As an established tradition, I took my four ladies to see a pre-Christmas edition of the latest JRR Tolkien movie. Accompanied by mother-in-law, wife and two daughters, and armed with copious amounts of fizzy drink, chocolate, and popcorn (salted of course), we took our annual seats, in readiness for some serious entertaining.
The Hobbit-The Battle of the Five Armies, is perhaps the worst of The Hobbit trilogy. In my opinion, although cut radically short to enable the book to be shown in three epic films, Peter Jackson portrayed the storyline of The Lord of the Rings very well indeed. Unfortunately however, The Hobbit is a short book, and I feel that Mr Jackson suffered from a combination of boredom, greed, and an over influential and eager FX team, making this trilogy a little difficult to watch.
Perhaps a more interesting thing to come out of the film though, was a 'conversation' that came about on Facebook, sparked by eldest daughter later that evening. The subject was whether or not a nine year old should be allowed to watch any of The Hobbit trilogy.
Various opinions came forth, eldest daughters being that it's not perhaps suitable for a child of that age to witness beheading's and killings, even if in the name of classic entertainment. Others felt that such scenes shouldn't be classed as 'too gory' for today's children, as they are exposed to far worse. My opinion was that even though children may be exposed to the same, if not worse, in terms of horror and gore through external input nowadays, as adults we have a duty to act with responsibility, and try to see these films through a child's eyes. Films such as these are all too quickly classed as suitable for young children, but that view is made by adults. I wondered how a nine year old might feel after he has gone to bed, and in the silent darkness of his bedroom re-conjured the images of orcs having their heads and limbs cut off, or Galadriel looking decidedly terrifying as she banished the spirit kings away.
Sometimes we must make the difficult decision to go against the flow. The mother made that difficult decision, and explained her reasons to the nine year old, and he thanked her for giving it some thought, and told her that he would carry on reading the book instead. All the correct decisions in my mind. With the book, a young mind can conjure up images within the parameters of a child's mind. They don't always need adults to put adult images there for them....much safer.
What are your views?