MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Lionsgate Films
Directed by Francis Lawrence. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second film in a four-film series, based on three best-selling YA books by Suzanne Collins. Set in a dystopian future in the country of Panem, in which brutal fight-to-the-death games are staged on television by the government to distract a population from its everyday misery, the story sounds depressing and hopeless.
But it’s not hopeless at all, since this saga has a heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), who is able to make moral choices in the midst of oppression. She first entered the games to take the place of her younger sister (Willow Shields) and now, as a former winner of the Hunger Games, has the misfortune of being officially entered in the 75th Anniversary Quarter Quell. These games are the Super Bowl of Hunger Games, pitting past tributes against each other. This time, however, there’s a variety of ages in the competition, since former child tributes have grown into adults. The training is more rigorous, the combatants better prepared to fight, and the game play more challenging.
Katniss has always had a couple of love interests including Peeta (Hutcherson), her teammate, and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), the boyfriend from back home. But Katniss is her own person; survival is far more important than romance, and she will do her best to keep herself and her friends alive. This installment introduces some new characters, ably portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, and Jena Malone.
Like many franchises, this movie assumes that you have either seen the first film or have read the book. Don’t bother buying a ticket to this one unless you’ve been to Panem before. And, like the book it’s based on, this movie just leaves you hanging from the cliff, so you will have to wait for the next film. Fortunately, it’s just one year away.
When Jesus came to the world, he proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God and was met by opposition from political and religious leaders. Even though he died on a cross, his resurrection and his offer of sacrificial love have continued to be a force to encourage persons to take a stand for what is right and to pay the price for that love, when necessary. The Hunger Games series is all about making the right choices and choosing to care about others above self-interest. Even though God is not mentioned in the films, there is much to admire in its heroic characters. These films are great discussion starters as well as solid entertainment. As always, I encourage parents to preview PG-13 films before taking kids to the movies. Better yet, get in the habit of watching movies together and discussing every film that you see. There’s always a message in the movies if you are willing to talk about it.
Four halos: The second installment of an entertaining and thought-provoking story of moral choices.
Three pitchforks: While not as brutal as the first film, all of the violence and totalitarianism remain intact; scenes of alcoholism; some mild suggestive language and off-screen nudity.
I saw both the first and second movie. Neither impressed me personally. I suppose my age, 69, has much to do with my opinion. I though the second movie was basically mindless dribble. If we think we can find any real direction about making good moral choices in today`s world by watching this movie, may God help us. - Pastor Gary Fitzgerald
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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