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Film Mom: James Bond: Heroes and High Body Counts -- Good or Bad?

Family Film Mom is a weekly column about family entertainment for parents with kids (and kids with parents) by Tara McNamara, the editor and founder of KidsPickFlicks.com.

It’s not your father’s James Bond in Skyfall. That’s only because, actually, James Bond is more like your father.  Agent 007 is less like an uber-cool, hip gadget guru and more like a physically deteriorated gray-hair who needs a 12-year-old to update his iPhone. In Skyfall, Bond is broken physically and mentally and returns to MI6 as an old-school field agent in a new technologically advanced world of spies. The movie really presents the question: is new always improved or is there value in the way things used to be done?

But like our Bond, unfortunately, the film itself stumbles to deal with its own "old-school" underpinnings. Skyfall reminds the audience that Bond is not just a super-agent; he is, in fact, a contract assassin with a license to kill. Achieving objectives are the priorities of Secret Service head M and Bond, with disregard for any human life that impedes the goal. Hero as a heartless killing machine – or one who allows innocents to be killed – is viscerally disturbing and unbecoming an iconic character like James Bond, even if it’s true to whom he’s always been. James Bond’s M.O. is the same as it was 50 years ago; the problem is Hollywood hero movies are not.

As hard as this may be to believe, movies are far more socially responsible now than ever before. In a PG-13 film, our heroes rarely kill. If they do, it’s in self-defense or the bad guy dies at his own hand (slipping during the struggle is a favorite way to off a villain). Hollywood no longer rewards a good guy who racks up a high body count unless he feels really, really guilty about it. See, that way, the good guy stays good. And the audience – who doesn’t want to root for a killer – feels good as well.

Here are three films you can see with your kids this week:

 Lincoln. Steven Spielberg explores America’s 16th president during the final months of his life. It’s a study on when to fight for your beliefs and when to compromise in the toughest of circumstances.

 

 

 Wreck-It Ralph. What about the villain who wants to save the world, for once? And if you’re going to save a world, all kids can agree saving a world made out of candy is an excellent choice.  

 

 

 Hotel Transylvania. Do women want to date James Bond? That’s not important. What is important is that we don’t want our daughters  to date James Bond. Whodathunk it, but Adam Sandler is the most responsible teacher of respectful romance among this week’s movie choices.

 

 

To read what kids think about movies, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.

 

 

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