The Religious Right’s go-to movie review group, Movieguide, is not happy with The Hunger Games. Movieguide, a website dedicated to offering “in-depth analyses of current movies from a biblical perspective,” is also politically active. At May Day 2010, for instance, its president Ted Baehr urged conservative Christians to take the societal “mountain of arts and entertainment” and insisted that in order to reverse the “homosexualization of the culture,” politicians who support marriage equality should be tried and punished.
In its review of The Hunger Games, Movieguide wasn’t just upset about the violence in the PG-13 film but also worried about its “homosexual and cross-dressing implications” and characters who act “effeminately.” The group seems to completely miss the movie’s messages about societal oppression and how people can become desensitized to violence, even claiming that the dictatorship at the center of the film is not rebuked “strongly enough”:
Strong but not extremely explicit or very overt humanist worldview with some Romantic elements, plus light moral elements such as protagonist protects her younger sister, some strong elements suggesting opposition to totalitarian dictatorship, and some homosexual and cross-dressing implications where men in a large city wear makeup and gaudy outfits and a minor character acts effeminately; three profanities and five obscenities; very strong violence includes children kill children with knives, swords, bows and arrows, not always shown but with blood implied, girl is burned, youngest child is killed by bow stabbing right through her, adults get into fights and destroy buildings, mutated dogs eat boy, girl beaten against wall, and girls fight and one gets slashed on cheek; no sex scenes but some kissing and kissing on cheek, plus some homosexual cross-dressing where men of large city are in makeup and gaudy outfits; no nudity; drinking and drunkenness; no smoking or drugs, but bug stings girl and she hallucinates for two days; and, dysfunctional family implied as mother has left children and father is not alive, lying, mentor for children is an alcoholic, government plays propaganda, and a dictatorship but it’s implicitly rebuked though not strongly enough.
Movieguide’s David Outten and Tom Snyder go on to maintain that the movie and book trilogy will lead to school shootings. Warning that the movie “rejects” and “neglects America’s Christian heritage,” Outten and Snyder say the film will exacerbate America’s cultural degradation. The popularity of The Hunger Games, they write, could even make “a tyrannical leader like Nero or Hitler” become “a distinct possibility for the land of the free and the home of the brave”:
Are there really millions of Americans hungry to watch a movie where children fight each other to the death? Yes, it’s a movie. The actors who “die” in the movie actually get paid and live to make more movies. Even so, the spectacle is still all about children being forced to kill one another.
Is that what we want school children discussing over lunch? Children killing each other?
Few children who buy tickets to THE HUNGER GAMES will ever kill anyone, but it only takes a few. Horror stories of school killings, including a recent event in a Cleveland, Ohio school, often reveal similarities to movies the killers enjoyed.
What Americans need to realize is that the values that keep the rulers of the United States from doing things like forcing children to fight each other to the death are Christian values. The values that ended the death matches in Rome were Christian values. The values that ended slavery in England were Christian values. And, the values that should be crying out against such violence in movies like THE HUNGER GAMES are Christian values.
America has long been on the road to rejecting the Christian, biblical values that made republican virtues, hard work, capitalist progress, and liberty a beacon of light to a dying, hurting world.
Consequently, our culture, including the mass media that creates our culture, is filled with misguided leaders who want to completely change God’s definition of marriage, make pornography available to children or at least teenagers, keep every teenager constantly supplied with boxes of condoms, and steal money from the taxpayers to re-distribute that hard-earned money to freeloaders, loons, rich union goons, and radical activists.
THE HUNGER GAMES is supposed to be mere fantasy, but it seems like part of the problem. If one of the biggest movies of the year so far rejects or neglects America’s Christian heritage, then maybe a tyrannical leader like Nero or Hitler has indeed become a distinct possibility for the land of the free and the home of the brave.