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Is 'The Dark Knight' for Kids?
It's not a comic book movie.
That's the first thing you should know when your kids ask to see "The Dark Knight," this summer's biggest blockbuster. The film is vastly more true to Frank Miller's famous alternative view of The Batman than to the zap-pow camp of Adam West's TV portrayal and sanitized DC comics that filled our childhood.
So how do you answer? Should your children see "The Dark Knight?" We turned first to our resident film fanatic and visual designer, Chuck Kim, the first of the Yahoo! Kids team to see the box office smash.
"I would not take a kid to see 'The Dark Knight,' said Chuck. "The Joker and Two-Face alone could give a kid nightmares." The oft-mentioned violence is not of one of gore, he says, but more of the heart—and thus potentially more terrifying. "The main thing is that it is a very dark movie," Chuck concludes."There's no ray of hope for the city." He recommends kids be 14 or older to see the film.
Such cautions seem to be the consensus, beginning with movie's star, Christian Bale, who said this on the "Today Show:"
"It’s quite haunting. It’s something which will stay with you for quite a while afterward. I’m not sure how much a child will be oblivious to that. I would say starting at about 9, maybe 10 years old may be an appropriate age for kids to be able to deal with this.”
A sampling of other comments:
"'Dark Knight' is a staggeringly violent and disturbing film. Thought-provoking for adults, but potentially terrifying for children," says Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News. "The PG-13 rating should offer some warning, yes. But this film dances just south of an R in my book."
"This film is not for children, and I would discourage parents from taking anyone under 12 to see this movie," writes Jim Pappas of The Trades.com. “'The Dark Knight' offers a glimpse into the darker places within each of us, which might be cathartic for some, but others will simply be afraid."
"The movie is sadistic, violent, disturbing and also one of the best and biggest movies of the year," according to MoviesOnline.ca. "That all said, 3 out of 4 of those components are absolutely not suitable for young children... regardless of how the MPAA rated the movie."
Ultimately, the "Dark Knight" decision depends upon you, your children and your relationships with them. There are children at age 14 (and I was one) who would be deeply troubled by the darkness of the film. And there are children of 10 who could not only face down the terror but even discuss some of the film's layered themes.
In all cases, we suggest talking with your children about "The Dark Knight." Be sure they understand that it is not a typical comic book movie and that it is intended for grown-ups. And should you permit them to see the film, we strongly recommend discussing it afterwards; our Common Sense Media review has some excellent starting points.
How about you? Have you seen "The Dark Knight?" Would you let childrens to see it?
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