Today we watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was all because we had popcorn for our afternoon snack. When I make popcorn, the girls seem to feel they should watch a ‘proper’ film. By that I think they mean one that’s a bit more grown-up than their usual fare, but I’m not quite sure what the criteria are.
Mr 4 has not seen this film before. I had forgotten about the screaming book, and it was interesting seeing his totally shocked and surprised reaction. He then stood for a while, watching with eyes wide and his hand over his mouth. Actually I agree that a screaming book is quite a scary thought!
It does make me wonder how other parents decide which films are suitable for their children to watch. A few years ago I let the girls watch LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring. I knew the film was too old for them. I had decided that I wouldn’t let them watch it for years and years. Then I discovered the little monsters hadn’t gone to bed one night and had instead been listening through the door while we watched the film. ‘Why are the children screaming?’ they asked. I decided then that it was probably better for them to see a Nazgul, than imagine some horrendous scenario of their own invention.
They watched the film. They were totally underwhelmed. They are girls, and they didn’t relate to any of the male characters. Orcs with arms slashed off, death and violence were all irrelevant. The one thing that upset them slightly was that the pretty lady on the fast horse got a cut on her cheek. What they would have thought had she broken a fingernail, I dread to think.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was another film I hadn’t intended to let them see when it first came out. I hid the fact that there was a new Harry Potter film for quite a while, because I didn’t think dementors made appropriate viewing for four or even five year olds. Then I got a Scooby Doo film. I put the DVD on, and the first thing that came up on screen was a dementor. An advert for Harry Potter autoplayed straight away, and I cursed Warner Bros. for that.
Now my oldest child is 10, and we will soon be getting into the realm of rated films. I remember I thought most age ratings were ridiculously extreme when I was a teenager. The question is, do I still think that?