Challenge of the family adventureI'll weigh in on the side of being disturbed by the violent "emotional hook" to yank us into a sense of danger or excitement to a story, but I have to agree with journeymom's post:
"Yes, these stories allow children to safely explore scary issues. Many children wonder about what life would be like if they had to go it alone, if they had to face monsters or disasters without a parent coming to their aid. In side the confines of a story a child can wrestle with and conquer an enemy. "
What does strike me, and irks me most, is that there are really so few family adventures. As I read through this thread though, catching the various examples, it did start to make sense: the ideas of home and family are the expected norm, so unless either one or both of the parents are unavailable, there is little reason for a child to rise up and take on an adventure that their parents would likely tell them wasn't for them. My DW mentioned being concerned at how often we warn our DD to "be careful" and as soon as she did, I felt like I was catching myself saying it all the time.
That being the case, it does make sense that it would take some plausibly extreme circumstance to require a kid to rise up to a big adventure, which was a thrilling idea when I was a kid. I'm kind of amazed at how many things seem WAY too scary & dangerous now that I'm a dad. I whisper silent apologies to my mother for the ways I must have frayed her nerves as a kid every time I see kids doing things that seem too dangerous to me now.
I do wish there were more adventures as families, but I'm finding myself hard pressed to think of examples I really liked or like now. Swiss Family Robinson comes to mind, as do more recent examples of Spy Kids and The Incredibles. The main thing that stands out is that there are pretty extreme circumstances that the parents themselves are involved in, not just going through the daily steps of providing shelter, food, etc, but out-and-out adventures that I recall wondering who had families that did that sort of thing. Later, I found out my dad used to be a mountain rescue climber, and he taught me to rock climb, but until I was old enough, he was just "my dad" and either working or tired, so I had to imagine adventures until we started having them.
I do recall reading "The Boxcar Children" and trying to imagine what it would be like to have to try to make life work like that, and it was a thrilling adventure to read about, from the safe confines of my everyday world.
I'm just very much still of the mind that DW and I need to screen things first to make sure we're comfortable with the message that a movie or book sends, before suggesting such a thing for a movie or reading night. If it's a worthwhile adventure, and we can talk through the traumatic part, it could be worth it, but we have yet to watch Bambi, mostly because DW and I aren't fans.