Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games Hype

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

It seems like The Hunger Games is all over the internet lately, with the movie just coming out. The media's favorite topic is whether the movie is appropriate to allow young children to see. Headlines like "Parents Wrestling Over Whether Hunger Games is For Children" are common.

I've been rolling my eyes in frustration over such articles, which just seem like bids to hook readers to me. I read a couple of them and skimmed over the comments. The majority of the commenters were in favor of the movie, and more or less as frustrated with the articles as I am.

You pretty much see these kinds of articles over any popular movie or book with controversial content with a PG-13 rating. The books are Young Adult dystopians that are admittedly pretty violent. I've read the books and didn't find too much in them that most kids wouldn't read or see in your average book or movie anyway.

I guess the key phrase here is young children. No, The Hunger Games is not appropriate for little kids. I'd treat that the same as with most other PG-13 movies: I'm not planning on taking any of my three youngest kids to see it.

I think it's a non-issue, really, that was summed up in the articles by many commenters: As parents, know the content in question, and know what your kids can handle. As a big fan of the books, knowing the content isn't a problem for me. And I know my 11-year-old can handle the stuff that happens in the movie, so I'll allow her to see it as well.

The theme to The Hunger Games isn't just about violence for violence's sake. It's about what can happen to society when the governing body has no respect at all for human life; and it's about courage and the spirit to fight for what's right despite overwhelming odds. I'm looking forward to an interesting discussion on these themes with my family after we see the movie.

All that said, I'm pretty excited to see it for myself next weekend! I've been looking forward to it for a long time.


What do you think of the hype surrounding the movie, and the age group in question?

7 comments:

  1. I feel like this entire topic is driven almost solely by the fact that the New York Times puts YA novels on the "Children's" list of books. So the public equates "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" and "Before I Fall" with "Percy Jackson" and "Series of Unfortunate Events."

    The first three are plainly young adult novels, all with adult situations, violence and mature themes. No six year old on the planet should be reading them. However, they get lumped in with true children's books and the public at large cannot distinguish between the two and therefore think that a very violent movie is being marketed to six year olds.

    The latest market research showed that the Hunger Games audience had an average age of 26, and more than sixty percent of the audience was over 21. Kids are not seeing this movie. Kids are not reading these books.

    And I'm with you: I'm really tired of the media latching onto these YA stories and calling them "tween" stories or "kids" stories. They're neither.

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  2. I watched the movies at the midnight premier with my teenagers. It was amazing, and perfect for them.

    I WAS surprised however, when I saw some young children there. Some even asked scared questions to their parents at intense moments in the film.

    I told my 10-year-old she needed to wait until she was older--probably 13 or more. This decision was more a determination that she is too tender-hearted to deal well with the violence. I told her she had to wait to read the books too.

    For me the biggest concern with children seeing the film is that the violence is all against children. The youngest and weakest are the first to "go," and it is quite disturbing at times.

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  3. Gina,
    I think you are wrong about kids not reading these books. They have become the new Harry Potter, even better than Harry Potter by a slim margin, says my eleven-year-old.

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  4. I have not read the books nor saw the movie and don't intend too. Just the thought of teenagers pitted against teenagers in today's climate bothers me. But hey that's me!

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  5. I loved the books! They are appropriate for teens. I don't have kids and don't think they are appropriate for young children.

    I am frequently surprised by adult content movies that I learn children see with approval of parents.(R rated ones.)

    The rating system and the reviews tell parents content and it is their responsibly to decide what is appropriate for their children.

    The movie was great!

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  6. My fifth grader is so sad that I'm not letting her read the books yet. Her ENTIRE class (she says) is reading them. When I went in to parent/teacher conferences, the chalkboard was decorated with Hunger Games memorabilia.

    I'm torn because I love the books, and I don't have a problem with my teenagers reading them, but can't we please let children be children?

    Sigh...

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  7. Totally agree, Jenny! I think 5th grade is pretty young for this kind of content.

    We saw the movie on Saturday, and I thought it was okay. Not quite as good as I'd hoped, but still pretty good. I wanted to throw all my noisy audience neighbors into the arena! From now on, it's matinee on a weekday only...

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