Imagine a dark world in which most of North America is destroyed and what remains is ruled by a totalitarian regime that represses any urge toward uprising by pitting children to fight against each other to the death. That is the premise of Suzanne Collin’s best-selling novel-turned-film, The Hunger Games, the first of a trilogy. Both the novel and the film have been highly popular among middle- and high-school students, as the plot delves into the world of tyranny and the mind of a heroine who is motivated by her survival instinct and her desire to help those in need, even at her own peril.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a film about the disappearance of trees, which have since been replaced by imitations, and the pursuit of two teens anxious to get their hands on some real live greenery. Therefore, there is a predictable environmentalist undertone coupled with anti-capitalist sentiment. However, the film’s anti-tyrannical subtext and focus on friendship and peace may just redeem the movie for some audiences, and its innocence and entertainment value could make it a prime choice for this weekend’s family film.
Fast-paced Act of Valor focuses on a band of Navy SEALs [elite Sea, Air and Land clandestine commandos] working to prevent a Ukrainian-born mastermind terrorist's team of suicide bombers from entering the U.S. and fanning out to major cities. Featuring themes such as bravery and sacrifice, it also stresses the need for religious tolerance in a way that seems aimed at Muslim extremists. The plot is arguably sympathetic toward the U.S. wars in the Middle East, which may well rankle viewers weary of America's endless and expensive foreign interventionism and imperialism.
Based on a true story, The Vow is a romantic drama about how far one man will go to save his marriage. Though it is not a family-friendly film — it is marred by foul language as well as pre-marital sexual relations — it lauds marriage and the marriage vow. It also promotes the great virtues of love and forgiveness. For these reasons the timing of The Vow's release coordinates perfectly with Valentine’s Day, and The Vow is sure to be a movie enjoyed by couples in celebration of that special day.
Every now and then, Hollywood releases a film that tugs at the heartstrings and reminds viewers that the world truly is full of godly people. Big Miracle is no exception. Based on a true story about a community’s efforts to launch a rescue effort for helpless animals trapped in a small area of unfrozen water in an otherwise frozen wasteland, it exemplifies God’s wonder and glory, and underscores what the kind of power God’s grace can have when it works within people.