talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

First movie?

My Dad can remember the first movie he went to see-- it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. He was absolutely thrilled when he saw it-- by the experience itself as well as the movie. I can't remember my first one, or probably the handful of others after that, though I'm certain there were a number of animated Disney films that we saw as a family.

I do remember the year our family made the leap from rated 'G' movies to rated 'PG' movies. Our family talked about what the possible differences might be beforehand, and I walked into the darkened theater gripping my smuggled bag of home-popped corn with more than a little bit of apprehension. When the music swelled and I first saw E.T., I was more shocked than I needed to be due to all the prior build-up.

Our kids, on the whole, do not watch television; nonetheless, the American tradition of the silver screen is not totally lost on us. Ian was a film studies major, for goodness sake! For years we have been watching for the right first film for Fiona. What criteria are we using? We're still working on that, but here's a start:

  • good sense of story, wonder, imagination
  • appropriate for developmental age
  • low amount of related media tie-in merchandise involvement
I was rather hoping that Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium might have all the sparkle of a new childhood classic and be just the ticket. And indeed it might be, but most reviews seem to see more more pizazz in the title than the movie itself. Dustin Hoffman's lisp may annoy the socks off most adults who watch it, but this movie is not about pleasing Ian or myself (though we wouldn't complain). The message is strong in Magorium, and it's possible we'll give it a try. The whole film is really about preparing for Magorium's death (which, unlike Magorium, most people do not plan in advance), but Fiona has been celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead with us for enough years that I think she understands the cycle-- at least when it's removed from her own sphere of love and experience, anyhow, where she can see the progression more rationally.

Will we see the film? The jury is still out. I am glad, however, that toys for this film haven't been jammed down our throats in every impulse aisle in town, nor on every hamburger-joint's billboard all across town. Maybe it's good it wasn't a blockbuster?

Kids as consumers. It's troubling that parents have to work so hard to combat the media hype.


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I don't know...did you read the comments off the link on your page?? Sounds like there is a lot of product placement.

Mind you, I am the one who took my child to her first movie without researching it. Hello! It was PG -13, do you know what that means? We were shocked and she was damaged, I think. We learned and we'll do better for the next kid! Good luck to you, it is hard to find a good one.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Wait, wait...I meant PG. It WASN'T PG-13 (can you imagine?). I am confused.

BUT even PG is ridiculous! We were shocked! She was damaged!

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Jen said...

I did read about the product placement, and was hoping that it might give us teachable moments to talk about those things-- both before and afterward. She's reaching an age that she does things with other people and at other people's houses, and I want her to be able to interpret the messages in the world as well as on the toyshelf. I guess for me there is a difference between slinkies and K-Nex sets looking alluring on a movie and Mr. Magorium action figures that do the imagining for a child.

We could wait for a different movie. Without product placement. Bwa ha ha ha ha! We want her to be an informed consumer, which takes training at a young age; but there's really no NEED for a five year old to see a movie. It's so complex.

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