Linda and I went to the local cinema over the weekend to see Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and really thought it was a delightful, inventive and darn witty movie. We even thought briefly about bringing our children to see it in the theater so they can enjoy the big screen and the “cinema experience”.
Until we remembered the previews that were shown prior to the movie. Most of them were no big deal, but one preview really stuck out as being wildly inappropriate for the young, innocent audience that would be inevitably attracted to a Wallace and Gromit movie: the preview for the film Zathura.
Zathura is positioned as a sort of sequel to the inventive and entertaining film Jumanji, and, to be honest, it looks rather exciting and inventive itself, even as it suffers from the limitations of any sequel in Hollywood.
So let me be clear. It’s not Zathura that I’m unhappy about, it’s that the preview for this film was graphic and quite frightening for small children, and inappropriate for inclusion in the Wallace and Gromit showing.
Here’s a single frame that I grabbed from the preview that seems quite cool here on the Web, but was quite overwhelming in the loud, dark and enveloping experience of the theater:
Imagine this coming at your child, the monster 5 stories tall and the music loud enough to feel.
Exciting, yes. Suggesting a great film, perhaps. But appropriate for a quiet, mild-mannered, pleasant, inoffensive Wallace and Gromit movie? I think not.
Since I’m rather a cineophile, I’ve read up on the economics of the movie theaters and know that the individual theaters (or theater chains) that decide what movies to include in the previews to another show, and that production companies pay big dollars to have their previews on the maximum number of screens possible. But still, I don’t care about the economics of theaters, I care about the experience of seeing the movie, and in my experience, previews are now often the very worst part of the cinema experience.
Indeed, I vividly remember a few years ago when Linda and I would go and see the new action and adventure movies (think James Bond and the like), just to be disgusted how prior to the film starting there’d be a spate of what I can only call “satan movies”, previews of films that were shockingly, disgustingly violent and aggressive, with flashed scenes of demons, tortured people, blood, and all with such pounding music and scream tracks that we’d just close our eyes, cover our ears and wait for the movie to actually start.
As I said, I love movies, and I particularly love the experience of seeing a movie in the theater. I’d love to share that with my children, especially with such innocent fare as The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, but I’m not about to pay good money to have my children exposed to previews that are as shockingly inappropriate as Zarutha along the way.
What do you think? Are we over-protective, or is this a definite problem with modern cinema?