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Image by Frank Hebbert

I think most of the adults watching Toy Story 3 needed a Valium as the credits rolled. Talk about sad and devastating (almost!!). I won’t give away all the secrets of number three but let’s say, Pixar succeeded in tapping into the emotions of both adults and children.

Reflecting on yesterday’s blog, I would have to agree with the Children and Media website. My three year old daughter had nightmares about the Monkey character last night, so there’s your proof. This character is demented. He could be out of a horror movie with his crazy eyes and loud clanging. Beware of the monkey carrying cymbals!

I was relieved to see minimal sexual references but the advertisement before the movie was a shocker! It’s the new boost bar ad about an over-sized chocolate bar lusting after a blond. Ah, hem, this is a kid’s movie. How inappropriate! I had to do some mighty distracting with my little lady!

All in all, Toy Story 3 is another quality movie. It didn’t talk down to the kids, it was action PACKED! and emotional with Andy leaving home for college. Get yourself ready for a thousand questions about growing up and why big kids no longer want their toys! The characters are lovely. My husband even liked the bully bear!

I can see the balance that the animation houses are trying to achieve. I just hope they don’t go too far in the future and open innocent eyes to things they’re not ready to see.

Precarious balancing

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Today I am off with a large handful of small people and a few biggies to see the long awaited Toy Story 3. You can imagine the excitement. Lots of jumping around, giggling, rumbling and cuddles going on. The cousins are on the move.

I like to do a bit of research before I sit my three year old in front of a movie; especially when it’s screening in a dark, crowded cinema. Toy Story 3 has  had rave reviews. Pixar says that it makes animated films for both children and adults; which can be problematic.

I sometimes cringe in movies where sexual innuendo surfaces or there’s bad language or drug references. How protective should we be when it comes to children’s films? How much is too much cotton wool? The Australian government has a website that is all about how much exposure is too much for kids: childrenandmedia.org.au. You may be surprised at their recommendations.

For months I have been promising my kids an outing to see Toy story 3. There has been great excitement building as they see all the promotional gear around them. And now, there are previews. So, what did the website say? Have I failed motherhood 101?

“…there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five. They are enhanced by the 3D component of the film which causes objects to suddenly emerge from the screen.”

And then there are the cringe-worthy sexual references, oh Pixar, why? The websites says:

“There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Buzz feels ‘hot’ when Jessie moves up close to him
  • Barbie compliments Ken on his “ass”
  • Mrs Potato Head rubs her hands along a toy with big biceps and she says: “Why hello there….May I?”
  • Ken is showing Barbie around his house and states: ‘This is where the magic happens….’ and then shows her his wardrobe.”

I may sound like a bit of a prude but really, is all this stuff necessary?  Do they check with real live parents about what we want our kids to see? There’s all this hype and the kids get excited, then parents are left red-faced, carrying the guilt of exposing little minds to the rubbish of the adult world. And most of the time it’s accidental. I just want to run into the Pixar office and plead, ” run these ideas past us first”.

So, how much damage is done by these ‘innocent’ films? Am I overreacting? What is the harm? Doesn’t it just go over their heads?

I guess the important thing is that we continue to talk to our kids about issues. We cannot protect them from every foul message out there. It is good to be informed about how movies and the like will affect our kids so that we can keep the communication lines open and walk them from the world of innocence into the more disturbing real world. But only when it is time!

For Toy Story 3, Children and the media website recommends:

“This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • mistreating and bullying others
  • not giving help when it is needed
  • being imprisoned or abandoned”

And they don’t recommend it for under fives! Tough call.

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