing it. But I also recommend reading the book first and discussing it. I was also pleasantly surprised that the violence was relatively mild. In the book, it’s much more graphic.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Maria, age 43 (USA)
Positive—After reading the book on vacation last summer, and then watching as my wife and teenage son and daughter read the book as well, we were so excited to see this movie that we went to the midnight premier Friday morning. Normally when I go into a movie with high hopes, I end up disappointed. Not this time! This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It stays pretty true to the book. Anyone who is a fan of the books will not be disappointed.

The story is set in a future America where citizens are divided into 12 districts and are subject to the Capitol. Every year the Capitol selects 2 young people, a boy and a girl from each district to fight in the Hunger Games, a nationally televised fight to the death. That said, you know this movie has some violence as the children are required to kill each other in any way possible. Some examples include one kid breaking the neck of another, one getting stabbed by a spear and another by an arrow. However, the violence is very quickly shown and the camera doesn’t linger long on anything gross. There are some scenes where the contestants are tending their own wounds, open cuts on the leg and so forth. The movie isn’t about the violence though, it’s about the characters and everyone is well cast, especially Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Travis, age 38 (USA)
Positive—My teenage (16) son wanted to see this and it was much better than I expected. Based on the premise of teens being forced by an oppressive government to participate in a brutal survival game, I thought it would be pointless violence without much storyline. Instead, it emphasized refusing to give in to evil, helping those in need, showing compassion, protecting the young and innocent, self-sacrifice, and refusing to compromise one’s values.

Several characters seemed to have John 15:13, 1 Corinthians 1:27, Jeremiah 22:3, and Zechariah 7:10 in mind. The catchphrase “May the odds be ever in your favor” served as a subtle, hollow counterfeit to wishing someone “May God be with you.” more »
Not recommended for young children, but it could prompt interesting conversations with teenagers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—Having never read the books, I wasn’t sure what I to expect when I decided to go see “The Hunger Games.” To be honest, when I first heard about the movie I said, “No way.” But when I heard my friends were going to see it I decided to go see it myself. I must admit, I was really impressed with this film. The reviewer is right in saying the violence is heavy and is the reason it is rated PG-13, so please heed the MPAA rating.

The acting was very good, the story was excellent, and music was pretty much non-existent. Like I said, I really liked this film. However, this is not, I repeat, NOT a movie for children because of the violence. All I can say is that I can’t wait for the second movie…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alexander Malsan, age 21 (USA)
Positive—After reading the main review and another negative review here, I get the impression from some people that they think this movie is about the violence. The fact is, this movie is set in the future. The children who are chosen to fight in the games are not going by choice, they are going because they are being forced to by their government. The children are forcefully taken from their families to fight in these games, knowing that they all will not return. Some of the children have trained their whole lives for the Games, because by winning they receive extra food for their Districts.

The images of people gathered for the Reaping, the ceremony where the kids are chosen for the games, reminds me of scenes from World War II of the Jews in internment camps. The Games are used as entertainment for the people of the Capitol, but the people in the outlying Districts are forced to watch and participate, as a way of keeping the Districts submissive to the government.

The point of the movie is even in these bleak conditions, there are people of character who try to do the right thing despite the odds.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—William, age 39 (USA)
Positive—First off, I have to say that the featured review was perhaps a little overly cynical about the movie’s concept. This is a dystopian film, not a family, feel good movie. Does that make it morally objectionable? I don’t think so. Consider the Bible’s dystopian portions, especially the book of Judges, wherein a father sacrifices his daughter due to a rash vow he made, and another character hacks up the body of his murdered concubine and sends the resulting pieces to the twelve tribes of Israel—the kind of stories you want to skip for family devotions.

Katniss becomes a participant in the Hunger Game through substitutionary self-sacrifice, volunteering to take the place of her little sister, who clearly would not last in the game. Sounds fairly compatible with a Christian worldview to me. As for the killing, it seems to me that Katniss is drawn as a character who, lacking the blood-lust of some of the other characters, tries to avoid confrontation—she would rather outlast everyone else than kill them (a value that we Christians can appreciate). more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jon Whitmer, age 42 (USA)
Positive—…so many movies filled with violence, purely as entertainment, have been given much less harsh reviews. This movie was one of the cleaner big budget action dramas that Hollywood has put out in years. The hero and heroine were both noble characters who portrayed a willingness to give their lives for others. They did not spend their time and energy trying to figure out ways to kill the other participants. Their efforts were focused on protection and survival. Plus, unlike, that other teen themed series, there was no romanticizing of the Undead!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jeff, age 46 (USA)
Positive—I’ve come to trust this site for many years now, and rarely if ever have I seen one of its reviews so broadly miss the mark on understanding the theme of a film and what it is trying to communicate to its audience. “The Hunger Games” is a clarion call for morally aware people of our time. Like many cinematic and literary works of fiction before it, we see our culture reflected, not in a way that celebrates it, but in a way that shames us—a way that clearly defines what we are in danger of becoming, as a warning to those of conscience who would hear it.

The review draws a parallel between viewers of the Hunger Games within the fictional world of the movie, and us, the real-life audience going to see the film. This comparison falls apart for two reasons. First, and most obviously, the film is fictional. We are not watching real children fight for their lives; we are watching actors give life to a writer’s fantastical vision. It’s safe to say that almost no one in “The Hunger Games” audience would condone a real-life death match between adolescents. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ben, age 31 (USA)
Positive—What is it exactly that we have here? A masterpiece of a movie that’s what. What we have here is an eye-opener of a film. …“The Hunger Games” is a film which looks down upon the games it’s based on. The film allows you to connect with the main character and the secondary characters, so that when people die, you care, and you see the brutality of these games that the government of Panem is forcing these children to go through. You see just how wrong it is, and the film wants exactly that. …this film doesn’t glorify the killings, and it doesn’t make teenagers want to bet on their favorite tribute. On the contrary, it shows you an honest male and female, and makes you want to root for them, especially when Katniss is protecting another of the tributes, Rue, age 12. The sadness is that, at the same time, you know one of them is going to have to die. You don’t want it to happen, but it has to, and when one of them does die, the film nearly screams at you, “Look, this is sad what’s going on. These games are cruel.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ricky, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Wow! All these reviews are amazing. I’m happy to see an overwhelming positive response. I understand that people are appalled at the idea of children killing children. I am, too, but I think we sometimes fail to see the bigger picture. What is “The Hunger Games” about? It’s about tyranny and the oppression of the weak. The children in this futuristic government are forced to take on unwanted roles. They don’t have a choice, and their parents are too frightened to do anything. They don’t think they can fight back, fight the establishment.

The Bible is clear, when a country turns away from God, Satan reigns supreme and people are persecuted. I read the books (all three) before attending the film and knew what to expect. Yes, the subject matter is dark and disturbing, but let’s not forget… the story doesn’t end with the first movie. There is more! As Christian individuals and parents, it’s important to review our entertainment choices before we participate, rather than making negative remarks, because we weren’t prepared. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Dawn, age 40 (USA)
Positive—Yes, this movie is about teenagers being forced by the government to participate in the murdering of one another for the public’s entertainment. It is a very grim subject, absolutely not for younger children. That being said: In my opinion, the point is made very clear by the author of the books and makers of the movie, that this story is a warning against the violent direction our society is heading. We, as a collective nation, watch so much violence, as it is portrayed by actors, that it begs the question: How long will acting be enough? How long until we stoop to the lows of the Romans watching the gladiators, or the Capitol-ites watching the Tributes?

I think this story is meant as a wake-up call, not a sick form of entertainment. Now I know that people are entitled to their opinion, and I cherish that freedom, but I have to admit that the comments from non-viewers got my dander up a bit. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, you don’t know what the authors or directors or anyone else was trying to say. You just hear about it, or see a trailer maybe, and you make a decision to hate it. That’s fine, I have done so with many a movie. However, I find it hurtful to make broad statements condemning any Christian for spending their money on it. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I took my brothers to see this movie, after hearing how great the books were. I LOVED it! It is my new favorite movie. Normally, I don’t like movies with killings in it, but this one was such an eye opener to the “laying down your life for a another. “I can’t wait to read the books now!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Leslie, age 20 (USA)
Positive—If you are trying to decide whether you want to see this movie, you have to understand the premise and historic backdrop (even though it is futuristic). The movie is not about teens having at each other in the most brutal way, as some see it. The movie is about 24 people forced to the arena—of which most fear, despise and just want to go home. If they don’t fight or somehow defy the government in charge, they will be forced into a fight or loved ones will be killed. Is this so unlike the early days of the church? Or many of the stories in the Bible?

The story shows how brutal and far from God the culture becomes when it focuses on itself and loses its moral compass. While the concept is gut-churning, are we so far off from seeing something like this in reality? A key concept to many of the positive reviews is a young man and a young woman who finally stand up and say enough! more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jon Stonis, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I am writing this review from a Biblical, Christian worldview and, also, a tight hold to the reformed doctrine (FYI). I saw this movie with my husband and two sons ages 16 and 13 today. The 13 year old has read the books. I debated on seeing the movie, based on the reviews. I’m actually glad I went. I disagree with the “very offensive” rating. Here’s why. First of all, we are not going to actually witness kids killing kids in real life. We are watching a movie about kids thrust into a survival situation because of the debased society in which they live. I think some reviewers are well meaning, but missing what could be valuable lessons and teachable moments.

Secondly, it is obvious that some of the teenagers are down right evil. They have no qualms about killing. But others choose to spare lives! This should be noted, because the last one standing wins and, obviously, remains alive. To spare a life is actually quite risky. Finally, as Christians, if we choose to read a secular book or watch a secular movie, we should not be surprised at the absence of God. Rather, hunt and find the redemptive value. I found that viewing “The Hunger Games” was an indictment on our culture and the human race. Apart from Christ, we really are capable of the most heinous crimes and debauched living. Yet even non- Christians are capable of sacrifice and kindness due to God’s common grace. You will see this in the movie. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Nicole, age 37 (USA)
Positive—Okay, I’m calmer than I was when I wrote that last comment. For those wondering how this movie was compared to the books: There is always more story to be found in a book than in a movie, but I think this was as close as someone could get. Really my only complaint would be the shaky-cam technique, which made it hard to figure out what was going on sometimes. Though that could be a good thing when it came to the violence.

The casting was all excellent; Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were as good as I thought they’d be, and although I had my doubts when I first heard that Woody Harrelson had been cast as Haymitch, I very much enjoyed his portrayal of the character.

What I found to be a big surprise was that Hollywood actually toned down the more disturbing parts of the story. For example, the tracker-jacker hallucinations weren’t near as gross, and the mutant dogs at the end were just giant dogs and nothing more. Overall, I thought it was great!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—There wasn’t much offensive about “The Hunger Games,” unless it was the teens killing one another (also a couple swear words), other than that, it was good. Except Katniss thinks the mockingjay pin will protect her family. God will take care of us, not a mockingjay pin. But that’s the movie, I guess. It was intriguing, captivating and worth the money I spent viewing it. But I couldn’t really believe that it was “very offensive,” and it was much cleaner than “Twilight.” But“Twilight” got a “offensive” review. Wrong!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jenna, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I have come to rely upon this site fairly heavily before going to see and support films, but in this case I think the reviewer was way off the mark. …A friend of mine went to see it who had never read the books and was completely confused about a couple of the characters and story twists. Seeing this film is not about the violence. And it is not a film that was ever intended for small children. The audience is intended to be older teenagers and adults. Younger children should not be taken to it. The books and film are designed to cause us to realize just how de-sensitized our culture is to violence, and how we could be gradually spiraling into the same de-sensitized mass-media catastrophe.

A couple of points I’ll address quickly about a couple of statements the reviewer made: Two of the tributes were never actually considering suicide. If you have read the book you know that they were only pretending to be about to commit suicide, so that the government would let them both live; because if there was no survivor, they (the government) would lose their control over the people watching. The people watching were not watching because they gloried in the violence (unless they were from the Capitol), but because the government forced them to. Not watching was punished. The tributes in general did not fight because they wanted to go kill one another, but again because the government forced them to. If no one went, there would be retribution against their entire community and families. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—S. Fink, age 20 (USA)
Positive—I just returned from “The Hunger Games” and wasn’t sure what it was going to be like. It was so well reviewed at Christian Spotlight on Entertainment, and now I can say it was FANTASTIC. I agree with the reviews that the violence was minimal, NOT exploitive, especially considering the story line. The female lead, Jennifer Lawrence was incredible and the message of good against evil came through loud and clear. Fast movie and full of courage and love for others and all that WITHOUT foul language, no sex scenes or nudity, but an amazing story that really kept you glued to the screen… I heard so much controversy about this, I am so glad I saw it for myself. Before you attack this film, go see it first! I really hope they keep Jennifer Lawrence in the other 2 movies, when they make them, as it is a Trilogy. “No greater love has a man than to lay down their life for another;” This was portrayed over and over again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Dottie Brawley, age 68 (USA)
Positive—I read the book several times and was a definite fan before the movie came about, so I am very pleased to say that I thought “The Hunger Games” was excellent and a relatively faithful adaptation (I feel that most of the film differences didn’t change the point of the story or the nature of the characters). I very much enjoyed it, it was very moving; I both laughed and cried and if I had been alone in the theater, I might have even stood up and cheered.

The actors fit well into their roles, and I now think of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale as Jennifer, Josh, and Liam, in my mind’s eye. The violence was toned down quite a bit, compared to the novel; I didn’t think that it was gratuitous, just enough included to make the point. We are constantly surrounded by “make-believe” violence and I think that it is good that a book and movie have come along that, while violent, contain a good message, encouraging people to not sit back and enjoy other people’s real pain and tragedy for their own enjoyment. The book and movie encourage thought, humanity, and love, not just mindless absorption, selfishness, and cruelty. I was very happy with the movie, and am eagerly looking forward to “Catching Fire!”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sarah C., age 21 (USA)
Positive—…I really don’t understand why people have a problem with the violence in this movie. So what if the characters who kill each other are younger. Does that make it any better when we watch older adults kill each other? Yes, they fight and kill each other, GET OVER IT! Most people are missing the point of the movie. The kids here don’t want to fight, they are pressured to by a dictator government. The books and the movie aren’t trying to poison the minds of any kids. They are trying to tell a heart-felt story of survival. Also, the kills are done off camera and are relatively tame. I watched this with some friends from church, and they loved it. We generally felt sympathy for the characters and cheered them on as they tried to survive. There isn’t anything wrong with this movie, and I don’t understand the arguments people are making against it. There are so much worse movies kids could be watching right now. Go complain about them, but leave Hunger Games alone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Joshua, age 23 (USA)
Positive—First off, the primary reason I’m writing this post is because I feel that the review for this film is incredibly skewed. I agree with the critic that much of the content found in the film is inappropriate, especially the graphic violence, however, his views of the moral content of the movie should NOT affect how he writes a review or how he rates the quality of that film. Being a moviegoer who often reads reviews before seeing a movie, I would appreciate a review that simply portrayed a film for what it was. Personally, I felt that “The Hunger Games” was a well-made film. Yes, it offered very little spiritually, but it was not a BAD movie, by any means. It had more than enough action to keep the guys occupied, and yet included plenty of tender moments for the girls in the audience. I went to see the movie with several friends, and all of us enjoyed it. One had even read the book, and she loved the movie! My apologies for the rant earlier, but I felt that an impartial review needed to be given. I hope you found this post helpful.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Seth Chavez, age 21 (USA)
Positive—BATTLE ROYALE—children forced to kill each other until one survivor is the victor, that was the Japanese original precursor to Suzzane Collin’s immensely popular teenage trilogy of books with the same plot device. However, Collin’s THE HUNGER GAMES delves beyond the violence and delivered a thematic of self-sacrifice, hope, and ultimately triumph in a bleak world. THE HUNGER GAMES film did not disappoint the messages of the book, especially the use of violence as a form of anti-violence message, as well, especially seeing a young child died.

If the HUNGER GAMES franchise continues with Collin’s original intents in the books, the film will be a floodgate for other films with similar theme and maybe finally, a remake of the Japanese’s original, as well. I have seen BATTLE ROYALE, and trust me, it has its message about youth and violence, and a government that went amok, as well. By the way, we can not shield the eyes of the children, only with the hope that by our influences that they will see the offensive act or image and respond accordingly.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mang Yang, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I am pretty surprised at the negative reviews. First of all, self defense is a concept that is embedded in Christian (and Jewish) belief. Turn the other cheek does not mean one must submit to violence, let alone deadly violence directed towards one’s self or family members. Police officers, soldiers, or ordinary people faced with violence directed towards their person are entirely justified in defending themselves. There is nothing unChristian whatsoever about that, so I don’t understand why, when these children are in positions where it’s “them or me” it’s a bad message. The visual depiction of the violence is not graphic. It’s a PG-13 movie, and they also had to try to be at least somewhat true to the book, which was FAR more violent than the movie.

I suggest people open and read their Bibles, specifically the Old Testament. There are numerous instances of violence. Being a Christian does not mean being a pacifist or believing that it’s better to die than to defend one’s self. I would argue it’s fundamentally unChristian NOT to defend oneself, because one is effectively sacrificing one’s life and letting the evil person take your life. They have no such right. Life IS sacred. That is why suicide is wrong. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Detroche, age 45 (USA)
Positive—I recently viewed this movie with my two teenage daughters and their friend. My daughters have read The Hunger Games books and have been anxiously awaiting the release of this movie. I can understand those who have reservations about the violence in this movie, however, if you watch the movie and think about the message the movie is conveying, it does have a hopeful message.

While this is a secular movie, there are some strong Christian qualities the main characters exhibit throughout this movie. Katniss volunteers as tribute when her younger sister is chosen as a tribute player, knowing she will likely not return. She exhibits this love and compassion for others throughout the movie, only killing to defend herself. Katniss and Peeta both show sacrificial love for others throughout the movie, Peeta urging Katniss not to let the “games” change them, even helping others during the game. Peeta tells Katniss to take his life at the end, so she can be declared the winner and return home to care for her sister. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Leslie, age 49 (USA)
Positive—As a Christian, I thought this was one of the most thought-provoking films I’ve seen. I was not planning on going to the movie, but several friends were going, so I went along with. Glad I did. I read several interviews of the author of the book, and she always said that she wrote these books to give us a wake-up call about our decaying culture. That was clearly seen in the movie. Maybe this is just me, but the amount of cross-dressers and gay/lesbian people in the capitol seemed to be an indication and warning of what a decaying and future culture will look like.

The violence never seemed glorified, but evoked an emotional response of disgust and pain. If we did not feel like that, the author would have failed at her goal to wake us up to the fact that we have become desensitized to violence. It was definitely a wake-up call to me to be more careful about how I view violence. It was, also, apparent that, as repelling as some of the characters were, we still feel sorry for them, because the film portrays them as humans, too. It made me feel guilty about times when I have thought I have been justified for not loving someone who I don’t think deserves it. The sacrifice and compassion shown was very biblical. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jeff Dufrene, age 18 (USA)
Positive—…This isn’t some typical teen movie, where the killing is pointless like the movie “Saw” or something. The move was meant to make you think. It’s not far fetched, either, from the truth. Just think of the games of the Roman Coliseum. They to forced people to kill to entertain others. This movie was meant to show people a truth that most don’t want to admit. Things like this have happened before, and there is no reason they cannot happen again. It makes you leave praying something like this does not happen again. It’s more a story about fighting what’s wrong with a system. The main character never once rejoices in killing someone. Any time the person had to kill, it was because you literally had no choice. If you didn’t, then other actions were taken against you. I can’t say this is a movie for kids, just because they may not see the deeper message in it. And, overall, it’s not the best movie I have seen. I especially did not like the shaky cam. Most of the time you get lost as to what’s going on, because its so shaky you can’t see anything.…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Matt, age 30 (USA)
Positive—My wife and I chose to preview this movie, because our 12-year-old daughter wanted to see it (She had already read the books and told us the basic story line.) We were concerned that the movie version would be overly graphic and convey a message of senseless violence meant to desensitize a young audience. My opinion of the movie: It is marketed to kids, but the message is appropriate for a mature (not necessarily adult) audience. It was extremely fast and suspenseful. The violence was bad, but mostly mitigated by camera angles and a tight, shaky camera focus. The most objectionable aspect of the movie, in my opinion, is the way that elite class of citizens from the capitol were depicted. To me, they looked like a bunch of indulgent perverts who have been enjoying their elevated status as co-tyrants, at the top of the socialism food-chain.

This is not a horror film, by a long shot, but the theme and elements are scary. I would consider it a political commentary, similar to the books Animal Farm or 1984, because it tries to point the viewer to a future dystopian reality, where government tyrants use technology and force to pick winners and losers in society. If you have been paying any attention at all to societal trends, this movie should scare you about the current state of world affairs. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Matthew Koop, age 38 (USA)
Positive—Many people have rated this movie negatively, saying that it glorifies kids killing kids and should therefore be avoided. That is a significant misunderstanding of the entire point of The Hunger Games. Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it entertaining? Yes. Why? The movie and books take place in a society where the government controls the people through these annual, violent games. The people of the capitol find this extremely entertaining—much like our current culture’s obsession with reality television and extreme violence.

But, from the point of the view of the heroine, Katniss, and other characters, we see that this is not a good thing. It serves as a warning to our postmodern society: we are entertained by violence. We’ve been there before (i.e. Gladiators), and we have the capability to go there again if we’re not careful. It’s a criticism and a warning to us, and one we should heed. This is the point of the books and the movie, although the books do a better job portraying that. This concept is something worth discussing with young people who see the film. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Willow, age 22 (USA)
Positive—This movie was incredible! Not only did it follow the book better then any other book based movie, I have seen, it was also extremely well acted and well filmed, for the low budget it was on. Many other Christians say it is not worth seeing, because it is mainly child violence, but this is exactly what I think is astounding about this film. It was much less graphic then I had expected, it was able to get its point across without making me close my eyes in disgust. However, I do not recommend anyone younger then thirteen go to see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Abigail Young, age 22 (USA)
Positive—I find it frustrating that so many people are commenting on this movie and not getting the point. I agree, to start off, that it is full of implied, and not so implied, violence and is, therefore, unsuitable for children. However, this is not a movie glorifying the killings of children. The Games are horrible, and the people in the movie enjoying watching the Games are meant to be seen as evil, or at least extremely callous. Think of a plot where a Christian gladiator is trying to stay alive long enough to overthrow the horrors of the Roman Empire and put an end to gladiator games for good. Suddenly, not sounding so bad, does it? Obviously Katniss is doing it all in her own strength, but this is not a Christian movie, so what would you expect? And how could this movie not be thought-provoking, when it so cleverly mirrors our own society? Are we callously enjoying watching (or ignoring) the reality of people suffering (like people in the Capitol), or are we trying to stand up against oppression (like Katniss or even more so, Peta)?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Stian, age 36 (Australia)
Positive—This movie is violent. I did not take my eight year old to see it and would not recommend it for young children. Neither would I recommend it, if you are tempted to delight in the suffering and death of others. With that said, the story’s theme of standing up in the face of tyranny and oppression is one that is woven throughout history. “The Hunger Games” is a warning for America—and one that we should heed! Many believe that the author is alluding to the 1992 United Nations resolution, Agenda 21, in which the ultimate goal is to strictly regulate all resources and land use, including population control. Under this resolution, the world has already been divided into 10 sections, with 10 subsections in each.

For the U.S., the goal is that eventually 25% of the land would be for human use. This is being implemented already in our communities—my husband works in land development, and he can attest to this! I don’t know if the author meant to draw any economic parallels, as well, but I certainly saw them. In the last century, our currency has strayed far from the biblical concept of honest weights and measures. The Federal Reserve has been participating in what would be considered counterfeiting for you and me for decades (something that the ancient Roman government did, as well). Historically, this always results in a destruction of the currency and financial ruin. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lara, age 39 (USA)
Positive—…to anyone who wants to see this movie, or already saw it, and left a negative comment, read the books, first. A lot of you have left negative comments, probably because you have not read the books, if you did, you would see that the true meaning of this story is GOOD defeating EVIL, you can to fully interpret the meaning of this movie without reading them, so READ the books before you judge the movie, you will see its not about kids killing kids it has a message so deep and meaningful, this is only the 1st part!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Hey, age 21 (USA)
Positive—…The story is set in a dystopian world, that alone should be enough to realize that this is not a happy story. The story is a commentary of where our society could possibly go and what it is now. We watch celebrities with their ridiculous, but sad lifestyles and mock them. We hope they fall and fall hard. We watch people denigrate themselves on reality television for cash. We, western society, are the Capitol. We rely on the rest of the world to make our goods, while they cannot afford them. We root for those who have strong willpower to get what they want at whatever cost. All of this and more is addressed in the Hunger Games as our main character does what she can to save her family from starvation. She chose to take her little sister’s place when she is chosen for the Hunger Games, not because she is capable of killing, but because she is capable of surviving.

The male character hates what he must do to survive, but he is driven by his love for Katniss to make sure she stays alive. The film is dark and dystopian, but it is also full of hope, strength and love. If you don’t want to watch the film, due to violence, that I understand. But don’t judge the book and film based on the simple and completely wrong premise of “kids killing kids”. That way oversimplifies a complicated story, and it is a mark of ignorance to accept oversimplification, rather than finding out for yourself.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—April, age 25 (USA)
Positive—The movie was clean, with no nudity, sexuality, or even innuendo that I remember. Rare for a blockbuster like “The Hunger Games.” I think Peeta Mellark is one of the most Christ-like characters one might hope to find in a secular film. Not only is he completely accepting, from the beginning, of his imminent death, but he also tells Katniss that he knows he will die, but that he wants to die as himself—a person who would never murder anyone. Peeta’s ONLY “kill” in the story is completely by accident, when he picks berries (not knowing they are poisonous) to share with Katniss, and they are stolen by a tribute who eats them and dies.

The movie doesn’t really show the effect this incident has on Peeta, but the book portrays his devastation and horror that he has inadvertently ended someone’s life. Peeta also risks a beating from his mother to feed Katniss, back in District 12, and survives the Hunger Games through wits and a great talent for camouflage. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Renee, age 28 (USA)
Positive—There are a lot of mixed feelings about “The Hunger Games,” and I understand a lot of people who won’t see it. However, I thought this was a great series. One reviewer said that this movie doesn’t glorify violence, it criticizes it. I strongly agree. I thought The Hunger Games movie clearly showed that violence was wrong. The movie also showed us that the government system, that was making those kids play that game, was wicked, evil, and cruel, and needed to be stopped. It was clearly good vs. Evil.

The movie was recommended to me by my sister, and I went to go see it, knowing very little about the plot. The movie really surprised me; I wasn’t expecting it to be that great. The movie was very action-packed and had my heart racing. I loved the clear messages of sacrifice and being devoted to family. One of my favorite scenes is when Katniss stood up to volunteer for her sister’s place. When I viewed this, the scene reminded me of how Jesus “volunteered” to take the punishment in our place. Though this isn’t a Christian movie, you could use that for a springboard of discussion with your family and friends after you view the movie. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 21 (USA)
Positive—I feel like this movie is somewhat of a warning, as are the books, to shock us out of our complacency as a society. The violence is very disturbing, but it is intended to be. Unlike the gratuitous violence that is seen in the typical action film, for the purpose of entertainment, the directors did a good job of showing the humanity of the characters in peril. You felt their emotions with them. I viewed “The Hunger Games” as somewhat of a warning, like the book 1984, and designed to shock, like the classic prose, A Modest Proposal.

In a world where we are accepting such astronomical costs for health care, housing, and now even a gallon of gas; we are accepting more and more invasions to our privacy; and we are swallowing everything the media culture tells us whole; what WILL we be accepting in the near future? That, to me, is the question of this movie. And as shocking as the premise of “The Hunger Games” is, it is unfortunately not new (remember ancient Rome) and therefore not impossible. I’m just glad that we as a culture are still shocked by the idea of people killing each other for entertainment. Play acting is not the same thing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Amy, age 46 (USA)
Positive—This is a disturbing movie, no doubt. If you are a viewer that cannot watch evil in a movie, you should not watch this one. However, I found it fascinating and thought-provoking, albeit confusing at times. It is a story along the lines of “Braveheart,” with an oppressed people forced into a sadistic Super Bowl-like spectacle as a reminder of their subjugation. The oppressors have no regard for the lives of their defeated countrymen—they are useful only in terms of their output and entertainment value. The setting and situation of the games is hard enough to take (as portrayals of evil are bound to be). Mercifully, the violence was not filmed head-on. I suspect that wise decision could have doubled the size of the audience—it would have been too much for me, otherwise.

But in the midst of the oppression and violence were glimmers of courage and hope—the real focus of the movie—which I found inspiring, all the more so set against the darkness. It’s also worth asking myself if I have things in common with the characters of the film—the hopeful? the courageous? the ones in denial? the drunk on entertainment? A sobering, uplifting, puzzling movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ed, age 54 (USA)
Positive—When Katniss stepped forward to save her little sister, I can’t help being reminded of Christ stepping in for us. Her only thoughts afterward were how her mother and sister were going to survive without her. Such valor and selflessness is rarely seen in real life, nice to see in reel life. It is already a given that this is not a Christian-inspired movie. Get over the fact that Katniss does not say a prayer before facing her perils. Yes, there are bad characters and violence, just as there are in the Bible. There are also scenes of teenagers helping and nursing each other, when they could have just been hiding and worrying about their own skins.

The ultimate goal of the movie is the prevailing of good over evil. This is seldom accomplished by means that are pleasant to look at.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Holly, age 54 (USA)
Positive—This movie was well made, as I read all the books they portrayed the first of the trilogy well, especially since there is so much content in the first book. I do not understand all the people posting negative reviews about how offensive children killing children is… To these users: you are missing the whole point of the movie. The point of this movie is not about gore or murdering children, it is about the strength of the government and also the power of the people. In the hunger games most of the tributes did not agree at all with having to murder their competition, but they did what they had to do to stay alive. They were forced against their will to be entered in the games.

And, honestly, I felt like the movie makers turned the gore down a lot, compared to the descriptions in the book. I think this film was phenomenal and would recommend it to anyone mature enough to understand the content. 13 or older is probably a good idea.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Victoria, age 18 (USA)
Positive—After reading the book, to say I was excited to see the movie would be an understatement. When I finally got the chance to do so, I found it well worth the wait. The book made me anxious to see how they would pull off some of the action sequences. They did a totally AMAZING job! Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect Katniss. She really makes you feel her dilemma, as she’s caught between doing what she knows is right, and winning the Games, so she and her family can have food. I didn’t hear much, if anything at all, in the way of profanity, which was a DEFINITE plus. And, being that this was a movie about kids and teens, there was no sex or nudity, beyond maybe a kiss or two between Katniss and Peeta.

So, as you can see, I am a HUGE fan of this movie. I couldn’t give this a higher recommendation. However, with that said, let me issue a warning: While I do recommend it, because of the rather intense violence, I can only recommend it to families with kids ages 12 and up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jared, age 32 (USA)
Positive—I simply could not disagree more with the main review! This film tells a story of a teenage girl forced, against her will, to participate in a brutal gladiatorial combat to the death: she does so, not because her own name is drawn out of the hat, but because her 12-tear-old sister’s was. She then volunteers to take her place: Ring any bells? I hope the reviewer would feel sympathy for the Vietnam vet who was drafted, and who then killed the Vietcong he encountered in order to survive. Or does he think that soldier should have stood still and allowed himself to be killed? This is the whole point of The Hunger Games: to show that people will do what they have to in order to preserve either their lives, their souls (think Christian martyrs who went to the stake, rather than deny the Lord that bought them), or their family and country.

The film concentrates on her personality, and she develops in the film from somebody who thinks only about her own family, to one who cares others in the “arena”. Also, to say that there was no characterisation of any of the others is simply untrue; yes, they were not so well-defined as hers, but that is because the other characters are all observed through her eyes, not the audience’s. This is explicitly proved if you read the novels, which are first-person narratives, and in which the other characters are fleshed-out in the second and third parts. I actually went from hating one character, to feeling intense sympathy for him, by the third book. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gary Davis, age 50 (United Kingdom)
Positive—Evil is offensive, not the movie. The movie does an excellent job of portraying a twisted world with twisted morality when the world adopts its own morality. Perhaps I won’t see the world as portrayed in this movie; I fear my children will. I think we can see hints of it already. The morality depicted in the movie is offensive, but no more so than the morality of today’s world. We’re attracted to the several characters in the movie who are also offended by the evil and struggling with what to do.

I’m not a follower of this genre of movie; I was invited to see it. I’m not sorry I did. I’m intrigued by what message the books” author might be trying to say—perhaps a prophecy? A warning? It may not be a movie for teens because of the intensity of some of the material. However, Scripture does not demure to describe the human heart as it really is; child sacrifice in the Old Testament (or what we call abortion today), is rather intense. Sadly, I’m afraid these same teens also miss the incredible allusions—the capitol district, Roman chariots, Roman games and gladiators, crowds saluting the leader, among others—that are close to being symbols of today’s world as well.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—C Frith, age 57 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I have mixed feelings about this film. I have not read the books and went with some friends. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was impressed by the action portrayed in the film. It was very violent (I do not suggest this film for younger children), and the fact that some of the deaths were so bloody bothered me and my friends. The film teaches some lessons, however. The population in the capital city portrayed a very materialistic society, full of men and women who are lovers of themselves. This can be a biblical reference, as in the last days, men will be lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2). This may be an idea (or an over exaggeration) of the fullness of materialism that those in Christ must beware of.

Loyalty is another subject portrayed in this film. The main female protagonist in the film exhibited characteristics of loyalty towards the other characters (such as her male partner and the little girl in the games).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Alex G., age 23 (USA)
Neutral—I was a bit bummed when I saw the movie, after I read the books. They skipped a good deal, and there was some swearing and God’s name in vain that was not in the book. I felt disappointed when Katniss in the film got the mockingjay pin from a shop for free and accepted it. When, in the book, she never accepts things free and hates owing people, plus she got the pin from the mayor’s daughter for selling strawberries. When she gives the pin to her sister and says it will protect her, Prim’s name is chosen, and after Katniss takes her spot, Prim gives the pin back to Katniss to protect her. …You can’t get protection from a pin, you get protection from God.

The violence was heavy to a bit extreme. Teens killing teens over weapons and out of fun is the most sickest display I ever saw. Katniss doesn’t want to kill anybody, but she kills an older boy when he aims at her and Rue. There were suicidal ideas that weren’t wise to put in films or books, there were a couple in the film. The film was interesting and action packed. But they skipped a lot and put some parts that weren’t in the book, in the movie. I suggest this film to 13 and up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Emma, age 22 (USA)
Neutral—I thought the movie had a good moral tone. I wouldn’t say to avoid it, if my argument was because it was very violent. Because if that was the case, I wouldn’t read the Bible. David and the Israelites went into some gruesome battles ordained by God—battles to kill women and children. One of the judges killed one of the kings with a stake.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jon Cuenca, age 25 (USA)
Neutral—I am a fan of the book series. The movie is also very well executed. The acting is very good, and I even think the pacing is good. I am actually writing this review, because I feel that the reviews aren’t very balanced. In all honesty, the movie should have been R rated, just from the subject matter. I know that they were trying to appeal to a larger audience by decreasing the violence, but this movie is not meant for kids. That being said, the reviewer is overly simplistic in his assessment of “rooting” for Katniss, and cheering when the other kids die.

As stated in the review, this is the first story of a trilogy. This first story is the introduction of the government’s control of the country. It is the government, not the tributes, that are seen as the villains. The tributes are simply doing what they must with their situation, trying to survive. The exception to this is the “bad” tributes that were mentioned earlier. They are in a class of their own, because they are brutal killers that trained for and volunteered for the Hunger Games, not victims of the lottery. The other books focus on Katniss dealing with the political situation that was stirred by the games.

The reviewer also makes the sweeping statement that we are implicated as audience members for supporting a movie where children are victims. You can’t argue that watching “Schindler’s List” encourages more movies about concentration camps. Movies have bad guys that do bad things. That doesn’t mean the audience enjoys the violence. The movie is not about Katniss killing other tributes, it is about Katniss surviving in a horrible situation. The movie shows Katniss as being different than most others in her situation. She has compassion on the other tributes, and even helps them to survive, even when it is to her disadvantage.

This movie is not for everyone. However, it is important to characterize the details of the movie correctly. If you can’t handle violence against children, don’t watch this movie. But the story is very compelling, and many will find the series engaging.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Peter, age 26 (USA)
Neutral—The movie resonates with teens because they feel like the main character. Trapped, forced to do things they wouldn’t want to do. Is there spiritual/Christian value to it? Not really, but the film-makers never claim to have released a Christian film. The reality is, you can use truths and lies from the books and movie and lay them out in light of Christian ethos.

I am a youth pastor and am using the books and movie as a springboard for a month long evangelistic crusade. We are playing the Hunger and Thirst Games, and, for the whole month of June, we are contrasting what the world hungers for vs. What we should hunger and thirst after. I think we need to remember that our teens do live in the world. We can try to protect them all we want, but once they leave the house they make their own choices. They watch movies like this and read books like this because they identify with the characters, it fills a void in their life and they can relate personally.

We need to be the light of Christ to them so that even when the world bombards them with messages that are against Biblical truth, they will know the difference and choose what is right. We have abdicated far too much for far too long, we now have to live in the reality that exists, and deal with it because we won’t change society and we won’t change media.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Rob S., age 38 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—I actually read the review from this Web site before going to see film, and boy do I wish I’d heeded the reviewer’s caution. I justified going to see it based upon the overwhelming number of positive reviews by movie-goers just under the main review, and on a Christian friend’s recommendation. I must say I am quite shocked that any Christian parent would go see this film with their child, regardless of age. I couldn’t even sit through it with my wife. We watched more than an hour of it, up until the “tributes” had entered the battlefield. After watching about fifteen minutes of kids killing kids (the cruel “stronger” kids killing the young weak ones with pleasure), I leaned over to my wife and said “I don’t like this, let’s go.” So we left.

I left because I felt the Holy Spirit inside of me severely grieved. To be honest, I thought the movie-making quality and acting were superb, and would have loved to have been able to watch it in its entirety—I simply couldn’t ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I literally felt sick to my stomach for hours after leaving the theater. There is just something sick and sadistic about being entertained by something so egregious.

I am even more saddened by the fact that professing followers of Christ fail to guard their children’s hearts and desensitize them to such agonizing material. Make no mistake—I’m no sheltered, home-schooled Christian. I emerged from a very dark and secular past riddled with drugs and self-destruction—perhaps that’s why this is all the more troubling to me. Nevertheless, the callousness of killing children as a reality “game show” (as it’s portrayed in the film) should be troubling to anyone with half a moral, moreover by the body of Christ.

Please spare yourself a scar on your soul and do not grieve the Holy Spirit within you. Do not go see this film. And certainly do not expose the impressionable hearts of your children to it. For what it’s worth, I did read some chapters of the book before seeing it. Having it come to life on the big screen was another thing entirely.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John, age 28 (USA)
Negative—I went to see this movie and was totally disgusted by children killing children. I tried to watch the movie to see if there was a purpose to justify this violence. I finally had to leave. I felt so guilty for supporting this movie by purchasing a ticket and taking my 14 year old daughter to see it. I really wanted to watch “October Baby” this weekend. I called the theater to see why they were not showing the Christian movie. I was told that people didn’t want to see it. I cannot believe that the theater was full of people mostly children watching this disgusting film. I cannot believe that our society would think that children laughing about how another child pleaded for her life, and they took joy in killing her, is a excellent movie. I felt I was no different than those “bad” people in the film that were taking joy in watching the killing on reality TV.

How can we criticize others for using children to kill for their causes in the Middle East or Africa, when in this country we will pay millions of dollars to watch it for entertainment? I am ashamed, as a Christian, that I took my daughter to see this film! I know I offended my God by my actions.
—KC, age 44 (USA)
Negative—I went to see “The Hunger Games” because I was a driver, and it was a midnight showing. Basically, the movie is a dark, very unnatural story, the plot of which centers around teenagers being forced into brutally butchering each other to death, oh so graphically. Character development was minimal, plot intricacies were non-existent, and the intentional prolonging of the screams from the boy being viscously eaten alive by a pack of wild dogs gruesome and unnecessary. There was no climax, other than one more bloody death, and no resolution, other than hints at a sequel.

The movie offered no hope, no inspiration, and nothing to make you think. In my opinion, there was simply nothing redeeming about the movie, at all. What I can’t figure out is, when the theater erupted in cheers at the end, what were these teenagers cheering at? How to kill your neighbor with glee?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Teri Holder, age 55 (USA)
Negative—“The Hunger Games” ought to be avoided, as it takes us culturally to an new low. The glorification of teen murder, celebrated in a popular school book, which advances suicide, is something Christians should just say no to. Actually, instead of bringing our giggling kids to the movie, they, and we, should be repulsed by it and have nothing to do with it (Ephesians 5:11). There is nothing redeemable about this film, and it advances a worldview contrary to what we profess to believe.

I am disheartened that us North American Christians are no different than our unsaved counterparts, that is, we listen to the same profane music, worship the same decadent stars and throw our money and support to films counter to our ideals. Why do we join with the lemmings to gladly encourage our kids to partake of these anti-Christian movements.

Ironically, this weekend, also, saw the release of a fantastic Christian-based movie called “October Baby.” How many Christians will join the unwashed masses to see Hunger Games instead of supporting a pro-Christian movie? Or, worse yet, how many Christians will mock the Christian movie “October Baby” as being cheesy (by not having the mega-budget of Hollywood productions), instead of supporting the extraordinary efforts our brothers and sisters have endured to make this film that advances a positive worldview. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Douglas, age 46 (Canada)
Negative—I went to this movie a little bit skeptical, but, after I had heard from some friends that it was a good movie, and they recommended it, I went to go and see it. I had trouble justifying the plot. Whether these teens are fighting each other to the death because they wanted to, or whether they were forced to by the government, really doesn’t matter, at all. The point is that we are going to the movie and watching this as a source of entertainment. I think everybody would agree that you don’t get a “feel good” feeling from watching the kids brutally attack each other, but I think it goes beyond just the feelings.

Some may justify this by saying there is war in the Bible, and God even commanded entire cities to be slaughtered with not a single person left alive. The difference between that and the movie, is that the movie is purely and nothing more than for entertainment. To the movies benefit though, there was a really strong theme of personal sacrifice that was threaded through the entire movie. As Christians, it really hits the nail on the head about laying one’s life down for your friend.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—David, age 23 (Canada)
Negative—I wrote the original review that’s been commented upon negatively, in some cases. I was surprised to find a secular review this morning on the NPR site that made a similar argument—perhaps better than I did, originally. Here’s a brief excerpt from David Edelstein:

“Out of 24 participants, only one child will live. And we hope it will be Katniss Everdeen, from the impoverished mining District 12—a teen who, when her little sister is picked in the lottery, volunteers to take her place. Why is it problematic? Kids killing kids is the most wrenching thing we can imagine, and rooting for the deaths of Katniss” opponents can’t help but implicate us. But the novel is written by a humanist: When a child dies, we breathe a sigh of relief that Katniss has one less adversary, but we never go, “Yes!” —we feel only revulsion for this evil ritual.

If the film’s director, Gary Ross, has any qualms about kids killing kids, he keeps them to himself. The murders on screen are fast and largely pain-free—you can hardly see who’s killing who. So, despite the high body count, the rating is PG-13. Think about it: You make killing vivid and upsetting and get an R. You take the sting out of it, and kids are allowed into the theater. The ratings board has it backward.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Jeremy Landes, age 37 (USA)
Negative—I just came back home from watching this movie. In short, do not see this movie. It is disturbing that people find entertainment in this. It’s sick. I find it hard to believe that someone said… hey let’s make a movie where kids kill kids. Let’s just come up with a plot where people will be accepting of all the violent and barbaric deaths. Oh and… let’s throw some “love” in there, too. Yea… that’ll work. People will really enjoy this one.

This is completely unbelievable. It is so far removed from anything of Christ. I’m surprised by all the positive comments. Thou shall not kill… remember that one. God… the same yesterday, today, and forever.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Earl, age 43 (Canada)
Negative—What kind of movie is this? Do not make the same mistake that I made. Do not watch this movie. I had not much prior knowledge about “The Hunger Games,” so I went to watch it. It has been a month, and I am still thinking about this movie. I ask myself: What are we teaching our kids/teenagers? That it is okay for kids to kill each other? That this is entertaining? Where are our moral values? Why life is no longer something important? This movie is satanical, evil, gross, disgusting, and pathetic.

If you really don’t know what to do with the $20 that you plan to spend for this movie, just give it to a homeless person or to charity. Your $20 will be in better hands if you do this. Do not support this disgusting movie. It’s not worth it! The title of this movie should have been: “The Satan Games” instead. The worse movie I have ever watched in the forty two years that I have been around. Truly disgusting!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Carlos, age 42 (Canada)
Negative—I saw the movie, and by most of the comments by the younger audience, what are they being taught in church? God help us, if this is becoming the way of the younger crowd in this nation and other nations.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—William, age 68 (USA)
Negative—I find it mournful that people who call themselves Christians (which means that we should be separate from the world, transformed by Christ and in unending communion with Him) are okay with watching …this for entertainment. Let’s face it… the movie is not intended to “awaken our eyes” to what a corrupt world and government could turn into. Study biblical prophesy, then watch the news. I don't need a little movie to tell me what we're going to face in this world. By watching “The Hunger Games,” I did nothing more than put myself into the stands among the people in the movie who pleasured themselves by watching handfuls of youth slaughter each other. Oh wait! You can play “The Hunger Games” on Facebook, too! Yeah, We are sick. God Punish America.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Seth M, age 26 (USA)
Negative—I am glad to see that there is a faithful remnant who will agree that this movie is a very bad one. There’s no need to even watch the movie. The simple fact that we are talking about teens killing teens should be enough for any Christian to decide not to watch the movie. Friendship with the world is hatred toward God (James 4:4). I do not mean to offend anyone, and yet I do mean to be as straightforward as the Scripture is. If a movie will contaminate our minds (and even worse the minds of our kids), I find no basis whatsoever to support such a movie. If I cannot understand this, and I still feel the need to watch a movie as violent as this one, then I surely need to go back home and on my knees ask my Lord to change my heart so that I stop being conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). May God, in his mercy, open our eyes that we may see his beauty and grow disenchanted with the idea of paying to go see something as evidently evil as children killing other children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality:
—George, age 39 (Colombia)
Negative—Horrifying. Teens killing teens, children killing children and adults controlling the steps taken to see it happen, forcing them back into danger when they get anywhere near safety. I pray the memory of this film and that which my daughter saw will all be washed away as fast as it came in. My daughter’s defensive comment for the movie is that the movie is assuming this is what could happen if we allow government to control our lives. God help us. In the busyness of life and solely caring for my severely disabled husband for years now, I did not do my home work, but had no idea what I was allowing my daughter to view. It won’t happen again, if that’s one positive thing that came from watching this with my daughter is that I am committed to not letting this happen again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—J Holland, age 50 (USA)
Negative—This is the worst movie ever made… how can you show a bunch of kids killing each other for food… teaching children how to kill, then we wonder when a kid’s shot on the school grounds… to be honest, I don’t even have words to describe how bad this movie is… but it is all about the money—actors and directors don’t give a cr*p about making this kind of movie as long as they make money… this is the worst movie I ever watched… I walked out of the movie theater when I realized how bad this movie is; I was with my children. But there were a bunch of parents with their children in the movie theater that stayed to watch the whole movie… I just could not understand why they let their kids watch that kind of movie… and this movie is PG-13; it should be mv…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Jose Luis Vargas, age 37 (Mexico)
Comments from young people
Neutral—“The Hunger Games,” I thought, was a good movie, overall, but definitely not a kids’ movie. I mean there’s no sex, and language is limited to a couple of d_mn’s and h_ll’s. But the prevalent issue is violence; I’ve seen war movies with probably ten times as much violence, but thing of it is, it’s teens here fighting. So it’s not just soldiers, or some action hero, it’s “kids” fighting to the death in an arena. So that very much, at least to me anyway, seemed to amplify the violence.

The violence, itself, though, is more implied and not shown, you especially get that effect by the shaky camera angle they use frequently, which hides a lot of the graphic violence. Or, also, they do it by you hearing it, but the camera showing something else. But still quite a bit of graphic violence is seen throughout the film.

The antagonist(s) in the games, themselves, are the “careers,” who actually take joy in the killings and taking part in the game’s, hoping to win it for personal gain. Now that’s different then the protagonist Katniss, she had volunteered because she didn’t want her sister to face the games and probably die as a result. Also, the careers kill in cold blood, where she does it mostly in just self-defense. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sam, age 16 (USA)
Positive—To start off, I was an absolute fan of the books and even went to the extremes of waiting in line for seven hours to see the movie. I was an instant fan of the movie and did not feel like there was excessive gore and fighting. If anything, they had toned down the violence in the movie, in comparison to that of the book. Often times, people will put in bad reviews about the morals of the movie, however, I believe that the morals are pointing not to killing and fighting, but to something more. Throughout the movie, Katniss and Peeta are not in favor of the brutal killing forced upon them, they are fighting as hard as they can against it. In the future movies, they actually rise up and destroy the capitol and defeat the Hunger Games. The movie promotes good morals, if looked at correctly.

However, it is not a movie for young children, because there are several violent scenes, including one were a child has his neck snapped. The language was practically nonexistent, and the one kissing scene was not overdone. I would definitely recommend this movie and hope to see it a third time!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Abbi, age 16 (USA)
Positive—I have to say, “The Hunger Games” was one of the most thought-provoking, well-acted, and, at times, violent films I have ever seen. The plot was excellent and well-paced. Most of the movie was filmed close-up with a shaky camera movement. I found this to be very different from regular films, but it made the action very realistic. I would highly encourage everybody ages 13+ to see it. One note: Because much of the movie is based on the plot of teenagers killing teenagers, it could be very disturbing to a younger audience. There is much violence, but this movie serves as a chilling reminder of what happens when a government takes control of their citizens.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ben, age 17 (USA)
Positive—“…Hunger Games” was an excellent movie. The characters were portrayed BEAUTIFULLY. Acting was on spot. They kept it pretty close to the book, I thought it was very well done. As a matter of fact, it was so good I went and saw it twice.

The premise is very clever and the music amazing like all of James Newton Howard’s stuff. As far as objectionable content, other than violence the movie was very clean. Hardly any language and no sex and nudity. The violence was tamed down compared to the book and really no different than any other PG-13 film. I think it’s because they’re kids that make the movie seem more violent. I would definitely recommend this!!! Great movie!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Aliya Mcreynolds, age 14 (USA)
Positive—This movie was amazing! They kept it nice and true to the book, which was pretty amazing, since that is rarely done. As far as violence goes, people should stop getting their panties in a twist over some authentic moviemaking skills and showing some reality. The reality is, they were living a hellish kind of life. They did give you hope in the end—hope that you can beat the system.

I thought this movie was well done, and if you didn’t like it, that’s probably because you didn’t read the book. So read the book and watch the movie again. …“The Hunger Games” is the best movie in the world. This movie was about the violence that goes on in life even today—but it wasn’t really just about that. It was about people being oppressed and then fighting back because they could—against all odds. That’s exactly what we are called to do today, as followers of Christ. In that sense it was encouraging and good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tori Sicilia, age 12 (USA)
Positive—I just saw “The Hunger Games” at the Imax thing, and it was the MOST EPIC MOVIE THIS YEAR!!!… Wow! What a great movie—I thought it was better than “John Carter”! The movie is fast-paced and keeps you at the edge of your seat the whole ride! Loved it! A Must-See! And I’ll have to read the books soon!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Andre, age 15 (Canada)
Positive—I loved this film; it was amazing!! I have read the book, and I thought that they were really good, and I couldn’t wait for the film to come out. I went on opening night, and I think that Lionsgate did the book credit. Somethings they did change slightly from the book, but you can see why they did it. The language was very, very minor; I think there was two “hell” and one or two “Oh My G**” which I think is very good in comparison with so many films these days. Yes, it is violent, but you could kind of guessed that from what the film was about, so I wasn’t surprised, and it was much less gory and violent than I anticipated. I think this film is a must see, but I recommend reading the books firs,t because they are great and have no bad language, at all, in them. Two thumbs up from me!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Connie, age 15 (United Kingdom)
Positive—I had the privilege to attend this movie with a large group of friends recently. Although this is not a movie for young children, that is why it has a PG-13 rating. There were very few things offensive in it. The only thing I found was the swearing, but there was very little of it. Many of the reviews by non viewers on this site talk about all the killing and how the movie teaches teens to kill each other. If they had watched the film, they would realize that this was all cast in a negative light, and that the whole point of this series is to stop the killing and oppression of an overbearing government. I believe that this film is a good reminder and warning to us as a country, and I do not believe that it deserves the very offensive rating…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Levi, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed the movie. Unlike most other films, this movie didn’t push a theme forward. It simply told the story of teens caught in a dictatorship, sort of like “Gladiator.” True, it was pretty violent, with a corrupt society, but isn’t that the reality we often are faced with? I think many people are judging it too hard. It’s simply a movie based on a book. It’s not pushing forward major themes, and actually raises some interesting questions, such as, “What if everyone just stopped watching them?” and “I should have walked into the rain and given the bread to you.” Enough said. I would definitely recommend it.…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Joses Tirtabudi, age 17 (Australia)
Positive—As a young adult who has read the book and seen the movie: “The Hunger Games,” I think I might have a different perspective of the movie than the reviewer. First of all, even in the anticipation of the movie, I was not looking forward to the kid-on-kid violence, that was sure to be in the movie, as a means of entertainment. As an optimistic person, I was honestly hoping that all 24 kids could make it out of the arena alive, and I was saddened by each and every death that took place.

That being said, the reason I went to see the movie was that I wanted to watch something that made me think. The premise of the movie is nearly believable in today’s society, and, as Christians, is this what we want for our future? A nation without God, where even the good guys cannot possibly be fully good. I think the hunger games is a warning sign of what our future could hold if we don’t stand for what’s right.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Vanessa, age 17 (USA)
Negative—I think it’s sad how people overlook the animal abuse in this movie. Somebody trained those poor dogs to chase after people trying to eat them. I’ve seen dogfights before, and the only way to get a dog to be that vicious is to abuse it severely. I would be interested in hearing if anyone else cares about the rights of animals!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Trollolol, age 12 (USA)
Trollolol, your sensitivity about animals is appreciated. However, in this case, there is no need to worry. We can find no evidence that dogs were abused in “The Hunger Games.” The dogs were primarily digital (3D computer generated images—CGI animation), not real.
—Christian Spotlight Editor
Positive—I have to say they did alright with this movie. It wasn’t as good as the books, but that’s usually how it is. They didn’t change much, the biggest thing that was different than the books was that Katniss got the mockingjay pin from the Hob, instead of getting it from Madge. They also added a couple of scenes that weren’t in the books, and left a few scenes out. They cast all the characters very well. Also, I would recommend reading the books before you watch it. There’s quite a bit of stuff in there that would make a whole lot more sense if you had read it. If you haven’t read the books yet, that’s alright, too. And you’ve probably heard the storyline and freaked out, because when people tell you what it’s about, it doesn’t sound very good. About a year ago, someone told me I should read them, and I was like “what are they about?” and then after she told me I was going “umm… that sounds depressing and freaky…”. So I didn’t read them until quite recently, and just let me tell you that they are great books. A lot of people think that the story is only about these teenagers fighting to the death in the arena, but that’s just part of it. If you keep reading the whole series, it has great morals and a great storyline.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Claire W, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This film is a great story. I have read the entire trilogy and enjoyed each book. This story line is not what many people think it is. It is not about the killing of the other tributes. It is about a girl rising up to defy the horrible government that she lives in. Which, if you ask me, we are sadly not to far away from. This movie promotes courage, strength, and standing up for what you believe in. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. There is some language and violence though, so I do not recommend it for younger children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Hannah, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This was an amazing movie. It had a lot of violence, and about 4 times there was language. It wasn't gory. Hollywood could have done a lot of bad stuff with this movie, but didn't. My grandmother could find alot of Biblical references in the movie, such as the 12 districts and the 12 tribes of Israel.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 10 (USA)
Neutral—Being an avid reader, I decided to read the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy, after hearing all the hype surrounding it. I felt that the first few chapters were quite slow-paced, and, as a result, I couldn’t really find myself connecting with the characters or the storyline. It was basically boring, and I honestly didn’t see what all the fuss was about. However, I personally think that if you’re going to buy a book with the intent of reading it, don’t give-up on the story, just because the beginning isn’t particularly amazing. So, I read on, and I found myself literally gripping the book. So I decided to watch the film and did so with my friends.

So, the positives: Katniss steps in to replace her sister because she knows her sister will die, and she doesn’t want that to happen to her sister. Katniss does this even though she knows her life is heavily endangered, and she probably won’t come out alive, even though she does in the end. This is an example of self-sacrifice, and since God himself did just that, he gave up his one and only holy son, I think it’s extremely important that we as Christians don’t take these things lightly. Self-sacrifice is one of the bases of Christianity (Jesus, our central figure, died for us) so Christians shouldn’t think “oh, it was only one scene” because it wasn’t “just a scene,” it was a show of love, bravery, and nobility which are the three words I’d ascribe to Jesus. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Danny, age 14 (United Kingdom)
Positive—I had read the first Hunger Games novel and loved it! It was fast-paced and exciting, and I couldn’t put it down. I was so excited to see the movie. Many people on here say they do not like the movie, because of children killing children and stuff, but I loved it. There are some brilliant themes in the story about self-sacrifice, courage in the face of adversity and survival. Katniss really reminded me of Jesus, stepping up to take her sister’s place, like how Jesus took our place on the cross. Katniss is an amazing fictional heroine.

I do not think I have yet had the holy spirit tell me that this movie is immoral, and I shouldn’t watch it. (Sometimes that happens.) Also, one of my friends who goes to a Christian school, is studying the saga of novels in her high-school english class, so I thought it couldn’t be that bad, if a Christian school is studying it. Personally, I think it is just down to personal preference, whether or not you want to watch “The Hunger Games” or not.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Melanie, age 15 (New Zealand)
Positive—The idea of children fighting to the death on live TV can be disturbing, but it has happened for real with the Gladiators and Christians. This movie was good, the violence was basically skipped over, meaning it wasn’t like you had to cover your child’s eyes, and when anyone swore, it was almost too fast—like they thought they couldn’t sneak them into the movie. I recommend you watch this, but if you’ve read the book, obviously you’re excited, and you’ve heard people’s disappointment—see it anyway, but only if you are able to take the disappointment.

The only “bad” part is when Peeta and Katniss decide to commit suicide to achieve a goal, but when you think about it, Christ died for us when he could have stopped his death, and they both died because they cared about each other, just as Christ cares for us.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Keroppi, age 14 (USA)
Positive—First things first: Movie followed the book even better than we expected. Abbi’s mommy came to see it with us, and LOVED it! She is currently avidly reading the book with great impassioned fervor. Second: the violence in this movie was not graphic, at all, in fact you could only see blood on weapons and the occasional small wound from a small knife or thorn. Of course, we would not suggest seeing this movie if you are weak in the stomach.

The movie had a positive message in it. It implies friendship and giving your life selflessly to save another. Katniss never killed another tribute in mockery or joy. She mostly killed in self defense. In one case, to put a boy out of his misery. We both read all the books and are Jelly-fied with excitement and imprisoned by restlessness, and can barely sleep in the hopefully short wait for the SEQUEL!!!… YEAH! we give this movie a big kiss! We both hope that you will put past the idea of the Holy Spirit denying you the chance to see the movie, and think that He wants you to enjoy yourself; While keeping in mind that this is a movie for mostly 9 and older. Bye bye!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Liz And Abbi, age 14 and 15 (USA)
Positive—…it does NOT glorify killings by children and suicide. In fact, it does the complete opposite! I can’t believe some people would even say that it glorifies it! The story makes it obviously clear that what the Capitol is doing to the kids (making them kill other kids on live TV) is not right and morally wrong. The story develops as Katniss (the main character) goes up against the Capitol because of her strong belief that what they are doing is wrong. And there are some people that said that the movie condoned suicide. What are you talking about? The major point of that scene was that Katniss and Peeta were trying to trick the capitol into letting them both live. Katniss knew that the Capitol would not let them both die, so by forcing their hand, she made sure that she and Peeta survived. She outsmarted the Capitol.

If the movie was glorifying children killing children, then they would paint that in a good light and they wouldn’t have the main protagonist fighting against that system. And if they were condoning suicide, why didn’t they just have Katniss and Peeta go through with it? Just because they showed murder, does not mean they condoned it. Please watch the whole movie and actually see the underlying message. Life is not all happy flowers and parties. Life has a dark side. This film shows the dark side but does not glorify it. I really recommend this movie for anyone who wishes to see it. It’s an interesting story-line with a strong female lead.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Anna, age 17 (USA)
Positive—My mom and I did a lot of research into the books, before I was allowed to read them. They are very good. Before I went to see the movie, my mom asked me, why I found it entertaining, why would I want to see something like this. When I first heard what the book was about, I was thinking that that is not the best plot for a book, I mean who wants to read about kids killing each other. But it is a lot more than that. Katniss is so strong and brave and has a good heart. She gave herself up so her sister wouldn’t have to be in the games. Would we be able to do that? Would we give up our lives for someone we love?

Also, I think it is a good lesson for everyone, because this is what might happen if we choose the wrong people to govern our country. One thing that bothered me (not about the film) was when I saw little kids in the theater. It was a good movie, but not for kids under 12. I think if parents and teens go together it would be a good discussion after the movie. Other than that, there were only about 4 swear words and no sex/nudity. I thought it was great. Great acting, great filming. Overall, really well made!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Brianna, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This movie is really a misunderstood movie, it’s about, okay, so I have to do this to achieve this. Me and my mom have read the books, and I learned she was doing what she had to do, if someone killed your ally and you had the chance, your intentions where not for sport and he/she would eventually die most likely die a slower and more painful death would probably take the shot. People don’t look at the bigger picture, all they see is kids are killing kids, that’s all that it is they see. I think that even though, yeah, kids are killing kids, you gotta see how it is in the Bible; David killed women and children, and didn’t God tell him to do that. This is a great movie, that is not gory, so I’m saying go see this movie; it is a really good movie, and I can’t wait to see the rest of them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 11 (USA)
Positive—This film received mostly positive feelings from me. As far as objectionable content is concerned, language is nearly nonexistent, just “hell” and “damn,” each said twice, I believe. Sexual content is also barely present, just a few short kisses between Katniss and Peeta. Violence is where many people will possibly be concerned, but that depends only on how well you’ll take the actual violence on the screen, NOT the concept. The violence is not mindless, it is very well placed. It is used to show the corruptness of the government and society that actually enjoys watching it. The fact that they cheer for the real killings and force the children into the death match is a lesson in itself, it is a warning.

That said, the violence can be disturbing. A lot of blood and death fills the actual Hunger Games ceremony. On par with “The Lord of the Rings” action, but a bit more disturbing, because each death seems to mean more than when you see a nameless, faceless warrior die (which is the case in most films). The camera actually does a good job of turning away from the more horrific parts of most deaths, but they definitely leave a dark feel in the film. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—James B, age 17 (USA)
Neutral—I have not read the books, but, just watching the movie, I think gives me enough of the story, and it is quite obvious what’s happening! I don’t think it is necessary to read the books in order to understand what’s happening. POSITIVES—although the teens are taught to listen to the audience, go with the flow and be violent for popularity and fame. The main characters (and a few others) learn to think for themselves and despite what they are constantly being taught, told and shown, kill only to defend themselves and kill only in (somewhat) dignified ways. I also like the self sacrificing attitude of the main character, Katniss. Since the “normal” people of the world have a blood thirsty crave for killing and violence, the government has a system to stay in control and at the same time entertain their people… So every year they choose by random a young boy and girl from each district to fight till the end in an arena and entertain the people, Katniss” little sister is chosen to represent their district but instead of her going (and probably getting killed) Katniss volunteers to go in her place! NEGATIVES- most of the teens who are chosen for this annual killing arena called “the Hunger Games” find no objections in their behavior and act more like animals then human beings, and so we naturally don’t feel as bad for them when they get killed.

Although I know this is just there to create the story and make the movie, most of these teens’ attitudes are sick and gory! We hear from the main character, Katniss, who is supposed to be our main role model and example, a few OMG’s and mild swears uttered. Also, this mockingbird who is on the “good luck pin” almost seems like a god who is supposed to bring good luck and keep them safe… there are many mockingbirds in the arena who end up helping them out, and it just kind of seems to me that the mockingbirds in this movie are mildly images of a god! I wouldn’t say that this is at all a kids’ movie, mostly because of heavy crude violence. To me, this isn’t the sort of movie you can either love or hate! This movie sure kept me on the edge of my seat!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Rosie, age 17 (Canada)
Positive—I would like to start off by saying I am a Christian who is seeking God’s love, yet I very strongly disagree with the negative side of these opinions. I have seen the movies and read the books, I understand why you would say it was too gory and violent, but wasn't the most of the Old Testement consisted of such violence. We are bombarded my death and pain everyday, but this movie doesn't solely implify on “kid” death, but on the fact that I world had become so twisted to the evils and wrong-doings of Satan. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Sharne L., age 15 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I am so happy to read the negative comments by the reviewer. I have been thinking this story sounds ridiculous for Christians to applaud, and yet, over and over, I have heard people who are Christians saying how great the books are and eagerly looking forward to the movie. My daughter has kept using the scripture verse: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.“ I have even read people saying the movie fits this scripture, though. We are all answerable for our own choices and our own parenting, and, while I have made a wagon full of mistakes, we won’t be supporting this movie in our family.
—Donna, age 57 (Canada)
Negative—Great review. I haven’t seen this movie and don’t intend to. The idea of people murderously hunting one another for sport is sickening. The idea that people watch other people hunt and kill one another for entertainment is even more sick. The idea that those hunting and killing one another are children—so sick I cannot find words to express my nausea!

Some will no doubt call me ignorant, because I haven’t seen the movie to fairly critique it. To those people, I would humbly suggest… It’s an evil and corrupt society that watches for entertainment an evil and corrupt society as it watches for entertainment over two dozen kids hunt down and viciously kill one another. As the reviewer (and the movie) suggests, if we stop watching movies like this the Hollywood machine will stop making movies like this.
—Chris, age 40 (United Kingdom)
Negative—I would never go to see a movie where kids are killing each other, or adults for that matter and calling it a game. There is a lot wrong with our society today paying to watch such sadism and justifying it by labeling it as entertainment. Life and our children are sacred gifts. Have we all forgotten how fragile a mind can be? We will not be going to see this movie.
—Susan, age 53 (USA)
Negative—…because this movie has so many Positive Comments, I thought it best to share this… This is the last thing we want in America at this time. Why? Because movies like this are teaching teenagers how to kill each other—and at the same time making it look so “innocent.” If you ask me it’s making murder look legal. The story line isn’t the most uplifting or logical, since random kids over the nation are being selected to hunt each other to death. Personally I don’t find this very appealing, as war movies that actually happened are bad enough, where-as this seems like useless violence.

Let’s look at this movie from another point of view: Nearly 2,000 years ago, in places like Rome, people would gather together to watch shows. But it wasn’t an ordinary show: they were watching gladiator shows and martyrdom of Christians. They were watching people die and cheering for it. If I were to ask the question “Was this a right thing to do?” the answer would most likely be “no”. So now you tell me the difference between gladiator fights and “The Hunger Games” other than gladiators were usually slaves and the Hunger Game players were kids. Not really much differs, now, does it?

So give our kids what we don’t need like Harry Potter (aupporting witchcraft) and Hunger Games (supporting kid-to-kid murder) and then we wonder why so many problems occur in our nation… let’s look at our movies shall we?
—Josiah, age 14 (Canada)
Neutral—…Mr. Landes, …I have read the books myself, and …I was shocked and somewhat confused at the overly dismal picture that you painted. …Your argument is that moviegoers are enjoying the violence, the gore, and the bloodshed. That’s not the case for most moviegoers. Why do we go to see the movie? Because we want to see Katniss prevail despite all the trials and horrors she is forced to go through. The Hunger Games is not a fluffy “entertainment” series. It is a series that is meant to shake my fellow peers out of our apathy about the world, a series that is meant to make us think. The series was designed to prevent and bring the audience aware of this very thirst for violence that you condone! The fact that you identified so strongly with those ludicrous Capital people just helps support how efficient this film is in getting the message across. You stated that this film was not appropriate—“especially not” for “teenagers”. I disagree. Fellow peers of mine enjoy violent packed games like Halo. I believe our society is getting desensitized to violence. The Hunger Games illustrates that point thoroughly. We need to wake up from our apathy! I do not believe that this movie warrants the “Very Offensive” label.…
—Priya, age 17 (USA)
Neutral—I have not seen this movie. However, I have read the first book and the reviews for the movie. My argument for the movie is that even the Bible has violence. The Bible has suicide, warfare, cannibalism, starvation, imprisonment, slavery, adultery, cruelty, injustice, and many other forms of death and sin. But there are morals in the Bible that we can learn from, if we are taught correctly. I believe that God uses things to teach and shape people. There are people who can handle “The Hunger Games” emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I don’t think it is sinful or against God and Christianity, if you condone this movie or the books. more »
—Jamie, age 14 (USA)
Negative—I won’t spend money promoting unchristian ideas. As a grade 6-8 teacher, the school librarian recommended reading the book, when it came out, since it was the latest in young adult titles. I read the first, which reminded me of a film version of a “shoot “em up” video game. I refused to read the sequels. This does not promote Christ’s values. Is this really what we want to teach our children? It’s surprising how many “Christians” fall for anything secular. My faith leads me to teach and promote what is good, healthy and wholesome.
—L Doss, age 35 (USA)
Negative—I have read a lot about this movie, and I can’t help but think that this is just one of Satan’s tools to desensitize the world to murdering Christians. Just like what happened in Rome. The people would get blood-lust, they didn’t put a value on other’s lives. Something to ponder, too: As a movie goer, cheering for the death of Katniss Everdeen’s opponents (who are children) is no better then being a part of the Capitol’s people (who are considered bad) who are thirsty for blood and don’t value life. Would you pay money to see people (Christians, slaves) and animals murdered at the Colosseum in Rome? Addictions start small and grow with time. I’ve heard of several killers who said it started with a movie…
—Jess, age 35 (USA)
Negative—I have read the reviews, on this Web site and others. I would ask one, simple thing: would Jesus be pleased with your seeing the movie? Would Jesus attend the movie with you? Allowing compromise when seeing a movie… to excuse sex, adultery, blasphemous language based on “taste” or “movie making artistry” can often hide a simple fact: we want to see something that is not glorifying to God, or does not edify the viewers. What would Jesus watch? WWJW?
—Casey S, age 46 (USA)
Negative—I agree with Casey S. If Jesus would be grieved, then why do I have any business contemplating whether to see it at all? One look at any movie review or information should either trigger the green light in our hearts automatically or the red light automatically. How a Christian would have to even take a moment to think about it is sad.
—Kimberlyb., age 16 (USA)
Positive—I don’t understand how this film can be viewed as Satanic. Some negative reviewers are making it seem like just because kids kill other kids, that’s the main point and it’s glorified. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m on the second book, and in no way is the point of these books to teach kids how to kill other kids, just for entertainment. The entire point of dystopian books is to show how it’s wrong. The characters know it’s wrong, and regret having to kill other people, regardless of whether they’re kids or not.

Do we as Christians even know how we would react in a situation like that? Would we kill others, or would we just let them kill us? We have no idea, and that’s what the books make us think about, and the movie just shows it on a screen. There is regret shown by all the main characters about the world they live in. Plus, we have to realize that it is just fiction. The idea of kids killing kids does in no way mean that kids in real life will all of the sudden think it is okay to kill kids or any other human being.

I think this movie is a great way to make people think, and as a Christian, I see nothing wrong with seeing it.
—Joshua, age 21 (USA)
Negative—I haven’t seen the movie or read the books, but for any Christian to pay to see a story about people getting killed for sport, and call that entertainment, then that sends a really bad message to the world that Christians enjoy violent movies just as much as the world does. Even if it had a “G” rating, violence is violence. Would you show this in church?
—Andre Wallace, age 37 (USA)
Negative—My family decided to bring home “The Hunger Games” (they are all Christians, too), and as soon as the film began, I felt such a heaviness, as if the Holy Spirit was telling me “this is evil. Do not watch this.” as the movie went on ten minutes, the heaviness got stronger, and I had to walk out the room. I know in my Spirit that God is NOT okay with this movie. The word says that we can be in the world, but “not of the world,” I choose to please God “not man.”
—Julia Grace, age 24 (USA)
Negative—First of all, I would like to acknowledge that I did not view this movie, nor do I think I ever will, because of what it caused me. After my teenage cousins and friends (keep in mind, they are strong Christians too) watched this movie and read the books, they recommended it for me to see, because, in their words, it was “totally awesome.” One cousin in particular asked me to view it with her one day, and I understand she was trying to be nice. But, you see, my parents have a very strict—and sensible policy—that they need to preview any PG-13 movies that we want to watch beforehand, as to make sure there is no inappropriate material obviously not meant for believers in Jesus Christ contained in it. When I explained this to my friend, she was angry with me for refusing to watch it. It was as if I was being punished for *NOT* disobeying my parents” rules. I could have completely went against my parents” wishes and secretly watched the movie with her, but I specifically chose not to because—(a) if my Mom and Dad found out, I would be in enormous trouble, and (b), most importantly, they would be crushed that I had disobeyed them. And, above all, Jesus Christ would be pained that I had disobeyed them, too.

I won’t be watching this movie anytime soon, not only due to the fact that a strong friendship was broken with my cousin, but also because I doubt God would appreciate me watching something that some people call an allegory to Jesus Christ going to die in place for our sins. If this heinous movie is considered that… then I am appalled. This movie is about teen girls and boys being forced to mercilessly kill one another or be killed themselves. How is watching this movie pleasing to God in *ANY* way? This poor-excuse-for-Godly entertainment, when broken down, was not meant in any way to be a story written for Christians. Nor were the books, no matter how well-written people claim them to be. more »
—Claire, age 15 (USA)

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