Wednesday, May 30, 2012

REVIEW: The Hunger Games

The hype and hubbub surrounding this film has been ferocious. It has been praised for extolling the value of life and accused of preparing the way for Nazi Germany- both of which by people whose opinions I highly respect.

At first, I didn't want to see the film. I knew I would enjoy it- and I wasn't happy with that. It seemed like the perfect blend of toxic worldview with artistic excellence- a classic example of situational ethics- a deadly trap for the teenage romantic imagination- the kind of film that would thrill my flesh but burden my spirit.

After all of this blazing controversy, however, I've been looking forward to seeing it for some time now. Yesterday, Dad and I marched into the theater with the express purpose of taking the film captive to the obedience of Christ.  After seeing the film, we made our way to a coffee shop in our local Barnes & Noble and set to writing down our thoughts, throwing our voices into the arena of the blogosphere.

Before we get started, please know this:

We are aware that The Hunger Games are actually three books, and that the books surely provide more context, more resolution, more detail, more information. However, we are analyzing this film on its own merit. Whatever the books construct as their worldview system is irrelevant to our purpose, which is to explore the worldview infrastructure of this film as such.

To whom it may edify, here goes:

The Art

The Good

The film was very well done.  The cinematography was intricate, the score was masterful, and the acting was first-rate.  The graphics were very good as well.  The whole film was very industry-standard.  A few things stood out: the story, the world-building, and the close-ups.

The story was gripping, intense, and powerful.  In a day of shallow, insipid stories, The Hunger Games has a plot that is deep and well constructed.  The tension was constant, but varied, so that the film was always gripping but never monotonously so.  The filmmakers made good use of this, using the story to drive the film instead of relying on "secondary strengths" like graphics or gore.

The makers of the film constructed a very believable visual world.  The use of costumes, make-up, and set-creation made the world of The Hunger Games unique and fascinating- as well as garish and disgusting where it needed to be.

The film made extensive- and skillful- use of close-ups, and perhaps was to close-ups what the Bourne films were to shaky-camera cinematography.  Which leads us to...

The Bad

...the shaky-camera cinematography.  I found it a bit frustrating in the beginning, not being able to get my visual bearings.  This leveled out very nicely for the majority of the film, though, and Dad also points out that it created a feel of disorientation and captivity very fitting to the film's opening.

The credits music was, in my opinion, a real let-down.  That happens a lot.

Overall, though, the art in this film was top-notch.

The Worldview

The Good

The structure of the film is very anti-statist.  The social commentary written into the story is powerful.  The film leaves the viewers wanting the districts to rise up again- to fight for liberty- to be free.  The tyrannical government of Panem is all the more disturbing when one compares it with the encroaching government of today.

Throughout the film we see the oligarchs controlling- or attempting to control- the will of the people.  The actions of Katniss and Peeta, our protagonists, trouble the plans of the tyrants, and awaken sparks of that same fire that led the districts to rebel years ago.  We found a strong parallel between this control of the masses by the media and the same power wielded by the American media today.  It was also admirable how the protagonists used the enemies' own tactics against them, wielding the media against the establishment.

The social commentary offered by the culture portrayed in the film is also instructive. The culture of the "bad guys," in the big city, is very shallow.  It's a facade, a glimmering show of makeup and shapes and colors.  The Hunger Games are seen as just that- as games, a cause for merriment, jokes, and laughter.  The portrayal of young people slaughtering each other with lighthearted enjoyment is not only chilling but terribly true to the nature of sinful man.  Give a humanistic society enough time, and death-games are the logical result.

Dad points out that the film did not portray the heroine as an invincible masculine machine who could pin all the boys down with one hand tied behind her back.  Katniss was skilled with a bow- but that was all.  There was none of this "just-as-strong-as-the-men" nonsense, and we greatly appreciate that.  She was very feminine throughout the entire film.

The Bad

I have never found it attractive when women swear.  Why Katniss does so multiple times in the film- especially since she is almost the only one to do so- is a total mystery to me.  It was not necessary, it was not edifying, and it was certainly not the language of a heroine.

Overall, the film is impressively clean.  The language is minimal, the violence is not nearly as graphic as it could have been, and the love scenes stayed away from anything beyond some kisses.  Which I still could have done without, of course.

The romance itself was interestingly woven.  On one hand, it was an effective tool of deception by which to play the system against itself.  That, I have no quarrel with.  On the other hand, it raises some serious questions and models "young love-" infatuation without any foundation- kisses without covenants- something which we see more than enough of already.

I can also see a love-triangle a'comin' in the sequels.  I sure hope they don't ruin the series with teen drama.

A Question for Peeta

Peeta states early in the film that he doesn't want "them" to change him.  Katniss asks if that means that he won't kill.  He doesn't mean that.  One is left wondering what he does mean.

Of all the ways to remain unchanged by the games and their masterminds, what greater way than to stand in defiance of their godless commands and say "No!"

The Big One

With a film like The Hunger Games, the primary question is this: when is it right to take a life?

It is never right to take an innocent life.  (Ex. 20:13)

It is always right to protect innocent life. (Neh. 4:14)

The "Just War Theory" has some relevant points to add to this discussion.  According to the Just War Theory, aggression is condemned.  Only defensive war is acceptable.  The cause must be just.  The use of force should be a last resort, and should be applied only in the proportion necessary to stop the foe- we don't need to fight someone for insulting us (Matt. 5:38).  Dad likes to say "eliminate the threat."  We're at war until the threat to peace has been eradicated.  To take this from a national to a personal level, self- and other-defense stops the moment the attacker does. It's not about killing them, it's about preventing them from harming the innocent.  Maybe that will require lethal force, and maybe (hopefully!) it won't.  At the root, though, we are pursuing peace (Matt. 5:9).

A key distinction here is that a Christian philosophy of defense leaves the attacker's fate in his own hands.  It's his choice to attack, and it's his choice to stop threatening the innocent.

The Christian worldview holds that man is evil (Jer. 17:9) and needs restrained (Ex. 20).

I would like to bring into the discussion two other very different films- one of which we watched yesterday, for Memorial Day.  The black-and-white classic, Sergeant York, is a film with much the same premise as The Hunger Games- that it is right to take life in order to protect life.  The other film (which is actually a TV show), 24, on its face preaches the same message.  The crucial distinction between the messages of Sergeant York and 24 is this- that one justifies the killing of the attacker in defense of the attacked, and the other justifies the killing of the innocent in defense of the other innocents.  Scripture portrays the defense of the innocent as not only the right but the duty of every righteous man, but this is done only by resisting the attacker.  Never are we permitted by the word of God to do anything otherwise.  To choose the "lesser of two evils," to take an innocent life in the name of saving a thousand others, is to sin, to violate the Law of God, and to become a murderer oneself.

This is a second key point in the Christian philosophy of violence- Christian violence is wielded in defense of the innocent directly against the attacker.

The Hunger Games stays on the right side of this crucial distinction.  Like Sergeant York, the protagonist uses force only when necessary to preserve herself or other innocent people.

Here we come to the third and final line that I would like to draw in this section: that humanism always leads to death, in a very literal way.

Sergeant York sees the world through a self-consciously Christian worldview construct.  The argument is over what The Bible says, and the conclusions that Sergeant York reaches are based on Scripture.  The Hunger Games gives us no such standard.  We all know that Katniss did the right thing, because The Law of God is written on our hearts (Rom. 2).  However, "if there is no God, anything is permissible," and Katniss' sacrificial choice that we praise today we may condemn as foolish tomorrow.

Without God to define right and wrong, The Hunger Games becomes just one more step on the road to 24.  Mockingjay amulets don't care how you live.

Katniss does the right thing, but in the world of The Hunger Games there is no reason for her to do so.  It falls to us, as Christians, to supply that reason- to cry "Thus says The LORD!" as we strike down the wicked in defense of the innocent.

The greatest weakness of The Hunger Games is not the use and portrayal of violence, but rather the creation of a world in which there really is no standard by which to judge the use of violence.

Last Resort

Before we totally endorse Katniss' actions in The Hunger Games, it is important to ask the question: "What could she have done?"  It's easy to get caught up in the world of the film and just assume that "they have no choice," but before we put the arrow on the string we need to make sure that we have exhausted our peaceable options first.

There are a myriad of things that Katniss could have tried before lethal force became necessary.  Remember, just war and Biblical violence are last-resort options.  Starting at the very beginning of the games, Katniss could have encouraged the tributes to unite- to refuse to give the oligarchy what they wanted.  Perhaps in one of her struggles with the other tributes, she could have proven her ability to kill, but shown mercy instead.

Poison and Puppies

There are two major points in the film where the decisions that the protagonists make are very problematic.  The first comes as Peeta and Katniss are one tribute away from being the sole survivors of the Hunger Games.  Having fled from vicious cyber-dogs to the top of the "cornucopia," they are confronted by the only person who stands between them and their victory.  He attacks them, and the ensuing struggle results in him being cast off of the structure into the mouths of the dogs.  Good so far- all in self-defense.  It was the following seconds that were so dangerous.

The fallen tribute is undergoing an agonizing death.  Katniss, without a moment's hesitation, shoots him, "putting him out of his misery."  This is not, however, a Biblically justified decision.  Their course of action should have involved doing their level best to save the dying man, rather than killing him.

Matthew Young put it well in his review:
We spend the entire film disgusted by the cold, cruel way highly trained “Career” Tributes kill less fortunate combatants. Yet in the final moments, viewers are treated to a climactic struggle culminating in Katniss “mercifully” killing a Tribute in pain. All the other murders are portrayed as barbaric and evil, yet Katniss’ deed somehow does not warrant the same judgment because the victim was “going to die anyway.” The future that “The Hunger Games” warns against is less frightening than the future derived from accepting its world-view. If killing is justified under those terms, how long will it take before euthanizing elderly citizens or performing partial-birth abortions on  “handicapped” babies also is justified? How long until the accepted treatment for any terminal illness is a lethal injection?

The second erroneous and humanistic decision was made at the end of the film.  Peeta and Katniss decide that since they refuse to kill one another, and one of them ostensibly has to die, they will kill themselves.  Together.

This is truly indefensible- it runs directly contrary to Scripture.  This romantic suicide should not have even been considered as an option by our heroes.  So what could they have done instead?

Why not simply sit down, cross their arms, and say "No!  I refuse to play by your rules, to go along with your game, to allow your semantical dancing to dictate the commands of my conscience and my God!"

What more moving display of love, vision, and strength of character could there be than that?

Both of these issues bring us face-to-face with the foundational problem in the world of The Hunger Games- that there is no Law by which each man must judge his own conduct, and there is no Lawgiver to Whom each will stand accountable for the choices that they make.  Our heroes make their decisions based on what seems best to them.

Usually, of course, this results in the right decision, because who would want to watch a film where the hero was a consistent atheist?  There is a reason why we cheer for Katniss as she takes her sister's place, and not for Cato as he gleefully slaughters a 12-year-old boy.  The Hunger Games neglects to give us that reason.

The Hunger Games was a fascinating, thrilling film.  It was deep, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and appropriate for our times.  The worldview was imperfect, but was overall very satisfying.  Its greatest weakness was that it presented a world without God- a world in which every man is left to do what is right in his own eyes.  This causes The Hunger Games, a book which was meant to decry the society which it portrays, to contribute to the construction of the very world that it condemns.  The story held me to the very end, concluding with a sad but hopeful semi-resolution which begs for a sequel.

It left me hungry for more.


From the awesome training rooms to the physically and mentally demanding games themselves, if the objective wasn't murderous I think I would really enjoy participating in the Hunger Games.


Paul Munger said...

Some great thoughts. Appreciate your careful analysis.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Thanks! It's good to hear from you. :-)

Bailey said...

This is by far the best review of THG I've read and mirrors my thoughts exactly. I enjoyed it because its Godless worldview posed grappling questions. Its strong messages were pitted against inconsistencies -- Katniss's sacrificial spirit for her sister but not for others, her femininity and her coarseness, life's sanctity and euthanasia and attempted suicide. THG is far more nuanced than your average YA series, and I'm glad somebody has the sense to address it as such.

Oh, and I second your comments on Katniss -- at last a strong heroine who isn't a feminist. They exist! They're cool! Yay! National holiday!

Grace Pennington said...

A very balanced review, Gabriel! I had been looking forward to hearing your opinion, and I believe I agree with you on all of this. :) Thank you for your careful analysis!

Racheal said...

I haven't seen it and don't know if I will, but thanks for the review. I rather think I would enjoy this film...I like high stakes and adventure. Also, glad to hear Katniss isn't feministic--that's certainly a plus!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Thanks, y'all!

Bailey, the inconsistencies that you bring up interest me. I don't like the inconsistencies, nor do I find them beneficial to the story, so I'm curious to know if you mean that you are glad that they are there? Not that you endorse the decisions that she made, but rather that you think the inconsistencies added depth to the story?

(I didn't find her femininity inconsistent with her strength, and I thought her sacrificial spirit was pretty constant, so I guess I'm really asking about the suicide and euthanasia bit.)

Bush Maid said...

Excellent post. I agree with every point, though I have only read the books and not seen the movie. The movie has obviously captured a lot of the worldview the books held. Thankyou for sharing your in-depth thoughts here, Gabriel! I very much appreciated them.

And on your P.S., I agree with you! Without the killing aspect, the games would be like a highly skilled, fitness emphasized, epicly glorified game of hide-and-seek! :D

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Heehee, I like that description there, Aussie!

Jacob Pennington said...

Great review, Gabriel! Loved hearing your thoughts, and I think I agree with everything you said.

Grace and I were talking earlier about the Hunger Games characters (the fact that the protagonists act righteously in most cases, but without any apparent reason for doing so). This film does communicate Christian messages, some I think very strongly. However, it is morally inconsistent because it lacks a moral foundation.

And I think this is a testimony to the fact that you can never get morality right without Christ. The characters in the movie couldn't get it right, and the authors of the story couldn't get it right. Even though we have the law written on our hearts, we as depraved human beings cannot really know the truth without Christ, Who is Truth.

But I really really loved the way The Hunger Games portrayed the media (especially since the film itself falls into that category...). I loved the "patriotic" video at the beginning of the film. That was a huge dig both into the way our culture uses media portrays historical events. Also, the TV host character, Caesar, was a very clear portrayal of the vanity of modern TV stars. Like you said, it was really quite perfect for our time.

I know I just repeated some of what you said, but I agree with your ultimate conclusion. There are problems with the film, but it also communicates some very real and very applicable messages.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Jacob- YES. Their parody of the media was so spot-on. I really liked that.

Corey P. said...

First of all... thank you so much for delivering your thoughts in such a balanced, reasoned way. I think we pretty much agree on most aspects of the film, and I much preferred your insights to Mr. Swanson's (who went beyond extreme in his objections and accusations).

Second of all... you wrote, "Peeta and Katniss decide that since they refuse to kill one another, and one of them ostensibly has to die, they will kill themselves."

Obviously, suicide is scripturally indefensible. However, the film missed something that was made clearer in the book: Katniss was calling the Gamemakers' bluff. She knew that they would never allow a game to be finished without a victor, so she made it look as if she was ready to kill herself (along with Peeta). She never really intended to do so, but the Gamemakers' couldn't know that. They weren't willing to take the risk, so they conceded.

Unfortunately, this fact isn't as obvious in the movie adaption. :-/

Third and last... you noted (correctly) that The Hunger Games doesn't give us an all-encompassing standard by which to judge people and their actions. To me, this is a perfect spring-board to be used in discussing the gospel with unbelievers. Why was Katniss in the right? Why are the Games even wrong? Apart from the standard given in God's Word, an adequate answer cannot be given.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Glad you appreciated the film! :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Corey! :-)

Yes, I think it came through, even in the film, that Katniss was "calling their bluff," but the question readily presents itself: what if they didn't say "stop?"

Either our heroic duo will die by their own hands, or they'll look really, really silly.

They could have accomplished much the same purpose by simply sitting down and chillin'. What could the gamemakers do? They could kill them, but they couldn't make them kill each other- and where's the fun in that?

But really, at least in the film, they were going to do it- take the berries, I mean. Especially Peeta. So while I see where you're coming from, I'm not going to give you that one. :-D

To your point number 3- maybe so, but I certainly wouldn't list that as a good thing.

Beyond that, though- I'm glad we agree! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

(And I look forward to hearing your counter-thoughts. ;-)

Corey P. said...

Either our heroic duo will die by their own hands, or they'll look really, really silly.

True. But I'm willing to venture that Katniss and Peeta knew that the odds were very much in their favor. :-)

To your point number 3- maybe so, but I certainly wouldn't list that as a good thing.

Me neither. The worldview of the movie (and the books) is far from flawless, and though I don't think that's inherently a good thing, I do think we can use it our advantage. Know what I mean? :-)

P.S. One more thing... kudos to you for your denunciation of 24. You stated my own opinion of the show almost exactly.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I've actually never seen 24, but from my parents' descriptions it sounds like a televised discipleship program in situational ethics.

Horrifying, really.

And then conservatives walk around with their shirts shouting "Jack Bauer for President."


Bush Maid said...

Agreed very much so on your statements about the media, Jacob. This was probably the one thing I took away from the series; just how corrupted media is. Interestingly enough, watching TV and observing the media is what inspired Suzanne Collins to write the series in the first place. Scary really...

Corey P. said...

Well, whether or not you've seen 24, you pegged it perfectly. :)

And then conservatives walk around with their shirts shouting "Jack Bauer for President."

Seriously? I've never seen those t-shirts. That is disturbing...

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Be disturbed, my friend:

Lisa said...

Wow...I gotta say, I wasn't expecting anything like a positive review from you. I personally haven't seen the film or read the books, but what I'd heard from some other people really turned me off.

But this was interesting...very interesting. 8D

You portrayed it as a kind of movie I might actually really like...gave me a new perspective on this series. Thank you for such a clear, detailed review.

See you in a couple days :)

Aubrey Hansen said...

Wonderful review. I have convinced myself that this is worth watching when it comes out on DVD...

Patrick Lauser said...

A very good review.

I think the only thing you missed was, what about clothing? How decent was that aspect?

I utterly agree about the suicide. That seems to be a deep stronghold of paganism in the more Christian world-views.

I think I disagree about the mercy killing though. If the person was trying to kill them, it was an open confession of murder, and saving him from torture might have been more just in that case.

Corey P. said...

@Gabriel: Oookaay... that's gonna give me nightmares. Thanks a lot. ;-)

@Patrick: By "putting him out of his misery," Katniss went too far. Cato was no longer a threat, and that being the case, she had no right to take further action against his life.

If we're going to condone her actions in that situation, then we'd have to condone euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well. It's not that different.

Bailey said...

I did think the inconsistencies added depth to the story, and I am glad they're there. (But yes -- I don't agree with them at all.) I think it captured the spirit of the age while making this age's spirit glaringly inconsistent and contradictory. I like flawed stories and flawed characters: they make the good and the good people look good instead of just prudery and goody two shoes. They're truer to life and pose harder questions. Especially as I read through the entire series, I began to wonder if Collins programmed Katniss to act certain ways not because she believed it to be right or good but to plumb the paradoxes of our culture.

By the way, my impression of Katniss got mixed up since I've read all three books. Peeta remains sacrificial all throughout; Katniss teeters about between self-absorbed, vengeful and heroic, and her swearing and, uh, other stuff she does in the following books is very coarse. ;) I love her more in the movie: she's human and sensitive and strong.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Patrick- are you referring to modesty? There were a few scenes where I could have done with less either revealing or shapely clothing, but it was overall not bad at all in that regard. In my opinion, anyway.

Bailey- ah, OK. I think I understand you now. Thanks for 'splainin'. :-D

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Lisa- looking forward to it! :-D

Aubrey, I found it very worth watching. You'll like the dystopian flavor. However, some of the violence might disturb you, so be forewarned. It's usually very tactfully done, but sometimes those are the most disturbing of all. :-)

Aaron said...

Great review! Interesting movie! :)

Corey P. said...

It's usually very tactfully done, but sometimes those are the most disturbing of all.

Indeed. The first struggle at the Cornucopia (sp?) is purely chilling.

Jemimah :-) said...

Wow, really good review! I haven't sen the film, and don't really want to, but that's just me. I came across a rumour (on the internet), that THG was supposed to send the message to people, especially teens, that violence is not the way to sort out problems, but since then I have read DOZENS of reviews on the movie, and think that this may not be so. (And after all, loads of people put stacks of stuff on the internet that's not true, or just garbage, so who knows if its right or not?)
I was interested in the film when it first came out, but since I saw the trailer, and read so many reviews on it, I haven't been so keen.
Personally, I can think of more edifying things for a 14 year-old girl to watch. But hey, that's is only my opinion, so feel free to contradict me peoples, I don't mind.
Haha, I just realised that on every review I have read about this movie, I have written a comment JUST like this one, and have had PLENTY of responses.
So to save you all more agony I'll stop.
But yeah, your review is one of the best I've read yet.
A lot of the other ones only had praise, praise, and more praise for the movie.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Jemimah! Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I think the film has good sides and bad, and that it- well, any film, really- shouldn't just be watched with your mind turned off!

But I certainly don't think less of you for not watching it. :-D

Jemimah :-) said...


Anonymous said...

Slightly random, but...
What firearm are you carrying in the B&N Photo?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Heehee, a Springfield XDM.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I thought so. You can carry at 18 in AZ then?


Anonymous said...

Open carry, yes. :) Awesome...

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Rubythursdays is correct- at 18 you can open-carry. Permit-free!

You have to be 21 to conceal-carry.

Jemimah :-) said...

Haha, reading over my previous comment, I can now see that it all sounds a bit ridiculous! So basically, to summon up in one sentence what I said then, I really mean that it's just not my choice of movie to view. Wish I could have thought of that before, but I liek to voice my opinion a lot, and that's not always done in the most simple ways!
Ok, totally random here, but can you at 18 open-carry a firearm? 'Cause I live in Australia, (yeah, I'm an aussie alright!) guns are illegal unless you are a police officer, or have a special licence that costs tons. (And yeah, I don't know a lot about guns and that sort of thing, which you probably have already guessed!) I know a guy who is part of a reneactment group of the WW1 Light Horse (the horse group that fought on horse back) and he has a gun, but apparently had to pay tons for his licence. Just wondering, that's all.
Just an amateur at these things, but surprisingly enough guns and the like have always fascinated me.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Jemimah. Yes, in Arizona, at 18 you may begin open-carrying firearms- without any permit whatsoever.

It's awesome, it's Constitutional, it's Biblical, it's small-government, and I love it. :-)

I'm glad to hear that there's another Aussie on me blog! I'm also sorry to hear that the gun laws are so bad over there. :-l

If guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns...

Jemimah :-) said...

Hey, is there really another Aussie on your blog?!? I guess it's pretty unusual to have an Aussie following your blog if you're an American. (And I'll be following yours when I get a Google Account soon).
It seems so strange to know that in America you can open-carry firearms at 18, when here in Australia if you have a gun, or are seen carrying a gun without government permission or a special licence, you can be imprisoned for 12 months minimal! And then there's a fine of about $6,000 minimal also. So our government takes guns here EXTREMELY seriously!
I have to admit, I am a bit jealous of you Americans!
But anyway, we don't have really any need for guns here as you guys must have up there. Like, for a start, no one goes hunting here.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"But anyway, we don't have really any need for guns here as you guys must have up there."

If your firearms are that heavily regulated, then you need guns much more than we do. :-)

In all seriousness, though I would love to hunt, the gun that I carry with me as a standard practice is a self-defense weapon. That said, the primary reason that I carry it is for the discipleship of others- for the modeling of Scriptural principle- and for the exercising of a right that, if not maintained, will be forgotten.

Jennifer said...

"I personally haven't seen the film or read the books, but what I'd heard from some other people really turned me off"

Oh honey, you have no idea. In the books, even the prep teams and so-called "good" Cinna (as well as other stylists) stripped the children of all their dignity. It depressed me hugely, and angered me beyond endurance.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Very good review, Gabriel. Btw, you know the Career kids, the malicious and fiercely trained young tributes eager to kill? You recall the cold and scary Clove, the beautiful and diminutive dark-haired female Career? (She's the farthest left on the picture of the smirking Careers you pasted here). Well, I've spoken to the actress several times online in the past couple years and she's an absolute angel :) Totally cute and frankly brilliant, a happy little shiner that can sink into any role. I apologized to her because I couldn't see the film, it would depress me too much. My maternal instincts make me so protective of those children, all I can think of is saving them and destroying every corrupt person who ever hurt them.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Huh, that's neat, Jennifer! Oh, and glad you enjoyed the review. :-)

Jennifer said...


Patrick Lauser said...

"By "putting him out of his misery," Katniss went too far. Cato was no longer a threat, and that being the case, she had no right to take further action against his life.

If we're going to condone her actions in that situation, then we'd have to condone euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well. It's not that different."

Though whether a person should be killed depends on whether he is a murderer, rather than whether or not he is a threat. But whether he should be both tortured and killed is another matter. From what I hear (I have not watched the movie or read the books) I do not think that torture should be added to death in that case.

But euthanasia itself is murder.

I think I am interested in seeing the movie.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Though whether a person should be killed depends on whether he is a murderer, rather than whether or not he is a threat."

Hey Patrick! I think your confusing the categories between civil justice (execution) and self-defense (eliminate the threat).

Rebekah said...

I haven't decided yet whether I want to see this film or not. I've considered reading the books too... I've actually been rather stunned to see all the controversy surrounding this film! People whom I respect, are on completely opposite sides, whether they think it's great or terrible.

Thanks for posting yours and your Dad's thoughts! I liked seeing your perspective.

To the KING be all the glory!

Jennifer said...

Rebekah, I'd recommend sticking to the movie.

Patrick Lauser said...

Bigthan and Teresh were executed for plotting, not for murdering, nor were they attacking anyone. So was Haman. If someone tries to kill some one, that is more obvious than what Haman did. Would he have been spared if instead of what he did, he went out and personally tried to kill Mordecai?

I have heard other people talk about Katniss and Cato, but I do not see why they would accept Katniss shooting all kinds of other people, and then get confused over Cato. It probably has something to do with how the movie portrays it, so I would have to watch it to discuss it more definitely.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Interesting points! Thanks for bringing those out.

The issue with Katniss and Cato is not that she should not have been prepared to use lethal force to protect herself and Peeta, but that she had no right to continue to attack him after he was no longer a threat- even in the name of mercy.

Patrick Lauser said...

Thank you!

Even though the Bible says a murderer should be killed whether or not he is an immediate threat?

But I certainly agree that if he should not have been killed then it would be wrong to kill him anyway to save him from pain. I can not think of any situation (at the moment) where you would kill some one only because he was in pain, or would be in pain.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Even though the Bible says a murderer should be killed whether or not he is an immediate threat?"

The Bible says that in the context of laws for the civil magistrate. It's the magistrate's job to execute justice (and execute the criminal, in this case)- not ours as civilians.

Patrick Lauser said...

Why do you say that?

When there is a question to be decided it should be brought to a chosen third party. They are not gods whose consent must be asked before we do what we ought to do before the Lord.

It would make more sense to believe you must ask magistrates before you decide to plant apple trees than to believe you must have their word before you destroy a murderer.

Biblically if a person killed someone on accident, and went outside the city of refuge, and was killed by the avenger, his death would not be avenged.

Numbers 35
26 But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled;
27 And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood:
28 Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

That's a good point. But who is the avenger of blood? Are you saying that anyone should be able to just go kill a given murderer?

I don't entirely understand the avenger of blood concept, but I do see Scripture entrusting punishment to the civil authorities, not leaving it to the people to execute as vigilantes.

Patrick Lauser said...

You can not put some one to death on suspicion, that was the problem with vigilantes as far as I know. If you go kill some one because you heard some one say "That guy is a murderer," you are the murderer.

However many goatees he has.

I think the vigilantes also killed people for theft, and that kind of execution was punishable by death.

Of course there would be no restrictions on who would kill the murderer, the avenger of blood is the one who avenges blood. But the Bible specifies even further that the person who kills the murderer should do it when they meet. It excludes any process.

Even when the Bible gives a process to execute people (for things other than murder) the process only includes more people. It is the witnesses that personally execute them, and then everybody else. No mention is made of magistrates.

When the Bethlehemite's concubine was murdered the entire nation came, and put to death the males of a city that did not come. They demanded that the murderers be handed over, and went to war when it was refused. God himself ordered their hosts, and told them to continue after they wanted to stop.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

So why does the government bear the sword, then?

As far as the process simply including more people- sure... but even if the witness puts the criminal to death, you still have gone through due process and are now executing punishment under the authority of the civil magistrate.

Patrick Lauser said...

The true government, which punishes crime, bears the sword. That does not mean that it is the only entity authorized to kill, as is clearly shown from the Bible.

I would say rather under the authority of the law, but yes. The thing is you never find people bringing a murderer before a magistrate. That was not under their jurisdiction.

The only thing close (which we happened to read about today) was when the woman came to David and asked him to protect her son, who was a murderer, because he was his dead fathers only heir (though the story was a pretence on her part to ask David something else).

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"The thing is you never find people bringing a murderer before a magistrate."

And yet, God's Law calls for two or three witnesses before the execution of a criminal.

Patrick Lauser said...

Of course. You can not put some one to death without witnesses, but this does not mean you need to bring the murderer to a certain person to kill him. All you need is to know they are a murderer from witnesses. Then there is no trying to stop him and arrest him and so on. That is already settled.

By the way, I found a place where it talks about a murderer being executed,just after it says the revenger of blood is guiltless even if the slaying was an accident.

Numbers 35
27 And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood:
28 Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession.
29 So these [things] shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
30 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person [to cause him] to die.
31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which [is] guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

In this passage it mentions the elders of the slayer's city.

Deuteronomy 19
11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:
12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away [the guilt of] innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

So there is no exclusion of execution, but if they are trying to murder some one they must be killed, you do not need to go tell some one that he is trying to murder some one, there is no reason.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Oh, well I totally agree that if they're trying to kill someone you don't need to go run for some magistrate (though calling 911 would be a good idea), but even in that case I would say that the Biblical pattern would be to stop the crime and then turn the criminal over to the civil government for punishment. If the criminal dies in the process of being stopped, so be it, but the goal isn't to execute him.

Patrick Lauser said...

Why would it be the Biblical pattern? You know he is a murderer, and the only reason you would go to the civil government is to know. It is redundant. It is like saying that unless a witness talks to a certain man he did not see anything.

And if you and the murderer are the only witnesses than the civil government can not do anything, it is completely between you and him. All the government can do is take oaths that they had nothing to do with it.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

It would be the Biblical pattern because- well, what other crime does Scripture tell individuals to go and punish the criminal themselves?

Patrick Lauser said...

For one thing attacking a person is a unique crime, one of only two crimes that were commanded against before the law came to Moses.

Genesis 9
4 But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.
6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Yet there is one other crime which is treated similarly:

Exodus 22
18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

There were few other crimes that had such serious punishments, and many of them had to do with violation of things concerning the Temple and the priesthood, which no longer exist.

With the others it was particularly important to make an example of the criminals death, hence they were put to death not just in front of all the people, but by all the people.

Anonymous said...

You could be the stupidest person on the internets. Humanistic society - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Please. You fundies. ;)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Patrick, been a while- sorry!

I still am not seeing sufficient evidence to override the Scriptural pattern there...

Patrick Lauser said...

Override? The Scriptural pattern is to kill those who try to kill others. With other crimes it is commanded to execute them, with this crime (and with witchcraft apparently) it is commanded to kill them.

Jennifer said...

Thank you anon, for demonstrating one so well.

Gabe, on the subject of humanism, you MUST read "The Marketing of Evil". MUST, I say.

That Crazy Llama said...

I struggle with the whole Cato/Katniss thing you brought up. I've read all the comments here, and I'm still not sure if I agree. If a man is literally being shredded apart and in immense pain, and even if you killed all the savage beasts there is absolutely no hope for him, is it still a no no?
Not to put people on the same level as animals, but I know many devout Christians who will, on encountering dying "road kill" will "help" the animal out of its misery. Why? Because there's no other way to help it.
Their arm is ripped off, their lungs are punctured, they're bleeding at a fatal rate - there is no way to help them. No amount of surgery, mendication, or anything will help them. And that's if you get can them medical attention in the first place.
But despite all these injuries, they aren't dying quickly. in the book, Cato actually suffers for many long hours before she finally shoots him. And that's after he literally begs.
Do we, on biblical ground, let them suffer?
I'd like to hear your thoughts on those extremities.
I will say, however, that I do agree that if there is a hope - if maybe killing the animals will cause him to live (albeit with some permanent injury), that one's focus should be to help them, to do your best to let their life continue.

A comment on the suicide as well - the point was brought up that she was calling their bluff. She knew that something would happen. Either their bluff would work, and it did, or they would look silly. She knew that if she didn't one - or both - of them had to die. If the bluff didnt work, the game makers could've simply killed one or both of them. Either way they weren't free. It was either killing, be killed, play the system, or look silly and be killed anyway. She decided to try playing the system.
As far as the sit down option, I would say that wasn't an option. Do you remember one of the last scenes where it implies execution of the head gamemaker by nightlock? The point President Snow was trying to get across was that he'd sooner have them both blown sky high than have two winners who played the system.
At this point all options = dead. Great. So she went with the option of trying to call their bluff, without the intentions of following through if it came to it. You could even see that when she told Peeta "trust me on this one".
Just some factors to think about.

On a side, I think you (Gabriel) would find the kissing part in the book interesting (that sounds funny...but I'll explain). Katniss, unlike in the movie, uses it to her advantage knowing that cameras see her at all times. She knew it would play the whole star crossed lovers thing, which would in turn get her sponsors, etc. you might find it intriguing.
However, I am in no way saying that I agree with how she used it. In fact, she never loved Peeta. Not really. Not ever. In the end Gale was a jerk and so Peeta was "left". (for the record, I really hate how the author tied up the series - such as what i mentioned there and many other things).

I'm not trying to say anything either way on any of these things, but they are things that I've had to mull over in my brain, and haven't decided on yet.
I suppose that was part of the idea of the series?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Crazy Llama! :-D

Sorry for not getting back to you.

"The point President Snow was trying to get across was that he'd sooner have them both blown sky high than have two winners who played the system."

I'd say- let 'em blow us sky high, but let us not break God's Law. :-)

And I don't think taking the life would be the right way to go. I'd rather see them try to help the dying person as best they can.