Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fr. Kevin Reviews "The Hunger Games."

As a pastor, "The Hunger Games" message is loud and clear. This movie is a prophetic warning of what a godless, totally secular culture produces--a society that is barbarous, inhumane, and void of all virtue.  What we hunger for is the good.  I highly recommend this movie. 

I believe the Church in its very cultural mandate (Genesis 1:20-2:3) and commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is the steward of the arts and culture.  When my daughter told me she went and saw the movie three times, I decided to discover what author Suzanne Collins' trilogy is tapping into, and why those who will lead America into the future are responding to her message.  
While some Christians will not want to see a violent movie, I do not agree with this sort of pacifism and denial.  We need to face the reality of the America that the next generations will live in if our course is not changed.

“The Hunger Games” tells the story of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen's struggle for survival after she volunteers to take her sister's place in her country's annual “hunger games.”

Ruled by the wealthy and authoritarian Capitol, the impoverished Twelve Districts within the country must annually offer its children as tributes to take part in a live television broadcast of an arena battle to the death. The gruesome killings between the children serve as a reminder of the Capitol's absolute power and as punishment for the Districts' failed rebellion decades earlier.
However, as the events in the arena unfold, Katniss and her teammate Peeta begin to rise against the Capitol through attempting to maintain their humanity.
My take on "Hunger Games" is it is a modern remake of Greek myth that is a satirical and philosophical indictment of the results of a secular culture.  The abusive intimidating treatment of citizens by government to control while putting on appearances of being civilized speaks to the cost of a culture without virtue.  Culturally, the movie speaks to the absurdity of the worst (not all) reality shows and the entertainment industry that profit from audiences who are masochistic barbarians having lost human decency finding pleasure in the pain of others.
The point of the movie is to invite you to become decent human beings and disrupt a corrupt godless secular society.  We, like the heroes Katniss, Peeta and their home districts need to put racial, social, and even religious differences aside to resist the warped and evil barbaric society.  Evil can be pushed back through self sacrifice, outsmarting the central planners of government (the control room) with a well planned strategy (Haymitch and Cinna), and overcoming savage evil with moral goodness.

The central theme of the movie is human scapegoating to try and make sense of a world that makes no sense apart from God.  Scapegoating blames an individual or group of people for the fears and anxieties of a society when God is not there.  The Aztecs, ancient Romans, Nazi Germany, and communism exemplify how un-civilization occurs when virtue is not present or fades away.  
Jesus Christ removed the need for scapegoating in his sacrificial volunteering to take our place in death--the message of Katniss.

The question I am left with is after paying $8.00 to support the very industry the movie indicts by watching a graphic movie--is the joke really on me?  I think not.  In fact, I think this movie redeems entertainment. 

Philosophy aside, great cast, technically well done, well acted, well written. 

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