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The Hunger Games: Will You Be Watching?

With Harry Potter off the big screen and Twilight at the tail end of its story, we’re now being offered the film version of another teen series, The Hunger Games.

The movie is based on the book series of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It tells the story of 16-year-old Katniss, who lives in an impoverished society dictated by its government. The story centers around a “game” in which twenty-four teens are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to live in fame and fortune. When Katniss’ younger sister’s name is chosen, Katniss courageously steps in to take her place.

Watch the trailer:

If it all sounds a little barbaric, that’s because it is. But that’s the point of the games. The Hunger Games has become a very popular series. With its action, adventure, and fight between good and evil, it makes for a fulfilling story.

But as with all of these franchise book series, controversy seems to follow. With Harry Potter it was witchcraft; with Twilight, the undead and inappropriate sexual content; and with The Hunger Games series, the violence.

Many parents have complained that this new series promotes violence between children. It’s also thought to be desensitizing. This means there’s so much violence in the story that children who read (and eventually watch) it will be so used to it, they’ll think nothing of its graphic nature. They’ll no longer be emotionally affected by it.

I personally am concerned with the extent of the violence. My question is, what is the point of it? The book’s storyline is a unique one, but it seems a shame that it involves the death of so many children in a manner that’s so unnecessary. And this story is intended for children? With video games and television shows offering graphic images and storylines, I tend to agree that the media is slowly desensitizing its viewers, especially children.

I’m not suggesting there shouldn’t be violence in stories. Sometimes elements of bad behavior and violence are needed to make a point. But when a story includes it excessively, then its intention is not to make a point, but to add shock value.

The Hunger Games opens in theaters on the 23rd. As with Harry Potter and Twilight, I’m sure there are millions anticipating its release. Are you planning on watching it? Have you read the books? What do you think about the violence?

Image: Murray Close/Lionsgate Entertainment

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169 Comments

  1. martial_artist_for_Jesus

    Posted by martial_artist_for_Jesus on March 9, 2015 at 15:00

    I’m a fan of The Hunger Games, but I think it wasn’t meant for KIDS to read…. that’s why it’s considered, “young adult fiction” 😉 . But it’s really, really good, not all about violence. A lot of it’s about taking a stand for what you believe in, specifically against corrupt government.

  2. livylu316

    Posted by livylu316 on October 28, 2013 at 17:25

    Yes, I am quite a fan of the hunger games. But the violence isn’t unnecessary, it’s to prove a point. That point is that our society today is so numb to violence and America is caught up in our own little bubble. This story is about taking a stand to the wrong in this world, violence, not only in our media but in other countries around us. So, yes while the story has violence, it is to open your eyes to all the wrong in this world today, not just violence for the sake of violence.

  3. Sydney_Andrews

    Posted by Sydney_Andrews on October 24, 2013 at 06:09

    While some of it was a little shaking, I really did enjoy the movie. Being an older sister to a little sister, I can understand where Katniss is coming from, trying to protect Prim. I’m a bit of a romantic so the cave scene… oh my gosh. And I did almost pee my pants when the mutts jumped out… yea. I know I’m going to cry in Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by carole@parentingfromthesource.com on April 3, 2013 at 13:41

    Thank you, Nicole, for taking a stand against the violent movie, Hunger Games.
    I read the first book. It is well written and riveting. I could not put it down.
    I think that younger than fourteen should not read it. I know kids much younger are indeed reading the books and going to the movie.
    If I still had a teen at home, I would read the book and then allow her to read it so we could discuss it in light of our faith and our family beliefs.
    I would not want a teen of mine to read it without the opportunity to discuss it with a parent. Using the book to open dialogue in the family is a positive side of a book like Hunger Games.
    Again, thanks for your stand.
    Carole A. Bell, Licensed Professional Counselor

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by BlankCanvas-025 on November 27, 2012 at 18:16

    The violence was very well done in the movie, and not in the least excessive.

  6. b337

    Posted by b337 on November 18, 2012 at 19:49

    Personally I don’t think it’s that bad. I’m not into all the violent video games and I defiantly don’t like Harry Potter or Twilight but I love the Hunger Games. I don’t think these books were necessarily intended for young children and I think they should be AT LEAST in 7th grade before they read the books. A lot of people say the movie was pushing an R rating because of all the violence but I just didn’t see it. I mean yes there was quite a bit of blood and violence but no more than any other PG-13 movie. I think the books have a very important message in them and they are a good read for older, MATURE kids and teens.

  7. Danceforjesus23

    Posted by Danceforjesus23 on November 16, 2012 at 23:33

    Before I read the books, I thought they would be horrible! I mean come on! Children fighting to the death? Really? But I knew I couldn’t have a valid opinion about them until I read them. Now I LOVE them! People seem to think that the books are just about kids killing kids, but that’s only part of it. There is so much more! And about the violence…If anything reading the books and watching the movie has, as I call it, De-desensitized me to some level. I think Suzanne Collins point in writing about kids being killed is because it makes it personal to the readers. You start to care about these kids. You might be the same age as some of them, or have a similar life. For example, Rue reminded me of my cousin who is like a little sister to me. This way instead of some person in armor being killed in a video game, or a character who has no real meaning to you being killed in a movie, it’s people you can relate to. It could BE you! It gets kids thinking.

  8. DanceforJesus

    Posted by DanceforJesus on November 13, 2012 at 11:39

    I know that this was written awhile ago but when I came across it I had to say something. First of all I have read the books and seen the movie. I agree with this article that it was too violent for my taste. But one thing i want to poing out is that Katniss did not stay pure until her marriage. She is not a role model that I would want. She can’t make up her mind about which guy and she keeps just playing games with them. I also thought whe was disrespctful to her mother at times. The thing that made me the saddest though was as i mentioned before she is not at all pure and is seen as a role model by SO many! That’s my opinion and I believe that Mrs. Collins had a great idea for a book but some of the bad things she included shrouded the good qualities that can be found in Katniss.

    • Sydney_Andrews

      Posted by Sydney_Andrews on October 24, 2013 at 06:16

      Wait did I miss something? I know she kissed Peeta and Gale, but I don’t think it went above that. And I do agree she was disrespectful to her mother but then reconciled with her.
      And as a big sister to my little sister, I kinda feel like I have a connection to Katniss, in a way that I’d want to protect my little sister as well.
      And I think many girls look up to her because she’s not the cookie-cutter image that most girls see all the time now, and the way she stays strong during hard times.
      I do agree with the points you made, but at the same time there is a bigger picture to them all.

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by rynn1995 on November 7, 2012 at 20:44

    I think the scene where Katniss mourns Rue, along with other pieced, show that while this society (a satire of our own) makes light of violence, it is serious. Real people die.

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by liv4christ on October 23, 2012 at 13:30

    The Hunger Games is a fantastic movie. It is not nearly as violent as it could be based off of the content of the book, and the story really has some very relevant ideas that are lined up with God’s word, such as not conforming to what the world wants you to do. One of the main characters said “I want to be more than just a piece in their games.” While the movie is somewhat violent, it is not as morbid as many people think it could be, and I agree with purplson, it is meant to prove a point!

  11. Project Inspired

    Posted by on September 22, 2012 at 18:16

    The Hunger Games is a dystopia for goodness sake! It’s supposed to show a world where things are horribly, horribly wrong! Violence is not promoted; you are supposed to be horrified by this treatment of children! Learn how to read critically, Ladies.

    The screaming fankids and desensitized middle schoolers are the result of bad parenting, not the book itself.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by teenreaders on October 24, 2012 at 06:51

      First, give the series a chance. The old saying, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ is true and plays a strong part here in this story. If you really want to see what it’s all about then read the book. No one is going to force you to watch the movie or read the book.

      Violence is everywhere, unfortunately. People see and hear about violence all the time. Does the News and Newspapers desensitize us to war and violence? The News sells violence because that is what people want to here. We rarely here the good things in the world because the bad things are always more exciting, yet the News is not in question, a fictional book series is.

      The Hunger Games: We love you real good!

  12. Project Inspired

    Posted by Katerina on September 2, 2012 at 10:56

    Yeah, it got a little bloody, but nowhere near the average superhero movie, and at least this series is questioning the existence of such brutality instead of simply presenting it. Personally, I thought it was an awesome book series and that the movie stayed pretty close to the 1st book.

  13. Project Inspired

    Posted by 333loves on July 29, 2012 at 01:01

    i saw the movie and LOVED IT!

  14. Skittle1524

    Posted by Skittle1524 on July 21, 2012 at 09:39

    I have read all 3 book. I don’t like the violence but it has a good plot. Katniss voluntered so Prim wouldn’t have to go. Plus Josh Hutcherson is in it <3!!!!!

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Katerina on September 2, 2012 at 10:59

      Josh Hutcherson for the win! Peeta was my favorite character, too! 🙂

  15. BreadBoyForever

    Posted by BreadBoyForever on June 22, 2012 at 23:21

    I love it, and Katniss like God, was willing to give her life, to save her sisters, or us. Use the Hunger Games to witness! and, if you dont like it, dont read or watch it. 🙂 🙂

  16. Project Inspired

    Posted by Attie the Jesus Freak on June 14, 2012 at 15:16

    My Christian friend watched the movie and read the books. She said they were KINDA violent, but as long as we remember OUR duties as Christians and don’t let it go to our heads, we can handle it. But I understand the concerns…….. I’m not aloud to read them either.

  17. ruthie27064Him

    Posted by ruthie27064Him on June 12, 2012 at 11:41

    I think the controversy of the Hunger Games is fascinating! I know a guy, a friend of the family, who works in full time ministry, good, good, Christian. He said that when he watched it, it made his spirit sick. (I understand that, it happens to me a lot.) But when I watched the movie, the violence didn’t bother me at all. I read the books first, and when I heard they were gonna make a movie, I figured it would be rated R because of how violent the book was. The movies are nothing compared to the books, and the Hunger Games is not all about violence.

    I also heard two elderly ladies talking about it, and they said that it sounded awful, because it was so violent, and that it promoted children to kill each other. That is simply not it. It’s about the conflict of war, how there’s a gray area in your morals, and which side are you going to be on in that kind of revolution.

    I understand the appeal that it has towards teens, our generation has been more, let’s say “exposed” than our parents or grandparents. I was talking with my mom about it a while back, and we theorized that parents and grandparents are more sensitive towards the Hunger Games because they have/had teens, and wouldn’t want their children to go through something that horrendous.

    Personally, I would recommend the Hunger Games – as a teen – because I liked the books. They’re thought provoking, they cause you to choose between right and wrong, and there is that conflict. They’re emotional, dramatic, and well written. If books had rating, I would rate the Hunger Games M for Mature. And of course it depends on the person, some people are more sensitive than others, etc. So read at your own discretion.
    Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. 🙂
    God bless.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by teenreaders on October 24, 2012 at 05:47

      As teen readers reading the book in our 8th grade class right now, it contains several ideas about morality and a sense of right and wrong, good and evil. It is a book and movie; ENTERTAINMENT! It seems pretty simple, if you don’t like the book you don’t have to read it. How about you rewrite and get rid of the so called violence that draws so much controversy. If you think the movie is so bad, don’t watch it. It’s Hollywood and they are going to make it how they want. It is a fictional story. We actually do not live under the Capitol rule so you are not being forced to watch the movie 24/7. We actually do have choices.

  18. Project Inspired

    Posted by Jadejam on May 26, 2012 at 10:21

    I have watched the Hunger games and I think that it was a great movie but some of the vioence could have been a little more milder. I would not want my little brother to watch this movie I think it could give liitle kids bad ideas.

  19. Project Inspired

    Posted by ckemp on May 21, 2012 at 16:55

    honestly i have seen the movie and it really isn’t that bad i is actually a great movie! But you have to keep in mind: these kids are killing each because they have to because what was once a beautiful free place called the U.S.A. is now not a free or beautiful place called Panem where the leaders try to make everyone remember their power by killing their children, yes it is barbaric but that’s because that’s the “bad guy” of the story I mean Hitler killed people did he not?? and the story does not promote the killing they actually are fighting to end it!! Now the movie does have a PG-13 rating which i think should be followed if you can’t keep the things i have said in mind and all you focus on is the killing of kids or the violence then watching the movie wouldn’t be a good thing for you. All these people judging it without having read it are hypocrites i thought it was barbaric but decided to try it for myself and found out it’s actually a really good story!! Hope this helped! 🙂

  20. Project Inspired

    Posted by prolife4life on May 18, 2012 at 22:54

    i have seen it 3 times and i think their is nothing wrong with it i don’t think i promotes violence in fact it does the opposite by showing the horror and disgust of murder to think that its encouraging it is silly its spiritual and a wonderful movie

  21. Project Inspired

    Posted by shellbeekate on April 22, 2012 at 11:09

    Truly, The Hunger Games isn’t that violent. I read them after reading the Iliad….and it doesn’t even compare to the violence in the Iliad! Sure, there’s killing and blood…but there’s also killing and blood in the Bible! Violence is not always horrible and scary and just downright non-Christian. If you have a problem with violence…then you don’t have to watch the movies at all. I think that if you are strong in your faith and pray about it before you decide to watch the movie or read the books, it’ll be ok.

  22. Project Inspired

    Posted by elliejean on April 17, 2012 at 11:47

    the more violence i read in the book the more i hated the capital and wanted Katniss to win. I know there was a lot of violence but i really liked the book and the movie… it is so hard to find a action filled romance with out all of the sex crap. loved the movie… so good. Jennifer and Josh were amazing!

  23. Project Inspired

    Posted by Avalon on April 15, 2012 at 15:15

    I’m around 16, and my mom does not want me to watch/read the hunger games. She says it’s about kids haveing to kill there friends.I’ve tried evey thing to get her to let me read it, but she still says the same. My mom can’t understand why christian moms & dads are letting there kids read stuff like that. And I’m okay about not being able to read/watch the stuff, It’s just a fad. Hopfully it will die down someday.

  24. Project Inspired

    Posted by Maxine_Anthony on April 8, 2012 at 15:20

    It has bible prophecy in it! I think everyone should see it.
    Think about it the microchips? Checkout the mark of the beast! Fighting til the death? another one. And the Dogs, Just like Demon Dogs bible prophecy

  25. Purplson

    Posted by Purplson on April 3, 2012 at 16:04

    Honestly, I think the book has re synthesized me. Its showing how used to violence our culture is. I believe the Capitol is written as a satire to first world countries, and I am not proud of it. The violence is used to prove a point. The more violence that shows up in the books, the more the people want it to end. I also think another theme is people’s desire to do the right thing. Thanks for reading this 🙂

    • horse-lover

      Posted by horse-lover on September 29, 2012 at 09:44

      I agree. I personally thought the books and the movie were awesome.

  26. Project Inspired

    Posted by asmarathe1 on April 3, 2012 at 11:56

    I have yet to see the movie. But I might agree with the excessive violence. However, you have to keep in mind that in books, things start off bad so they can get better. I think the only reason why people are concerned is because young adults are doing the fighting. That wouldn’t “harden the hearts” of young teens to me. It would be a wake up call. My parents personnally don’t like it because they think it’s saying killing is okay. It simply doesn’t do that. Sure, the bad tributes don’t mind it, but so do the bad guys in any other movie. I really hope if your a parent trying to give the seal of approval for their kids, please read the book so you understand it first.