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12/28/2009

Brace Yourself for Scary Previews

Movie Theatre - naoyafujii Credit As a parent of young children (ages 4 & 7) I am always working to make sure that the video games my boys play and the programming they watch is age appropriate. Much to my eldest’s chagrin, sometimes this means he can’t watch Phineas & Ferb because his brother’s in the room or he’s got to wait to watch the Transformers movie until he’s a little older.

I bring this up because on Christmas Eve Day my husband and I took the boys to see Alvin & the Chipmunks, the Squeakquel.  While the movie fell in line with what you would expect of a PG rated movie, in my opinion the previews did not.

A few minutes before the movie was set to begin the movie previews began to air and I thought nothing of it. What I expected to see – and saw some of – was previews for movies that were along the same age level as the one we were getting ready to see.

The first preview to air was for The Tooth Fairy a PG movie that sends a curmudgeon to work as a tooth fairy for a week. Hilarity ensues. The next two trailers got a little darker, but still OK – with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and a movie about bridging a bond between Vikings and dragons called How to Train Your Dragon. At this point I am starting to get nervous; the movies are getting slightly darker as they go.  Up next – Marmaduke! Phew. No need to worry, right?  Wrong. The final trailer was for Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief ,  a dark fantasy flick about a young boy who turns out to be a descendant of a Greek God. The preview features flying gargoyle like creatures, explosions, intense music and fighting.  You can view the preview here

Now don’t get me wrong. I think The Lightening Thief looks like a great movie. Heck, I will probably go see it. The problem I have is that I don’t think it’s an appropriate movie to be advertising to a bunch of young children.  Looking around the theater we were surrounded by children primarily under the age of 6. Is this really the right sort of preview for them?

I was investigating over at Common Sense Media, a site that reviews movies and rates them for families, and read that the Movie Picture Association of America recently relaxed restrictions on previews! What? That sounds like a great idea. Let’s not worry about the 2-3 minutes of inappropriate video we show our young children. Brilliant.

So I guess I have two questions for you, our readers. 1) What do you think of the clip for The Lightening Thief? Do you think I am over reacting? 2) Have you dealt with a similar situation, and if so, how are you handling it now?

Finally, if you have been in a similar situation, Common Sense Media wants to know. You can submit your information here.

Shannan B. blogs at Mommy Bits & Family Friendly Cincinnati. You can also find her on Twitter at ShannanbThis is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

Photo Credit: NaoyaFujii  

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