This weekend, my husband took our boys, ages 7 and 11 to the movies. I was a bit surprised when my husband said he wanted to take the boys to see the new Jet Li movie “Fearless”. He loves karate movies and thought the kids would be interested since they have been taking karate for a while now. But the movie is rated PG-13 and there was that new children’s movie “Open Season” which came out on Friday. I didn’t want to see “Open Season”, but my husband doesn’t seem to mind potty humor as much as I do and you never know what’s going to show up in a PG-13 movie, so the children’s movie seemed like it would be a better bet (or at least the least likely to do major damage). Fortunately, before becoming insistent, I looked up “Fearless” on the Focus on the Family’s “Unplugged” website. (This is a great place to check before seeing a movie, BTW – they will tell you about minutiae like how many characters smoke, if wine is consumed, if anyone gets punched, how many times various foul words are used and any sexual innuendo. Some of the things they worry about aren’t a big concern for our family, but it sure is nice to know what you’re getting into.) You can read their review of “Fearless” here. Since the movie didn’t have much of anything in the way of sex or language and the violence wasn’t gory, I decided not to press the issue. The boys and my husband really enjoyed the movie and my husband said that it was a very moral movie with good, manly messages.
On the other hand, I happened upon this column by Fredrica Mathewes-Green about “Open Season” and I’m sure glad my hubby made the call and not me. From her column:
Sure, potty-talk has always been funny to kids. But grown-ups didn’t teach it to them. They had something more significant to impart: stories to help children prepare for the world they were growing into. The best stories were complex and unafraid to deal with tragedy, like Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, or Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio.
Earlier generations of parents complained that cartoon versions of such classic tales stripped them of all subtlety. The process has gone a step further in a movie like Open Season, where the plot presents only a starkly polarized pair of teams, good guys vs. bad guys, and then whips up a frenzy of vengeance.
Hmmm . . . I’m going to have to remember that next time I’m tempted to settle for the “least bad thing”. (You really ought to read the whole thing as it goes much deeper than what I posted here. ) Whenever I see a movie like this, or the dreadful Shrek movies, I am reminded of something I read a while ago on the National Review Online. In an interview, Craig Good from Pixar studios says:
We don’t make movies for kids. We make movies for adults, actually ourselves, and then just make sure there’s nothing in them that the little ones shouldn’t see. . . Two things are often forgotten about kids. One: They have no taste. They will watch just about anything. This is normal and healthy. Taste comes later. Two: They are not stupid! Kids are born intelligent, and there’s no good reason to make dumbed-down entertainment for them.
Sooooo . . . this post really has no point except to say that my kids saw a movie that was good, even though it was PG-13 and children’s movies are generally stupid and a sign of the degradation of our society (like that’s never been said before!). Good day! 🙂