To bring this back to "I Am Legend"....my son saw this movie a few days ago, when he was out of town visiting his dad. My son turned 11 in late October. Before he left on the trip, i reminded him that the movie may have some scary bits (i had read something about "vampire" like creatures), and he said he knew, and that he'd be fine. When he got home from the trip ,he informed me that "I Am Legend" was one of his top five favorite films of all time (and he has seen ALOT of movies)...that he was moved to tears several times (it takes alot for a movie to make him cry, though i think he did cry during Bridge to Terabithea, both book and movie)....we are going to see the movie together in a few days. He really LOVED it. He read all about the book, the movie, various other adaptations (such as The Omega Man), etc on wikipedia before he even saw the movie. I think he was well prepared.
I think its rather ridilulous to say (as one poster did)that all children are the same as all other children their age, developmentally. There is such a HUGE variation in not only physical development, but also a child's experience. A movie that has certain scenes might be totally fine for one child, but might remind another child of some traumatic event. My son loves action movies (such as Transformers), but movies with creepy music and suprises jumping out from every corner....even if there isnt any real horror.....he just hates that. He hates to be "surprised"...so if i know there is going to be a movie on like that, i warn him...or i make sure to fast forward previews on a dvd that might scare him.
Another poster was concerned that a child would be sad that an animal was killed in a movie, but not people....again, i think that is *totally* normal and understandeable...i just watched "Apt Pupil" a movie based upon a Stephen King novel, about a student who realized his old neighbor is a Nazi war criminal. There is a scene where the nazi grabs a stray cat and tries to force it into an oven (cat gets away), and also a scene where the student kills a bird (they dont show it)...both scenes i fast forwarded through...even though the sequences about gas chambers, jewish prisoners, etc did not faze me as much...does that make me heartless? No i dont think so, i think it has more to do with knowing that those people are actors, and that the animals (while also "actors")know less of what is going on, and so they may truly be scared, or be emotionally harmed.
And about studies showing how harmful tv is.....bah. I'm not buying it (i think its hilarious how people will buy "science" wholeheartedly if it supports their agenda, but not if it doesnt. Whatever.)....when they do a study of all the unschooled kids i know, with involved parents who sit and watch with them, discuss what they see, kids who are are truly free to choose....when they do THAT study, maybe i'll pay closer attention to the results. Until then, i'll choose to pay more attention to my own child, and how things like "screen time" (gag) affect him....so far so good!