Warning: This post does contain spoilers.
As we waited to see the movie "The Hunger Games" (my second viewing), we were entertained with the customary coming attractions: new movie trailers to temp us back into the theater to see similar shows.
Of those attractions, three stood out: "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter," "G.I. Joe Retaliation," and "Dark Shadows." Not because I particulary enjoyed them. I wouldn't pay money to go see any of those. What struck me was the amount of violent acts shown in just the trailers. (In all fairness, "Dark Shadows" had the least, but the sexual references made up for the lack of them.)
I'm a mom of a 13-year-old boy who went through the Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Hulk, Star Wars, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phases. We had the themed birthday parties, Halloween costumes, and VHS cassettes of the movies and cartoons. I am well aware of the violence shown in those movies and TV shows and had an open dialogue about it with my son while he was growing up. I would say something like, "You know, there's a much better way to solve problems than using violence." Said often enough and modeling it in real life, he got it.
Of course, it didn't stop him from role-playing that he was Spiderman, jumping from building to building and "shooting" the bad guys with his invisible web. When he pointed his "web" fingers at me one time when he was mad, I took away all his toys and grounded him from watching TV. It didn't take him long to realize that there's a difference between "pretend" play and real-life violent gestures.
I am a pacifist. I don't believe in using violence to problem-solve. However, I also understand human nature and the need to use violence for survival. For example, hunting and fishing for food is necessary. And if someone is attacked, obviously self-defense warrants the need to use force for protection.
Playing defense is one thing; it's playing offense--and the reasoning behind it--that I usually question.
That said, I sat there in the theater and wondered why so many people are voicing their concern about the violence in "The Hunger Games" movie, when the message of the book (and movie) is an opposition to violence? There is no glory in the Games. When they are through, you are not cheering for the Victors, you are sobbing for those who died. And for those who had to kill because they will never forget the acts of evil they were forced to commit. The characters are broken, depressed. There is no fanfare except that which is forced upon the Victors and citizens (by the Capitol/President Snow) in the Victory Tour.
Yet, these other movies encourage you to applaud and cheer when they blow up the enemies. That is the wrong message. I didn't hear any outrage or opposition when the "Spiderman," "Batman," "G.I. Joe," "Incredible Hulk," or "Transformers" movies came out. Did you? Were these same people up in arms over those movies that glorify violence?
While watching these coming attractions, I noticed there were more acts of violence in just the trailer from "G.I. Joe" than in the ENTIRE movie "The Hunger Games." Heck, probably more than in the entire book The Hunger Games. And what, exactly, is G.I. Joe's message? Is it one of wanting peace through non-violence? I'm pretty sure it's not.
And yet, that is the message of Suzanne Collins' trilogy.
Katniss chooses NOT to kill Peeta in the end. Peeta chooses NOT to kill Katniss. Both characters chose to act with humanity toward their fellow tributes. Both take a stand against the Capitol, sending the message that this--the Hunger Games--is wrong. Katniss and Peeta are the true role models here.
What do you think?
To read more about my thoughts on the PG-13 rating and message of The Hunger Games, see these posts:
Defense for Teaching The Hunger Games
Connecting The Hunger Games to The Holocaust
Why is the Rating of "The Hunger Games" Movie Questionable?
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" image courtesy of IGN: Image 3574963
"G.I. Joe Retaliation" image courtesy of bigshinyrobot.com
"Dark Shadows" image courtesy of teenspot.com