Same War, Different Games: Movie Review of Mockingjay Part 1

{By Lana Jackson}

I never wanted any of this, I never wanted to be in the Games, I just wanted to save my sister and keep Peeta alive.
– Katniss Everdeen

christian review of Mockingjay part 1

Same war, different games. In Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, Katniss Everdeen finds herself fighting outside the physical fighting arena and inside Panem against the Capitol with new rebel forces.

Katniss is now the face of an underground revolution against President Snow. It’s the typical struggle we have found with Katniss: fighting a war she’s not prepared to fight. However, this time things are bad. Really. Bad. It’s no longer about kids killing kids Survivorstyle. This time populations are revolting. Districts are getting wiped out. Panem must change or die. Katniss’s battle to survive has become a war for a nation to thrive.

War . . .

This film is a grim reminder that war is sometimes necessary. And this movie perfectly illustrates that the necessity of war does not soften the reality that war is never good. War is an indiscriminate, raging destroyer, a hungry beast—no less terrifying than those mutated monsters Katniss faced in the arena— devouring the just and unjust alike.*1

The ongoing war against an oppressive regime deepens this story beyond which guy Katniss will choose—Peeta or Gale? The perseverance of love in a time of war and the principle of carrying unwanted burdens inspires us to keep fighting our own necessary battles. These two themes in the movie provide the most obvious parallels to the Christian worldview.

christian perspective on Mockingjay part 1

This movie begins and ends with a severely traumatized heroine. Though, Katniss does not want to fight, she makes a decision to be the face of the revolution and carry the burden of her nation. This is what makes this film so worth watching, such character traits are ones Christ calls us to imitate, traits that will eventually transcend our life here on this Earth.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Katniss’s character is a type of Christ. Her selflessness, even if it is reluctant, is Christlike because it inspires hope in the residents of Panem, saving them from despair and harm. In one scene from the movie, Katniss runs toward the fight—not away from it. Katniss can always be found where the battle is thickest; this is a call to all believers.

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere fight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There

Where is the battle raging?

Is it in our homes, in our workplace, in our schools or communities, in our government, in the arts—is it in our own hearts?

Wherever the battle is thickest, wherever the battle rages that’s where the people of God need to be—running toward the fight, not away from it. Standing in the gap, where the wall is down.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of [storms], for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

2 Corinthians 4:16a17

Take this film as a reminder that war is necessary. The struggles we face against Satan are necessary because they remind us that we are in a battle. A battle for souls, a battle for your soul. But praise God the war has already been won by the Author of the Universe. And when we place our trust in Him we will always find “mercy and grace to help us in our time of need,” *2 so that we can keep fighting the good fight until we hear: Well done good and faithful servant.*3

See this film in mixed company and use these discussion questions below to steer the conversation toward Christ.

1) Have you ever been faced with a “no good answer” scenario, where whatever decision you made came with high costs? How did you eventually make your decision? Was it the right one?

2) Do you believe there is such a thing as a “just” war—a war that needs to be fought? What might that look like?

3) Are there times when the world seems too eager to fight? Why do you think that is?

Watch to Discern.

What did you think of Mockingjay Part 1? 

*1 Asay, P. (2014, November 21). Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I. Retrieved from Pluggedin.com.

*2 Hebrews 4:16

*3 Matthew 25:23

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