This past weekend my mother-in-law and I took Ethan to see the movie Planes. It was Ethan's second movie theater experience and it went slightly more rocky than the first. We aren't quite ready for full on movie watching just yet, but that really isn't the point. Needless to say I didn't get to see the whole movie, but I got the main gist of it. While there were plenty of kid friendly animations, sounds and characters I have to say I was surprised at just how much of the movie played to adults.
The main plot revolves around a small underdog plane racing other more well qualified planes on an around the world adventure. There was name calling, bullies and overly stereotyped characters, but the real kicker for me was at some of the check-in points there would clearly be a bar scene in which all the planes were having a drink either to celebrate or drown their sorrows. Sure, they were drinking motor oil, but a bar scene it was for sure. (Edited to add: you can view one of these scenes here.)
I found myself getting angry every time they showed it. I know I should be more worried about the name calling and the bullying that my almost 3 year old can actually understand, but I was mortified by the completely unnecessary scenes of drinking.
I admit, I drink. I've even drank a glass of wine in front of my child, but zero attention was drawn to it. I'm comfortable with him seeing me responsibly drink a glass of wine at dinner, not so comfortable with him seeing Dora (or some other favorite character) crack open a bottle of beer because she's sad that Swiper stole her bracelet.
I appreciate the sly adult humor that kid movies place in the script from time to time just to keep us old folks entertained, but I really don't need adult like scenes that make me feel squirm-ish to watch with my toddler. I want to feel good about taking my kids to the movies. I'm prepared to talk to him about name calling and bullying because those are things that he could potentially have to deal with very soon, but I am not prepared to talk about bar scenes.
I know, I know...my kid is only almost 3, but what if he had been 6? I'm fairly certain that scene might not have been so lost on him.
I'd like to be mad at Disney for not taking the necessary precautions to shield my child from such influences, but really I am more mad at myself. I think I've gotten so use to flipping on the always dependable PBS or Nick Jr. (although they do have that Mom's After Dark program that I also find unnecessary...a whole different topic to itself.) that I've become lax in pre-screening. Or maybe it's just that up until now....I didn't feel like Ethan was so influential about things, but we are there folks. We have favorite characters and we want to be just like them....mommy and daddy are not the sole influences anymore and that is just downright scary.
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