I'm not usually one to urge people to boycott something I don't like. I try to reserve that for the super serious issues, and keep the attitude that for the average stuff, "to each his own".
But as a fellow parent, I would be grossly remiss to not warn you to at least THINK TWICE before taking your kids to see the movie ASTRO BOY!
Most of us with small kids don't get to go to the movies often anyway, but every now and then a good animated film is advertised, captures our kids' attention and seems worth the risk to attempt a trip to the cinema. My kids are usually great at theatres, so when a fun cartoon comes out we jump at the chance to see it and get some movie-theatre popcorn. So was the case with Astro Boy.
My warning to you is that this movie is highly inappropriate for young children. It was deceivingly advertised and marketed to young kids. Firstly, it's a cartoon, with a kinda bubbly animation form that usually translates to "safe for kids" content. Secondly, it's about a kid. Thirdly, they pushed it at little kids with Astro Boy toys in HappyMeals (those are for young kids, right) But most importantly, it got a PG rating. And it really is not for kids.
WHAT'S INAPPROPRIATE ABOUT ASTRO BOY? In a nutshell:
-There is a ton of GUN violence
-The words "kill" and "die" and "dead" are said constantly throughout
-The young star of the film is KILLED in the first 15 minutes of the movie. (it's an explict scene as he cries to his father to save him)
-It's full of abuse, neglect, and violence towards children or child-like characters.
-The fight scenes are long, scary, and gruesome
-There's a ton of political messaging
I'm assuming this movie managed to get a PG rating because, technically, there is no explicit foul language, nudity, or sex. But it baffles me because there is a great deal of explicit violence that is very scary for young children. And since when did kid's movies replace moral messages with political ones? I know that sometimes, there's a gray area between the two, but this movie was clearly more political than moral. And despite what my own political opinions may be, I don't want political innuendo constantly reiterated (literally over and over) to my 3 year old during a cartoon. I want my kids to be happy-go-lucky little kids for quite a while longer.
It was uncomfortable for me to watch this movie with my kids, and by the end, my 3 year-old was wailing. His heart was heavy, he was sad and scared, and saying he did not like this movie. It was sad without being redeeming and violent without being exciting.
Now, personally I'm a free spirit who feels that all forms of entertaiment have a place, because no one brand of entertainment fits all people. Again, I have always had a "to each his own" view of this, and still do, even with regards to this film. I believe it's a parents responsiblity to protect their own children from inappropriate content in media and elsewhere.
And in that spirit, that's what I tried to do. Ideally, I would have spent the (excessive) $11.00 for a movie ticket (and 2 hours of my life) to go the the movie by myself and pre-screen it before taking my children, to make sure it was appropriate. But, is that realistic? No! Instead, I did the best I could as a parent (who had already had this movie over-marketed to my 3-year-old before I even knew about), I read the summary, I read reviews, and I looked at the rating. None of which gave any clue of the violence or death contained in the movie.
So after being begged by a kid who had recieved an Astro Boy toy with his Happy Meal, and saw commericials that did not hint to any of the violence, I spent $50 to take my family of 4 to an early matinee. And so that's why I'm writing this message, now. As parents we need to look out for eachother, right? When product marketing becomes our nemesis, when rating systems fail us, and when reality just does not allow for us to "pre-screen" everything, we need the help of fellow parents! It's why we band together for mom's clubs and playdates, and why we give recommendations on everything from car seats to cribs. I wish someone had warned me about this movie before I traumatized my own kids with a so-called "treat to the theatre."
Unfortunately, my husband and I both think that this "mis-rating" of movies is a growing trend. Since animated movies tend to do better in the box offices, it seems like producers are pushing through "adult" themed movies in animated form. Maybe I'll just have to start doing that $11 self-screening, afterall.
Having said all this, I'm not advising anyone NOT to see it, I'm just warning you to think twice before you take your kid(s).