The spy movies which caused James Bond films to make drastic changes.
The Bourne Identity is the first film in the Bourne Franchise that has spawned three sequels starring Matt Damon and one with Jeremy Renner. The films are known for their fantastic action, intriguing internal CIA politics, and the mystery of discovering Jason Bourne’s past. When is a good age to introduce kids to these fantastic films? The action can be intense in the series and the story could be hard to follow for those who don’t pay close attention. The Bourne identity is rated PG-13, and a PG-13 film is somewhat of a grey area when it comes to the rating system. They can range from extremely dark and gritty pushing the R boundary, to extremely kid friendly with one or two words or situations which push the movie to the PG-13 status.
There is not much foul language in The Bourne Identity. It does use its one allotted F word, and some other cuss words, but nothing which would prevent me from letting my twelve year old watch, or even anyone a few years younger than that. The film has one sexual situation, but we just see Jason and the love interest of the film Marie start to kiss. This isn’t anything which would prevent me from letting any age range watch. The reason the movie gets its PG-13 rating is for its intense action. There are brutal hand to hand fight scenes along with some gun violence. There are also a few graphic images from some deaths. These would be the parts of the film which would hold me back from letting younger kids watch. The two most shocking are when we see the poor land lady shot in the head, and when the assassin jumps out the window and we see him lying on the street. You don’t see the land lady get shot, nor do you see the assassin hit the pavement, if so this would have been an R movie, but it would still give me pause for anyone eight or under.
The main issue, besides the violence, I would have with showing younger kids The Bourne Identity or any of the Bourne movies are the complex stories the films tell. Is it complex for adults who pay attention? No, but trying explaining amnesia to a seven year old, along with brainwashing. They also have to understand the complex political situation going on at the CIA during the story. A secret shadow operation within the CIA creating programmed assassins is a fantastic concept to base a story around, but not easy to grasp for children. When I introduce my kids to a story I want them to be able to understand and enjoy most if not all points to the film. Yes an eight to ten year old would enjoy the movie for the sheer action, but might fail to grasp all of the twist and turns the story takes. The parts were they are trying to determine who the dead body is in the morgue, and why it is there could be hard to follow. I guess you could argue to let a child watch when they are younger and enjoy the action, and when they get older they can enjoy the complexity. I think doing this runs the risk of the kid being bored by the parts with no action.
I remember going to watch the Bourne Identity for the first time and not knowing what to expect. Matt Damon as an action star? Seriously? I thought the trailers looked good and I was a Matt Damon fan. I loved Good Will Hunting, Rounders and many other of his early work and this looked interesting. I remember walking out of the theater being blown away. Wanting to read the books the character was based on and hoping there would be more movies. It was one of the first times I remember buying a DVD as soon as it was released. Which now have updated to the Blu-Ray and digital versions. It is a film franchise I want my kids to enjoy and I’m happy I can share it with my twelve year old, if I can actually get him to sit down and watch them. All of the films starring Damon are re-watchable, and he pulled off being an action star remarkably well. He didn’t have to latch onto a superhero franchise, he carved one out for himself.
The Bourne Identity is a fantastic spy thriller, and is one which can eventually be enjoyed by all. I think the right age range for kids to watch is anywhere between 9 to 11 depending on the child. When would you let your kids watch The Bourne Identity if you have them. What age where you when you saw the movie originally since I’m becoming an old man? Comment and let me know.