Princess and The Rock

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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

"Epic" is NOT a good show. True or False?

This morning I excitedly proclaimed that we're going to watch a great movie Epic, and I went on to describe how great the movie would be with all the CG effects (of course I used child-friendly terms like "special effects" and "beautiful pictures") and highlighted the noble theme of "saving the forest". This excursion was a biggy for us as it was the Rock's FIRST movie experience and only the Princess' second.

We went for the 10:30am show at Orchard Cineleisure as there is an ongoing "Mom & Tots" promotion whereby every full price adult ticket purchased entitles a child (below 7 years old) to a free ticket. So my mum and I brought Princess and the Rock for a movie and we only paid $17 in all!

The movie reminds me so much of Avatar; it's like the children's version of it if I may put it that way. Typical good vs evil plot and pretty much predictable storyline except for the ending but I shall not spoil it for those who intend to watch it by talking about it here. Just don't expect a fairytale ending.



As this post is not a movie review so I will not dwell much into the movie but the "effects" of the movie on my children is what I would like to discuss here.

Firstly, both Princess and the Rock "did not" like the movie. The words "did not" are in quotation marks because I felt they did enjoy most of it and even engaged with it most of the time (especially the Rock, I had to stop him from asking too many questions too loudly.) The part which I think they really did not fancy was the final battle between the Leaf Men (good guys) and the Boggans (bad boys). In fact the Rock made my mum carry him on her shoulders and his back was facing the movie screen while he told my mum "This is not a good show."

"This is not a good show" is a common phrase in our family because Princess and the Rock are so "well-trained" in their selection of movies and TV shows that they deem any show with fighting, scolding or violence to be "not a good show" and they would switch off the TV immediately. Sometimes, the programmes in question are my mum's Taiwanese serials, so she has resorted to recording them as she should not be watching "not good shows". Haha!

The question in my mind is "Have I been sheltering them too much?" Often I have seen children being exposed to cartoons with characters using guns and super powers or programmes with some gore and aggression but their parents or caregivers seem OK with it. So I ask myself if I have been too strict in my media choices for my children. I mean, most boys know Ben 10 or Power Rangers, right? Well, the Rock does not know who these heros are at all. And does Shark Tale sound like a suitably entertaining cartoon for the Princess to watch? My husband does not think so; he feels that some of the themes explored are not age-appropriate.

The second effect was I caught my children "fighting" the evil people before bedtime! They were using their bolsters and hitting the imaginary "bad people" to protect the world and me. And it was no kuching kurap pretend fight; they were at it with full gusto and conviction. I was just thankful they were not fighting each other as there might be bloodshed! OK, maybe not bloodshed but some minor injuries, they were only mini bolsters afterall.

Did the movie cause them to start the "fight"? Maybe the part about fighting the evil people but certainly not the fight itself. Princess and the Rock are well capable of getting into a good fight between themselves, despite all our efforts in shielding them from the evil forces of the violent media.

So is it necessary of me or any parent to err on the side of caution when choosing TV programmes, movies or games for our children? Or should we take a little more risk and do a little postmortem sort of discussion after a show that has some sort of aggression, so that they get a wider exposure and maybe learn to do some analytical thinking about what is right or wrong and what they can learn from the movie or the characters?

Parents, what is your approach on choice of media for your children? Non-parents, what would you do if your little niece/nephew or a little child advise you to stop watching a particular show or play a certain video game due to its violent/aggressive content? I really like to know your take, so please tell me in the comments!

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