So, I'm walking the seven year old I babysit home from a playdate at Barnes and Noble where I refused to purchase for her a Teen Beat magazine spattered with the shining, nauseating faces of such artistic talents as Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers, when a bus rolls on by down W. 86th with an ad for WATCHMEN on the side.
My seven year old informs me, "I saw an add for Watchmen."
"On my tv."
"Um, and I think- even though it showed all the scary parts I didn't think it was that scary!" Oh dear.
"Yeah, I think you're gonna have to wait a few years to see that one, kiddo." I, the uber proponent of comic books-over-whatever crap they're showing on the Disney channel. But I mean, dude, she's seven.
"But I watch 24!"
"Yeah, this is a little more violent and mature than that."
So as we're ascending the stairs to her apartment and I'm absently turning over the little Riddler lego keychain ornament attached to the ring with her apartment's keys on it, it occurs to me: Must tell kiddo's parent's not to let kiddo's older brother, recently turned twelve, to see Watchmen.
Now, twelve year old brother is a smart, mature kid who listens to real music and is a respectful and funny person. He watches 24 as well. He's seen the Daniel Craig Bond films and enjoyed them fully. But Watchmen is different. And even though it seems sort of exploitative, I'm now wondering if the rather intense nature of the film's violence, particularly the graphic nature of the rape scene, shouldn't be getting a little more publicity.
Seven and Twelve's parents are awesome people with their fingers on the pulse, but comic movies are probably not something they follow closely. Now, I'll tell them, and possibly if they bothered to google search it, some of those Gugino/GDM interviews would come up, but how many dads who took their tween sons to Dark Knight or the Bond flicks are going to think oh, Watchmen, yeah, that's dark and mature comic stuff like those new Batman movies, and take them to the show without realizing?
The opening sequence alone is graphic and mature beyond anything I've seen in a theater, lately. It's not just the violence on display, it's the fact that what's being shown are some of the darkest pieces of the American consciousness, reflections of our country's deepest and oldest hatreds. It's not cartoon violence, it's not even 'comic book' violence. It's hate crime and sexual violence, and from what we can see in those first eighteen minutes, Snyder's handling it with artistry and care, but also unflinchingly. As someone who's usually a big fan of 'show 'em early and talk about it and make them better people', with Watchmen?
I'm thinking the rating is something parents should actually adhere to. I mean, I can't think of a single person under the age of sixteen I think should be shown this movie. Thoughts?