Cover Your Eyes: “Mission: Impossible”

With so many different entertainment options out there for your children, we at PopcornBiz thought we'd take a moment each week to dissect one piece of family entertainment strictly from a parent's perspective, so that you know what parts are appropriate for your loved ones, and which are not. This week's COVER YOUR EYES subject: “Mission: Impossible.”

Whoa, hey, how about that "Mission: Impossible 4"? Everyone loves it. Critics love it. North American audiences love it. International audiences love it. The Dubai tourist bureau WORSHIPS it. It took just one fantastic movie for Tom Cruise to be a revered movie star again, instead of the guy who shows up on YouTube videos at SeaOrg meetings spewing gibberish. Quite the turnaround.

I have a five-year-old who's obsessed with the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world and figures prominently in "MI:4". And the irresponsible dad in me wants to run and scream to her, "Oh, so you like the Burj Khalifa, do you?! WELL DO I HAVE THE MOVIE FOR US TO GO SEE!" But something tells me that it's probably inappropriate to take such a young child to such an awesome movie. Her little head might explode from all the adrenaline. So, with that in mind, I thought I'd look back at the original "Mission: Impossible" to see if it's the kind of big-budget spectacle that's okay for your kids to watch.

The “Will Parents Be Able To Tolerate It?” Factor: Probably. It's no secret that the first three movies in the "Mission" franchise aren't all that memorable. I saw the first one in the theater and all I remember is the scene where Cruise drops down on the wires to, like, steal stuff. And I only remember that scene because it's been parodied 700 times. The rest of the movie is a blur. I think there were masks and stuff. "M:I" is passable entertainment, and it's probably way past its expiration date.

The Dead Parent Factor: Minimal, though so many OTHER people die, there's still a lot of carnage to deal with. The most alarming scene is when Jon Voight's character gets shot and dies (or does he?), since Voight served as a father figure for Cruise's Ethan Hunt, as much as a handsome cipher like Hunt can have an emotional backstory.

The "I Have No Clue What's Going On Factor: Huge. Many grown adults were confused by the plot of the original, and your kids will be no different. What's this NOC list again?

The Sexy Sex Sex Factor: Minimal, though Cruise does engage in some flirtatious banter with Vanessa Redgrave, which may lead to your kid asking you if Granny likes to kiss boys, which could be unpleasant.

The Scare Factor: I don't think that "M:I" is a particularly scary movie, but it's certainly violent (more on that in a second). Certainly, the break-in scenes have a certain amount of tension (thanks to director Brian de Palma), but I don't think older children will be all that frightened by this movie. Remember: the characters in "M:I" are remarkably thin, so it's hard to get worked up when they're in danger, the way that a Pixar film can be truly, deeply disturbing. Even kids will find the action more energizing than suspenseful.

The Violence Factor: TONS! Oh, glorious mayhem, what would we do without you? People get shot, stabbed, bombed, crushed in elevators... whatever kind of death you're looking for, "M:I" has it. Combine that with the frantic pacing and it may make your child run around all day punching people in the face. Look at little Johnny running around maiming seniors! So cute!

Age Range: 11 and up. Most of the violence has been sanitized for PG-13 audiences, but keep little kids away from the original if you can.

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