Friday, August 14, 2009

Is Ponyo too scary for kids?

If you are a parent, I'd like to draw your attention to several short posts on Double X that discuss whether Hayao Miyazki's new movie Ponyo is too scary for little kids.

One of the two people writing about this issue is Slate's movie reviewer, Dana Stevens. She has decided to take her three-year-old daughter to see Ponyo, even though there are a couple of scary parts.

This is something that my wife and I have been wrestling with, since our four-year-old son LOVES Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. We've held off showing him any of Miyazaki's other movies, though, because they are just a little too scary. After reading this discussion on Double X, I'm leaning toward taking him to Ponyo this weekend.

Here are the posts, in order:
  1. Worshipping at the Shrine of Hayao Miyazaki
  2. Miyazaki's "Ponyo": Too Scary for Kids? Good Question ...
  3. "Ponyo" and the Scary Movie Dilemma
ALSO: Double X now rates movies, books, games, and tv. The ratings are very helpful to parents. (They rate them by "Fear Factor," "Heart," and "Attitude," which are three qualities that I find very good to know in advance before showing things to my kids.) Here's their review of Ponyo.


  1. If anyone is afraid that Ponyo, of all movies, will scar their children for life, they might as well lock their kid up in a soft, windowless room for life immediately. Because that kid isn't going to have a life worth mentioning...

  2. Kids can still get scared at the movies. My 5 year old son, who will watch almost anything on television, got scared during the action sequences in UP. For that brief moment, his entire world became about getting away from the bad guy and getting out of the movie. It's what happens to kids. I actually think my son has a worst time with animated movies at the theater because they require so much of his imagination, rather than live action movies like Night At the Museum 2 where he can go along for the ride.

    I got to see about half of Ponyo last week and we're planning on taking Jakob this weekend to see it. He's already watched Howl's Moving Castle at home a few times in the last couple of weeks and has enjoyed all of the Miyazaki films we've shown him (all except for Mononoke I think.) I'm still concerned that part of the movie may be a bit too intense for him but Sosuke reminded me so much of my son that I want to share the experience with him.

  3. Ponyo has scary parts? I must have seen the censored version.

    Seriously, the film's more on the level of Totoro or Kiki than Howl or Spirited Away. I think the only really scary part is when the main character fears that something bad may have happened to his mom and he starts to cry. That's about it. I took my kids, six and seven, to the film and they loved it.

  4. all children are different - trying to decide if ponyo is too scary for kids is like assuming that all children are alike - and well - they just aren't. adults need to take a look at the film and decide what is right for their unique child!