More Violence in Coming Attractions Than in The Hunger Games...a "Things That Make Me Go Hmmm" post

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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?
Photo sources:
"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


  1. Yes, there is far more violence in tv and movies today. We are becoming more desensitized and every so often someone has to do something bigger just to get attention.

    On a side note: as I was watching the movie, whenever a Tribute died (usually the lesser appealing ones, such as Marvel), people in the audience actually CHEERED. Did they not get the entire point of The Hunger Games? They may just fit in well with the Capitol folk.

  2. I saw the movie yesterday. I rarely go to the cinema (only movie planned this year was "The Hobbitt"), but my 14 almost 15 year-old had pleaded his case well (plus he'd read the book; I'm now on page 33 as I write this). The trailer I had seen made most parts of the movie recognizable and I did see similar trailers (G.I. Joe, Dark Shadows and some movie with Johnny Depp as a vampire; none of which I'll see, but the new Amazing Spiderman I will probably have to see because of my youngest who I had bought everything Spiderman and Venom).

    I'm a 40-year-old father and have see A LOT of movies of all genres, but even I winced at the seemingly gratuitous "bloodbath" that occurred at the beginning of the games (turning to my wife to my right who had a similar expression of distaste; she's heading to a funeral today, but I sent her on with my one of the 3 Nooks so she could begin reading the book).

    So, yes, I liked the movie, but from what I've read so far, the book seems like it is going to convey the author's message quite a bit better. I have the next 2 in the series loaded and look forward to seeing what happens next.


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