Friday, July 6, 2012

Moral Kombat (2008)

Number Rolled: 100
Movie Name/Year: Moral Kombat (2008)
Genre: Social & Cultural Documentary
Length: 85 minutes
Rating:  NR
Director: Spencer Halpin
Writer: Skylar James, Steven Kent
Actors: Vince Broady, Pamela Eakes, Jeff Griffiths, Lorne Lanning, John Marmaduke, Andy McNamara

No, you did not read the title of this movie wrong nor was it a typo. This is a movie about the morals surrounding violent video games.

Now, before I continue, I should inform you that I am a gamer. I like a little bit of everything, though I specialize mostly in RPGs (City of Heroes, WoW, Diablo, Guild Wars, Final Fantasy, etc.). That being said, I’ve had this argument many times in the past. Chances are, if you’re a gamer, especially my FPS buddies, you’ve had the argument too. The argument being: do violent video games make violent people?

This movie explores just that. Before watching it, I knew I was either going to love or hate it. I have very strong opinions on the subject and no movie, no matter how well done, was going to change my mind about it. Granted, no movie did change my mind about it, of course this movie didn’t really try either. It was less like a persuasive attempt and more like a compare and contrast.

Moral Kombat laid out the sides. On one side you had your gamers and professionals who believed that violent video games couldn’t turn Buckwheat (The Little Rascals) into Charles Manson and on the other side you had the people who did believe it. The flow of the movie was almost like a debate. They switched sides back and forth as if the sides were answering each other, but with flashes of video games and opinions of them stuck in the middle. Honestly, the photography was distracting and bit annoying. But the meaning of the movie was steadfast and interesting.

By the end, you have the closing arguments from each side and you are left to choose as you see fit. It’s fine, because I’m going to keep my opinion thank you very much, but a movie like that seems kind of lost without a final point. Like the director/writers couldn’t pick a side themselves.

Personally, I think video games are no different than movies, books or music. People are going to point their fingers at them when awful incidents like Columbine happen because they don’t know what else to do. As humans, it’s in our nature to need answers. When there are no answers, we’re bound to try and make some up.

Do I believe video games can be influential? Absolutely. Do I believe that video games alone can mold innocent children into mass murderers? Absolutely not. It’s ridiculous on any scale I think about it on.

I said it in Abnormal Psychology, and I’ll say it again. Violent video games are not on the shelves in order to train the next generation of killers, they’re on the shelves for entertainment. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but when I play a violent video game after a long day of being screamed at by patients who think they know my job better than I do, I do it to unload. Flipping on a fighting game like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat in order to beat the hell out of some pixilated figure, or Army of Two where I can shoot some jerk-off in the face, or even Fable where I can shoot an enemy in the balls, is not because I want to do these things in real life. I do it to prevent myself from doing it in real life! Everyone needs to lash out every now and again and what keeps this sweet little smile on my face while some doctor is telling me I’m an idiot is that I’m able to lash out in a world where my actions don’t matter.

Think about it. How many children play violent video games? Compare that answer to how many children flip out and start killing people. The ratio, I’m willing to bet, would be completely lopsided. One simply cannot make a broad, sweeping comment about how children in general are affected a certain way, when the majority aren’t. That’s my logic. What’s yours?

Overall Opinion –3/5

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