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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rated PG...AKA Parental Guidance

Yesterday, at my daughter’s request, the two of us took a fun day. In a couple of weeks, she will be headed back to college and we are making the most of our remaining time together. One of the things we did was take in a $1.50 matinée at the local theater. We went to the Spiderwick Chronicles and I very much enjoyed it, but it also left me concerned. I found it an exciting, action packed and sometimes frightening film (I have always jumped at unexpected scary moments in films…one time I gave a friend a bloody nose) but I couldn’t help wondering about its target audience, the children. If this is the intensity of their entertainment now, what will hold their interest when they get older?

My daughter said she noticed one little girl holding tightly to her knees during a scary part and rightly so. Watching goblins leave deep, bloody slash marks in the arms and legs of the children in the movie should be difficult for kids; not to mention the preschoolers in the audience who interpret what they see and hear literally. I remember many years ago when I was in a store before Halloween that a dad was putting on a horribly gruesome mask and making really terrifying noises at his toddler, who was in his mother’s arms. The child screamed and cried each time and the parents laughed at him; then the father would berate the child for his response, telling him it was not real. The kid was always relieved when the monster went away and his dad was standing in front of him again, but then the terror would return. That boy must be in junior high by now; I wonder how he is reacting to the world these days.

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