Hello, I'm JJ, a mom, grandma even a great grandma. With so many children in my life, I am often asked what I think of a movie regarding how old a child should be to see it, in my opinion. I will admit I was not looking forward to this particular film, however, I decided to watch it at home so I could have an answer ready when asked. Little did I know it would change ME. Please, bear with me with an open heart and mind.
I watched the movie three times and here's why. First, I watched for the reason I mentioned above. Though it involved fighting and killing, the cameras didn't dwell on serious injuries or death, so after that first viewing, I felt for maybe anyone over the age of ten or eleven, it would be fine. (I will regret that first impression for the rest of my life). The next day, I decided to give it another try, just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Having seen it just the day before, the plot and the actors were familiar to me. This time, I actually found myself rooting for the eventual winner, and thinking the snotty smug kids deserved what they got. WHAT? Children being killed by other children got what they deserved! I was so ashamed of myself I was sickened. The third viewing was maybe a search for absolution, tough I doubt it may ever come.
Though I truly hope you will stay away in droves, I won't give away anything the book, movie trailers and ads have not already told you. But the story goes like this; following a civil uprising against a corrupt and evil Capitol, a terrible war broke out. The premise is that once mankind arose from the devastation of this war, they decided to honor the peace by holding annual mandatory Hunger Games in restitution for the war that had been probably at least 75 or more years before. Not only was it mandatory for each district to send two of their children, a boy and girl as "tributes" between the ages of 12 and 18, chosen by lottery, they were forced to a public arena in the Capitol to fight to the death. The entire country was ordered to view this "reality" show. Not any of these tributes or even in some cases their parents and maybe even grandparents were born until after the war. But they kept paying the ultimate price for it as a way for the corrupt evil government to intimidate the people. You realize quickly into the movie, that this is a post apocalyptic America now called Panem. Rather than fifty states, the country is now divided into "districts". These children fight to the death, until one lone victor remains who is then "bathed in riches." That means that leading up to these 74th annual Hunger Games, 1,679 childred have already died at the hands of other children! I'm just stunned!
My first viewing was to see if it was too gory or too bloody for kids. I din't think it was too bad for older pre-teens and up. What on EARTH was I thinking? Then I saw it again and shamefully rooted for the under dogs, and wasn't all that upset when the snotty smug tributes got what they deserved? Heaven help me.
The night after my second viewing, I had a revelation of my own that will change me forever. I watched it for the third time the next day. During the third viewing, I fianlly got my head on straight. I felt violated, exploited, duped, and desensitized. I spent a lot of time searching my brain and my heart to find what had made me actually think ANYTHING about this movie was OK for ANYONE EVER!
The word, desensitizing, is exactly the right word for what has happened to me and know it or not, YOU TOO. I thought of 911 and how for a long while, the video of those towers coming down did NOT show people jumping or falling from over 100 story buildings after the attacks. They thougt we couldn't handle that. But, little by little, more and more graphic immages crept in, until the only thing we haven't seen yet is the actual carnage on the streets! Desensitizing; introducing unimaginable things little by little until you're so used to it you're ready to accept more. I remember when the CSI and like shows started. Some were so gory and stomach turning, they actually dialed them back a notch but as with the 9/11 videos, they slowly ramped up the violence and gore until seeing a severed head doesn't even bother us now where only a few years back, we'd have been sick seeing it! But it's only a television program right? WRONG! It is systematic desensitization of viewers to the point where an average midwestern grandma found the first and second viewings of the Hunger Games NOT upsetting? Kids killing kids, but not upsetting? WHAT the...?
Look, Hitler didn't manage to occupy so much of Europe all at once. He did it slowly and steadily. He also didn't destroy 6 million innocent Jewish people in a week. It took a long time to desensitize ordinary people like you and like me, so they would be able to do unspeakable things to others.
CHILDREN KILLING CHILDREN is unacceptable be it for real, or in a movie. PERIOD! That is the thing that people who have or may see this terrible film will miss if not vigilent. I beseech you to reconsider supporting this film. It's horrible, the idea of it is horrible, and you will not, like me, like yourelf after seeing it then having the reality of it all finally hitting you. I even think those who have read the book and found themselves not really disgusted and upset will be in for a personal soul searching one of these days.
Think of some of the reality shows currently on TV. We tune in to watch women, who technically aren't real housewives by definition, ripping each other apart, being vicious and vindictive, marriages breaking up, friendships broken, not ONE good thing has come from those shows. Then, there is the reality show with way too many seasons already, where people are dumped into a virtual deserted area with no basic human necessities, to try to outlast the others then being awarded a million dollars if they survive starvation, dehydration, being voted off the island, even with several serious accidents having already occured and dangerous tasks undertaken. That program is so close to having a death occur, I can't believe it hasn't happened yet. It isn't even a matter anymore of IF it happens, it's a matter of WHEN one of them will be killed or die of malnutrition or even exposure or injury. Yet another "reality" show sends teams of two, racing dangerously around the world, with lone victors being rewarded quite hansomely! THINK ABOUT IT, HOW FAR AWAY ARE WE? How blood thirsty have we as a society already become?
WAKE UP AMERICA before we are all so desensitized we lose our values and forget the difference between right and wrong.
I'm not urging you to avoid the Hunger Games because you may be upset by it. I'm urging you to avoid it because I am terrified you WON'T be.