Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thunderbirds are Go!


I'm not sure when I first told Oliver about the joys of Thunderbirds. Thanks to the benefits of digital photography, I know he had this costume 16 months ago. I know he heard and liked the theme music around the same time. I also know he had never actually seen an episode... until last weekend.

I had been promising to get him the first series for several days and his excitement when I told him I'd finally got it was priceless. An excited, almost nervous, chuckle and huge smile. And so it was he finally saw tis classic opening sequence.

After this exciting start, the show settled into what was a rather slow pace for a 4 year old, particularly compared to modern offerings. The puppets look so dated now, but the concepts are still awesome in the true sense of the word. Ideas like the swimming pool retracting are still futuristic even 40 years on (well, to me anyway). The anticipation of what Thunderbird 2 will be carrying in each episode still holds a spell. And the villain was so scary to Oliver that he asked me to stay in the room while he was on screen!

Sometimes there's no fathoming what scares kids.  I previously noted that I once found Lucy crying because she was scared by Jack Black's guest appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba. Admittedly, he did look kinda freaky dressed as DJ Lance Rocks.

In contrast, excerpts of Spiderman 3 featuring Toby Maguire strike the whole family as cartoon-like in their storyline and drama while never once leaving any of us feeling frightened.

And then there was the whole "Where the Wild Things Are" debacle. Oliver loves the book and despite the PG certificate the trailer made it look like rather uplifting and exciting. When we got to the cinema, we found it was a much more dark movie than suggested. One review basically described it as too old for kids and too young for adults. I described it as a kind of "'Lost' for 10 year olds". Anyway, Oliver got scared after about 15 minutes so we left and watched "Up" instead. An excellent move..

So should I be taking myself to task over letting my children watch bits of Spiderman 3 when the certificate says 12A, which is deemed OK for 12 years old and above but below that is up to the parents?

I recall watching endless World War 2 films as a kid. I recall playing at being soldiers and shooting each other. And I remember walking through a field not wanting to step on a single flower. So how much harm is being done and by what?

I don't have the answer. Only a feeling that ultimately it's my responsibility and that my parental instincts will be good enough to guide me most of the time. I know my children and I watch carefully how they react to what they watch. I'm always open to advice (Comments welcome!) and I do look for guidance. I've found the BBFC website for parents very useful on that score.

But right now I believe my gut. And my gut tells me to watch with them if in doubt about the content and how they will react.

So today Thunderbirds are definitely go. But there are going to be plenty of other movies out there that I'll be happy to leave on pause.