Solo parenting week continues. Next up, I thought it'd be fun to take the kids to see "Cars 2" in the theater. Air conditioning. Popcorn. Animated cars. Rated G. What's not to love?
The air conditioning was heavenly. The popcorn yummy. And the manager was really friendly when I asked for my money back after the first five minutes. He said I wasn't the first to walk out. I was expecting another sweet movie about friendship and perseverance like the first "Cars." This was more like an animated James Bond movie. In the first couple of scenes, there were spies, violent explosions, guns firing and cars saying "I'll kill him."
B turned to me and said she was scared. I was appalled by the images on the screen. So we walked out. The kids were not sad. They thought it was all part of the fun.
What angers me, though, is how this movie was rated G. Before we went, I even checked a couple of media watchdog blogs like Movie Mom, which recommended it for "all ages" (note: based on reader comments about the violence, she has revised her recommendation to kindergartners and older. I'm not sure I'd even agree that it's appropriate that young. The plot would go over most 6 year olds' heads, I think.)
I felt compelled to write about this in case anyone is considering taking their toddler(s) to this movie. To me, this was a lesson in not trusting the "G" rating on any movie. I screen films at home and avoid plotlines that are violent, sexist, racist, etc. I know some kids movies are garbage. I should exercise the same due diligence for theater movies too.
Edited to add: I looked up the MPAA definition of "G" and it says the General Audiences rating "[contains] nothing... that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture."
Yet, here we are, offended.
To me, it doesn't matter if a show redeems itself after the opening scenes. You can't erase violent imagery from a child's mind once you've put it there.
On a brighter note, the movie opened with a "Toy Story" short film that was really cute and creative. And we all enjoyed watching the previews and eating popcorn. It was a fun outing, even if it was cut short!
A win for solo parenting: I took 2 kids under age 4 to a movie theater, stood in long lines, got them seated and sharing popcorn with no meltdowns :)