Every Child is Different
I read the pluggedinonline.com review of Cars 2, which opens tonight. Here’s the link to the review.
Those of you who know my son, Scott, know that Lightning McQueen is his obsession. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, Lightning does it with him. I’m not a huge fan of that, and this obsession began long before he ever even saw the movie — which should show you how clever the marketing is to our children.
But, he’s known that this movie was coming out, and he’s known that it’s coming out the day that his daddy gets home from Afghanistan. For a long time, they’ve had a standing date to go see this movie together. Then I read the review.
In what’s easily the film’s most suggestively disturbing scene, a vehicle is tortured as his engine is revved and his internal fluids are slowly set to boiling. The victim begins smoking and reacting in pain and eventually blows up (offscreen).
A good friend of mine is an employee of Dreamworks and sent an email with a head’s up about this scene. A friend of his had been to an advanced screening of it and was upset that his son was with him. His words were, “I want to see it again – it was a great movie – I just don’t want my kids to see it again.”
I posted this on Hallee the Homemaker’s Facebook wall, and a personal friend said, “Will this keep you from seeing it? Anyone else?”
I have to tell you — I don’t know. That’s going to be something Gregg and I will discuss.
And this is why:
In 2001, Kaylee was 4 – the same age Scott is now. I took her to see Atlantis not realizing it was PG instead of G. Going by memory — in the beginning scene, the city of Atlantis is being threatened and a spaceship or something similar hovers over the city. In the panic of the chaos, a mother is running down the street with her young daughter. The necklace around her neck starts to glow, and she is taken up into the ship by some tractor beam. As soon as that happens, a shield falls over the city and maybe it sinks into the ocean. The young daughter is left on the streets holding her hands up to the ship screaming, “Madre! Madre!”
Fast forward to the current plot — good guys come to the city, something bad is threatening it. No one has aged – except the young girl who ages to a young lady and stays that way. In the end of the movie, the city is threatened by whatever is threatening it, and this time the daughter is taken up into the ship. But, after it does whatever it does, she is returned to the city. As soon as the adult daughter hits the ground after being expelled from the force field producing ship, Kaylee starts screaming, “Where’s her mother!? Where’s her mother!?”
Somehow, my four-year-old figured out that the girl became the woman and that her mother never came back. Then, after two hours of movie, thought about the mother right away. For months after seeing that movie, she would have nightmares where she would wake up screaming, “Where’s her mother!? Where’s her mother!?”
So, don’t assume your child isn’t going to understand the torture. And don’t assume that your child won’t grasp all of the ins and outs of it. It might be something that will haunt them for some time after.
Every child is different, and what bothers one won’t bother the other, which is why situations like this should be individually judged and weighed by the parents accordingly.
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Thanks for the heads up. We have to be so very careful even with Rated G Disney movies. My two older children never even watched the “classics” because I didn’t want to start the ball rolling. Looking back I don’t regret holding back on it at all. I did allow Jacob to see Toy Story after it came out VHS. I was glad we were at home. Sid’s room was terrifying to Jacob at 6. Toy Story 3 had that scene where the toys were all headed for a furnace. Donnie and I had Ethan and Jacob between us at the theater yet we exchanged concerned looks over that one – Ethan is prone to being scared. He’s nine now and a little better about it. I’ll have to warn him ahead of time of this scene.
I had a similar experience with my really smart,really caring 4 yr old with the movie Willie Wonka. He was really traumatized by the fact that once the oompa loompas took the naughty kids away…they were never seen from again. I had to “re-write” the ending for him, saying that they took them to the doctor for help and that they were all ok now. He had nightmares for a long time, and now at 22 years old still asks me “why did you let me watch that movie?”.
I personally had loved that movie as a child and did not recall anything traumatizing about it for myself. So I completely agree with you-you have to know the movie and your child.
Hallee, what about How to Train a Dragon? The violence is there, yes, along with different races/cultures/species hating another so much that they make it a sport to destroy them all, and without knowing a thing about them. Lily is a little more desensitized to stuff like the opening scene of Nemo and the like. She does fast forward through the scene in Chicken Little when his foot gets stuck in the gum, even though she knows he narrowly escapes and goes on to defeat the “bad” guy. She is very sensitive to lost parents, dying pets, and just overall sad situations in movies and tv, however she watches, might cry or be mad, but then goes on with her 5 year oldness. If she has a question about it later on, we address it. Thunderstorms? That is a whole nother ballgame. She cannot function. Becomes almost catatonic and will not let go of whatever adult is lucky enough to be close by. So, my question for you and everyone else…Where do these fears come from? She literally woke up one day terrified of storms after years of not caring at all. Now she asks every.single.day if it is supposed to rain or storm. Neither my husband nor I are even remotely concerned about them. And, am I to blame for the lack of concern or attention she might pay to the fight scene where a super hero defeats the super villain or the “spy car” is tortured for information by the bad guy?
All of this being said, when I was six years old, I happened upon a movie that my parents were watching. (I am now 31) I can even remember the outfit I had on that day. I was supposed to be playing in my room. The scene I saw was a street mime performing near the back of his open van. He asked for a child volunteer from the crowd. The little girl was quickly swept into his van and driven away from her parents. I have no idea what happened as the movie was quickly turned off but the damage was done. Remember Lily’s aversion to storms? I have the same fear of mimes. Just typing this out makes me nauseous and very nervous. Yep, mimes look harmless and fun but they are evil pedophile trolls watching and waiting to kidnap poor defenseless little girls. Is this a funny, haha phobia? To most, yes it is. To me? It should probably be addressed with some type of therapy.
And finally…yep, I agree. Every child is different. :)
I’ve never been one to fear violence. My personal favorite move is Aliens. My boys love the old Superman cartoons made during WWII.
I don’t like an innocen person being bullied or victimized. As much as I can handle alien blood that is like acid, I can’t handle Dumbo. It makes my heart sad. So my question is, is the car who is tortured to death a bad guy withholding information or a good guy who is an innocent victim? I think how that is portrayed will determine how my Scott will process the scene and whether it will bother him. Since most of my friends will see it before we do, I will feel comfortable with their judgement about it.
No Tangled for you my friend.
i had had heard RAVE reviews over the dragon movie…i got it for my 4 yr old to watch. I didn’t get what was so great about it…we only watched it once, but im sure if i had watched it more than once i would have started over analyzing the violence and the other stuff mentioned above.
we did go see toy story 3 at the theater and he did say he was a bit scared at the furnace part…but it was loud and BIG but he was ok with it…
the more i watch things the more i analyze…like why max and ruby have NO parents around or dora goes off into the world by herself and talks to a monkey!
My kids also are sensitive to some scenes, such as the start of Beauty and the Beast, and some scenes in Snow White and the Seven Dwalfs. As they love the rest of the movie they will just come to me if Im out of the room or snuggle into my side til that parts over. DD#1 is starting to talk these things over with me & ask questions & she seems happy with my explanations. And they all love Dora, so I just hope they dont think about it too hard
And I have a hard time telling DH not to watch his ‘favourite’ shows when they are awake.
Mike and I took Jack to “Cars” last night and I was interested in the torture scene because it started such a discussion here. It’s a American spy car, and the bad guys want information. He is given alternative fuel and then an electromagnetic pulse is used to ignite the fuel.
Did the car expire? Well, it happens to several other cars throughout the movie on the racetrack and after initial engine blowouts, the cars are there to race again within a few scenes.
Having said that, it is under the spy movie genre, no doubt. That means high-speed chases, explosions, gunfire and such.
Funny that this “torture” scene is getting a lot of chatter, but within the first five minutes of the movie, a car falls from a high ledge and once it hits the water, all of its pieces float to the surface.
Jack wasn’t bothered by any of this. In fact, when we got back to the car, our discussions were about how Lightning McQueen had let Mater down and how Mater was sad. That started a great conversation about how to deal with someone hurting you emotionally. And I’m glad the movie opened that door, because it’s a good lesson to learn at 4 or 34.
We did take our boys (nearly 8, 11, and 13) to see Cars 2 yesterday. My 8 year old left saying that he thought it should have been PG. And my older ones specifically called out the tourure scene. Honestly, I think the plot as a whole is fairly complex for a younger child to grasp and follow. However, the torture is not. At one point the bad guys even threaten to “kill” (their words) McQueen.
We are huge Cars fans. However, this does warrent caution and parental supervision.
We took our 6yo daughter-who is a Cars fanatic-to see Cars 2 yesterday. While one cannot top Pixar’s animation skills and ability to insert some funny one liners for the parents, this was NOT a good movie for children, in my opinion. My daughter climbed on my lap during the torture scene and hid her face. They really really did not need to put that scene in the movie. I felt like I was watching some Mel Gibson vengeance movie but with cars instead of people.
What bothered us the most was the overwhelming environmental message in the movie. Alternative fuel? Good! Big oil? Bad and evil and the cause of all the world’s problems! People who seem to be do-gooders? Actually evil money grubbing people in disguise! My husband and I agreed that it seems Pixar completely sold out…like they were TOLD what kind of movie to have, then they wrote a script around it. This was one long, expensive PSA…
We will not be renting or purchasing this movie when it comes out on DVD, either. If I could have our $21 back, I would’ve taken my girl somewhere else. (this was the first time we’ve taken her to the theater in her life…what a let down.)