Yesterday we went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox at the 41st Avenue Theater. The movie was great, probably a bit much for the younger set (in my opinion), but perfect for the kids I went with, aged 7 to 10. The only thing that made me cringe was their use of “cuss” for the obvious word missing in sentences such as,”What the cuss are you doing?” The kids probably didn’t notice, though.
There was something else, however, that made me more than cringe: There were 4 movie previews before the movie started. Two of them were totally appropriate, though I would not be likely to bring my kids to see them — a Chipmunks movie and a movie about the tooth fairy.
The first two trailers, however….
One was for Avatar, rated R. The trailer showed a man’s body growing in a tank, lots of shooting, enormous dinosaur-like monsters jumping at the viewer with their mouths open, a machine gun shooting at the viewer, and a woman crying, all set to scary music and sound effects.
The other trailer was for an upcoming movie called Wolfman. The trailer showed dark, ugly images of a man’s hands distorting, flashed a picture of a man tied up and in agony, and a person being electrocuted, all set to scary music and flashing scary words about how the wolfman is coming to get you.
As the second trailer started, my 7-year-old buried her face in my arm and asked me to tell her when it was over. Sitting next to her were two young boys, preschoolers, watching with placid faces.
Both trailers were approved for “APPROPRIATE” audiences — all cap’s, in large bold type. Both were shown before a 2:15 matinee for a kids movie. What’s going on here?
This has happened now at two out of the last three films we saw in the theater. We are extremely choosy about the films we go to, and we’d hope that theaters would understand that. My kids are not going to see either Avatar or Wolfman. Those short trailers were definitely enough to scare them, considering that they’ve never seen anything like that and unlike the two little boys sitting near us, haven’t been desensitized.
If you are interested in joining me to complain about these sorts of trailers being shown at kids’ movies, you can visit Cinelux Theaters’ website contact page at http://www.cineluxtheatres.com/contact.asp. I have already called (no, they don’t answer their customer service phone number!) and left a message. If they get back to me (unlikely), I’ll let you know what they have to say.
You can also complain to your congressman. Mine, Sam Farr, has a contact link on his website. The government allows the movie industry to be self-regulating, but if they continue to market violence to kids, that should change.