A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sports documentary showcases high-energy, high-risk stunts performed by expert professionals. There's a high degree of danger in these events, and viewers see plenty of high-altitude falls and bone-jarring crashes. Kids will glean some positive messages from the athletes' professionalism, enthusiasm, and camaraderie -- but they'll also probably need strong reminders that similar stunts shouldn't be undertaken lightly or replicated at home. Expect to see lots of sponsor logos in nearly every scene.
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What's the story?
Following the "extreme" sports events of the annual X Games -- and going behind-the-scenes with many of the competitors -- X GAMES 3D: THE MOVIE (narrated by Emile Hirsch) captures the competition's high-flying stunts, from skateboarding to motocross. And thanks to the stunning 3D footage, the high-adrenaline, high-risk action featuring popular athletes like Shaun White and Travis Pastrana literally leaps off the screen.
Is it any good?
X Games 3D is a bit of a contradiction; it's a full-length corporate promotional vehicle, but it also features amazing sportsmanship and effort in the name of excellence. The athletes -- familiar names like White, Pastrana, and Ricky Carmichael -- are interviewed about their efforts, achievements, and philosophy ... thoughtful moments that are intercut with more kinetic segments loaded with skateboard stunts, motorcycle jumps, dirt-track race car driving, and other high-energy events.
The 3D footage is fascinating, even if it gets a little repetitive. (And you actually have to wonder whether presenting a 50-foot fall in 3D is an optimal use of the technology.) Kids who can extract the message -- if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, and you never know whether you can do it until you try -- from the thrills and spills will find much to enjoy, and even learn, from X Games 3D.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal and the excitement of extreme sports. Do audiences get into it because of the competitors' athleticism and daring ... or because there's always a chance that someone could get hurt? Does the element of risk make sports more exciting?
The X Games are always highly branded. Why do you think corporations try to associate themselves with this kind of event? How does seeing so many logos and product names affect kids?
- In theaters: August 21, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: January 12, 2010
- Cast: Emile Hirsch, Shaun White, Travis Pastrana
- Director: Steve Lawrence
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: extreme sports action and accidents
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