Tuesday, November 26, 2013


We went to Thor: The Dark World two weeks ago. Weather in Illinois was dreadful so there were very few people in the theater. Consequently a pair of dads with their sons was noticeable. One of the boys was probably eight; the other no more than four. My reaction was instantly negative. What was a four-year old doing at that particular film?

Thor isn't bad as violence goes and it is completely devoid of sex. The bad guys were easy to spot making it possible to cheer on the good guys. The boys have probably been exposed to many battle sequences through their video games. That's not the issue. I just can't help but wonder how much of that movie the four-year old understood.

With so little life experience, will a four-year sympathize with the rage that drove the good guys? Did he get the sacrifices people made for each other? Was death something he could truly appreciate?  Did he see the first film?  Or The Avengers?  Even if he did, did he understand how those plots integrated with this one?  He would have been about two or three when the first Thor film was released. Without that groundwork, how much of Thor 2 made any sense to him? 

The sights and sounds were entertaining enough and the boys were quiet throughout the movie. But I wonder how much of the adult-level relationships were beyond their comprehension. I get that Dad wanted to see the movie and I'm sure those men thought this would be a great sharing time with their boys. But beyond the battle sequences, what did the children understand? The movie had a PG-13 rating and those ratings aren't entirely about violence or sex.

I hope the boys could fathom why Thor, Loki and the others did what they did because their motivations were the whole point. And if you go to movie or read a book or watch a television program or play and you miss the point, what's the point of doing it? If you never understand the entertainment presented to you by your parents, do you eventually think that entertainment is a waste of time? Do you stop reading or watching?

We communicate so much to our children and it goes far beyond our words. It's something to keep in mind when we are tempted to take a four-year old to an adult film.

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