Yesterday my husband and I had the rare opportunity to have a couple of hours to ourselves so, like many a geek would, we headed to tour local Odeon to watch the latest Bond film SPECTRE. We figured that since it was a Bond film and the middle of the day, the likelihood of our viewing being ruined by kids or unruly teens was small. I mean it’s Bond with all the violence and sexy time that goes with it. Not something I would have thought appeals to those looking for a family film. I was wrong.
Now before you start hurling abuse at me for being a child hater or inconsiderate of those with children, I should probably let you know that I have two geeks of my own. A twelve year old and an eight year old. I also work with children in my day job, needless to say I spend a LOT of time around children and I love them, I really do.
Anyway, a few rows down from us was a family of four consisting of a mum, dad and two small children, I would estimate aged around 4 and 6 years old. They immediately caught my eye, I thought it a strange choice for a family film and if I am honest my heart sank. Why? Because I know a four old will struggle to sit through this kind of film. And, as predicted, the child preceded to get up, crawl over his parents, talk, walk around the aisle, cry when he get his own way and blow raspberries. I find it difficult not to be distracted by this and I’m sure I was not the only one.
SPECTRE is a mature film with an equally mature storyline requiring the viewer to watch and understand what is happening. Children’s films are full of colour, noise and music which entice a young mind in becoming glued to the screen. If you have any doubt grab yourself a young kid and put on cbeebies, they will sit hypnotised all afternoon, if you allow it. [Geek Pride does not advocate the kidnapping of young children].
Now it sounds that I am against children watching 12a films and that would be somewhat hypocritical, I took both of my children to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron. BUT I knew these would be fun and engaging films. My children are already fans of comic characters andloved the likes of Iron Man and the first Avengers film, I had no doubt they would sit still and watch. Plus my children are well behaved for the most part, I don’t think they would dare kick up a fuss. I do appreciate how difficult it is as parents to get the time to actually go to the pictures, you need babysitters, money and energy – all of which can be difficult to come by. Trust me, there is many a film that has come and gone from the cinema that I wish I could’ve seen on the big screen. But being a parent means making sacrifices and that is just something you have to live with.
It cost my husband and I £21.00 to treat ourselves to SPECTRE, £21 is a lot of money when you don’t have much to spare, so to have the experience spoiled by young children that have no idea what is happening is frustrating to say the least, but who is to blame?
The British Board of Film Classification states the following in regards to 12a films
…the BBFC considers the content of 12A rated films to be suitable for children aged 12 and over, and we would not recommend taking very young children to see them. Works classified at these categories may upset children under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them.
Adults planning to take a child under 12 to view a 12A film should consider whether the film is suitable for that child.
Basically they are saying judge each film and use the BBFCInsight which allows you to search each film and find out the themes and which aspects may not be suitable. This means the family with the young children weren’t actually doing anything wrong in terms of the law of film classification. Whether they were making good parenting choices, I’ll let you decide.
Another bug bare is the children aged 11 years old or under who are not accompanied by adults and feel like they can piss around, now I guess it’s unlikely they are spending their own hard earned cash so why do they care? This occurred during Bond and when we went to see Ant-Man. During the Ant-Man screening the group behind us were taking selfies WITH THEIR FLASH ON. Luckily, I have no fear of naughty children so I turned around and in my best dead pan teacher voice stated the following “Are you for real?” Needless to say they all stopped what they were doing. The company has a legal responsibility to ensure the children in the 12a film are over 12 or accompanied by an adult. This is not happening.
Which brings us to the responsibilities of the cinema. Back in the 90s, when I was a youngster, my friends and I would go and see films in large groups and you can guarantee there would be an usher present. This usher would shine the torch at you and tell you to take your feet of the back of the seats and stop talking and generally monitor the behaviour of all those enjoying the film. This does not happen any more, in fact I can’t remember the last time I saw any kind of supervising during a film. What I have seen is children of all ages generally pissing around and ruining the experience for everyone else. An usher is what is missing and the reason films are being spoiled.
Odeon and other such cinema companies you need to get your act together because if this behaviour continues I won’t be paying to see films on the big screen any more, which is a real shame because some films are best viewed on the big screen.