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'The Hunger Games': Is it OK for Kids?
What parents need to know about the movie before heading to the theater

By Martha Brockenbrough
Special to MSN Movies

Without a doubt, one of the biggest movies of the year will be "The Hunger Games," a story about two dozen teens forced to fight each other to the death while their fellow citizens watch the spectacle on TV.

The film is a bracing adaptation to one of the most popular book series of the age, and both are a powerful and important commentary on the corrupting influence of power and the dehumanizing influence of the mob.

You might be one of the millions of adults who've loved the book, written originally for a teen audience by Suzanne Collins. Or you might be the parent of a child who's read it.

Bing: More about 'The Hunger Games' | More about Jennifer Lawrence

And now you're wondering, do I take the kids?

It's a good question. Theoretically, one the Motion Picture Association of America exists to help us answer.

The operative word there is "theoretically." A PG-13 rating didn't stop hordes of parents from bringing 8-year-old girls to watch Edward bruise Bella during headboard-breaking sex, for example. 

Are you planning on taking your kids to see "The Hunger Games"? Tell us on our Facebook page.

But given how unreliable the ratings are in the first place, it's understandable that people pretty much ignore them.

Why was "The Lorax," for example, rated PG "for brief, mild language"? Does "truffula fruit" have some secret connotation we're unaware of? There was nothing in it that should cause parents alarm besides the tastelessness and futility of adapting another slight picture book for the screen, and the tiredness of the snowboarding granny trope.

And it was infinitely milder on every score than "Cars 2." Meanwhile, the wonderful movie "The Incredibles" earned a PG rating, perhaps for all those wholesome images of urban mayhem, superhero torture and baby combustion.

And don't even get us started on the inanity of the R rating given to the documentary "Bully," about the misery so many kids face at the hands of their peers on account of language teens hear and use every day. It's laughable that something from real life is deemed inappropriate for the kids living it.

All of this is just another way of saying the PG-13 rating of "The Hunger Games" is meaningless. There is an answer to the question, though, whether the movie is appropriate for kids.

First, it's a faithful adaptation of the book. If you've read it, you know that means there are many violent, bloody deaths, including those of characters you will care about.

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395Comments
Sep 24, 2012 11:48AM
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WHERE ARE THE REAL STARS.??? WHEN I WAS YOUNGER THERE WERE REAL STARS IN HOLLYWOOD.   THE STARS OF TODAY SEEM LIKE A LOT OF WANNA BE'S. THEY AREN'T THAT INTERESTING. WHERE ARE THE JIMMY STEWARTS, THE CARY GRANTS, THE JOHN WAYNES.

 

ALL WE GET ARE JIMMY KIMMEL AND TRACEY MORGAN.  WE HAVE GONE DOWN HILL

Sep 24, 2012 4:24PM
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I am so tired of Hollywood and all their phonies. They are for the most part morally empty.

Hollywood has really gone down hill. Don't really care anymore.

Sep 29, 2012 9:38PM
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Well...I have to agree....all the "real stars" are sadly gone, or working in the director's chair.  All we have left are whatever the hell a "snooky" is, something called a "honey Boo-boo"? or something like that, and all the super teens with white teeth, big smiles, perfect hair.....and no "real" talent. Hollywood....you have lost it.....shame on you!
Sep 11, 2012 4:41PM
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I watched this show with some curiosity for awhile last night; simply because the wife was watching it.  One cannot honestly say that there was anything normal about the characters portrayed in that show.  Perhaps I am an anachronism, but I must conclude that if NBC wants to convince people that these weirdos are normal, there must be some quite odd people at NBC.. 
Sep 24, 2012 10:13AM
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this show was so boring! who cares who they thank? The biggest lot of kiss asses and self important egos ever. yuck.
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