Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Hated the Hunger Games


I saw The Hunger Games last night. It was well filmed, well acted, and the story was captivating. But I hated it. I found the merciless killing of children horrific. The themes of the movie contained massive amounts of disturbing images: brutal murder of children by children. It contained a terrific (the “ter” meaning terrible) picture of human nature. But it was a true picture of human nature.

Looking at the movie in our modern context, I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between The Hunger Games and William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies, which both comment on the undoubted reality that human nature is totally depraved, and both use the most “innocent” in society, children, as the example to prove the point. Human nature has been the same since the fall of the world. Prior, God had made everything good and right. Post fall, humans have turned the truth of God around. Cowardice is exalted as bravery. Everything is backwards; our world, our thinking, our values. As Isaiah 1:6 says, “From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it…”

It is strange to me that I heard no negative remarks from Christians about how terrible the movie was. The movie was true, but terrible no less. As I left the theater I was thinking about how great the movie was; how great it was filmed, how great it was acted, and what the next movie would be like. However, as Christians, we need to come into every aspect of our life challenging ourselves to think with a Christian worldview. If we left this movie thinking about the entertaining sequel (as I did), perhaps something is horribly wrong with our view of entertainment.

I think this movie strikes on something profound in our cultural context. People love the idea of gory, brutal violence. They love the idea of the gladiators. The popularity of UFC, boxing, and WWE is a testament to this. Brutal violence awakes something in us, something desperately wicked. But, we’ve “evolved” since Roman times. Now we can simply watch it on television, satisfying our consciences to believe that it’s not actually real. But there is a real question that needs to be asked of every Christian: are we gratifying the desires of the sinful flesh in loving the entertainment factor of this movie and other violent programming at cost of seeing the violence for what it really is? Christians have told me: These books are page turners; I couldn’t put this book down; the movie’s really good. But no one has said anything about what the book tells us about human nature. No one has talked about the cost of the entertainment value; us seeing children killing each other, brutal killing for no reason.

The same thing happens with CSI and shows like it. Everything is about the story, ignoring the disgusting sin of it. We all like a good story, but at what cost? Have we become so callous to sin for the sake of a good story? Does violence and murder mean nothing to us any longer?

There are redeeming factors in the movie. Katniss’ sacrificial love of her sister, and the love between her and Rue. Katniss only kills when she needs to. The government contains a massive obligation to maintain justice, or they will become tyrannical.

But these redeeming factors dim in comparison to how our culture has accepted it as “good entertainment”. As Christians, our approach to culture should be cautious. Our desires for entertainment should never trump our desire to look at things the way that God looks at things, for we have the mind of Christ!

I take comfort in the fact that this world will only last for a little longer. Soon the Messiah will come, upon the clouds, just as he did when he left. And he will make everything right. Justice dwells at God’s right hand. God will punish the evildoer. He will separate the sheep and the goats. Therefore let us not harden our hearts. Let us not be seared in our consciences. Let us be grieved at what God is grieved by.

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this article Mark! I have struggled to know how to react to this series. When I saw it in the theater, I was disturbed when the theater audience reacted in loud cheers as a child killed another child. I left feeling like I had studied human nature, I did not feel like I had been entertained, and it disgusted me what entertainment value I did get out of it. The reality is that we are-I am- the capital. -Lorissa

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    1. Thanks for the response Lorissa. It is truly sickening how depraved our natures are. Your response provokes a question: How much can we enjoy something for entertainment sakes?

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  2. Did you read the book? Your point is the point of her novel perhaps misconstrued when put on film.

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    1. I have not read the book(s), which I have heard are a much better representation of what the author was trying to say beyond entertainment value. The movie failed at this, I think.

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  4. No offense, Mark, but you aren't supposed to like the concept of the story. The authors whole point in the series of the book is how our society is watching violence on tv (news and not) and not thinking anything of it. That our government has a place but we aren't standing up and holding them accountable. My mother was sitting next to me in the theater whispering how awful the idea was throughout the entire movie, and then when she walked out realized that the point of the movie was not to glorify children killing each other but to point out how dangerously close to that society that we really are.

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    1. Point noted. The blog was not about "liking" the story (as far as children dying) but rather about the response in classifying THG as "good entertainment" without the proper analysis of a Christian perspective. Also, this post was not about the books, rather about the movie. At no place in the blog did I say that THG glorified violence.

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