If my mommy mush brain hasn’t failed me, the last movie that I saw in the theater was Brave — that was when Sam and I had our movie date in Chapel Hill. We’ve been back in Manila for the last few months and up until last Saturday I hadn’t set foot in a movie theater.
The irony of it all was that before we left for Chapel Hill (before we had kids), my husband and I would watch movies almost weekly. Any new release, we’d make time to see it. But then since we’ve been back, watching a movie has not made it back into our regular programming just yet. I think it’s mostly because when the weekends hit, the schedule doesn’t work out, or the kids have a different agenda. Also, we both felt that Jamie might still be too young to watch a full-length feature in a dark surround-sound theater.
In the last week however, several different people have told us that the Rise of the Guardians was a must-see, even for kids. I hadn’t even heard of the movie (I have obviously not been following the latest trailers or checking the newspapers’ movie pages!) so we checked out the trailers on You Tube. I’d have to say that the trailers are a tad-bit misleading and present it as a very scary movie. Sam saw them and said she didn’t want to watch it.
Nonetheless I persisted and questioned several trusted sources, and they said that Sam would enjoy it… and maybe even Jamie. So last Saturday, while Dad was at a basketball game and we had a free afternoon (I think it’s also the last one we have this December!), I took the risk and headed to the 4pm show. I had all these scenarios in my head about how I would keep Jamie from getting scared so that we could sit in our seats and watch the show I had my mom (our other accompanying adult for the film) buy hotdogs and chips — just in case we needed some form of pacifying.
As it turned out none of it was needed. Jamie was a little scared about the trailers and the loud sounds at first, but I held her and told her it was going to be okay. The minute she saw the moon and Santa and the elves, she was completely mesmerized. And she sat through the whole 100 minutes of the film without a fuss! I was pretty impressed. I doubt she got the whole story, but she enjoyed seeing the action and the characters on the big screen, and it was nice because somehow she learned about the Sandman and the Tooth fairy. Plus, she liked the silly little jingly elves. Not bad for a first movie for a 21-month old!
Sam on the other hand was a little bit more apprehensive coming into the movie. Nonetheless she sat in her chair, hotdog in hand and absorbed pretty much what she could. I had to explain a few things to her here and there because she kept asking me why (I’m told 4-year olds do that sort of thing often), but I didn’t mind. She did get a little bit scared and overly dramatic over some of the scenes with Pitch the Boogeyman but after she climbed into my lap she still sat through them. She said she was more afraid of the scary music. At first she held to her original feelings that she didn’t want to watch it, although she did want a picture with the pop-up poster outside after the show. We’ve been talking about the movie ever since and with every conversation and every new memory she’s slowly learned to appreciate the lighter, funnier parts. Now she says she wants to go and take her dad to see it, because she “really really REALLY liked it!“. Ah, the mind of a toddler indeed.
She even has a favorite part of the movie, which involves the scene below. I’d tell you – but I might spoil it for you!
Sam has picked the Sandman as her favorite character (I must admit I like him a lot too). Before going to bed at night she and Jamie ask if the Sandman will bring them some dreams! Of course, with Christmas just around the corner, we talk about Santa a lot too. And then there’s Jack Frost — and Sam says she misses seeing his snow in Chapel Hill.
The movie is all we’ve been talking about for the last few days, which is why we keep going back to McDonald’s. Their Happy Meals contain several of the characters (Santa is not part of the list! Boo!), and so the girls have excitedly and repeatedly asked to have chicken nuggets and fries just so that they could get a few “new guardian toys” to play with. We’re 70% of the way to collecting all of them.
It’s a pretty cool film if I do say so myself, and it has a lot of great messages for kids and kids at heart. Everyone has something to learn from the Guardians. It’s one of those films you want to see more of, or see again, or own a copy of at home (and I want to do all three!). Best of all it talks about a basic truth we can all live by and use well into our years. In Sam’s own words (she came to the conclusion all on her own) that for as long as she believed in the Guardians, then she needn’t be afraid of the Boogeyman. I don’t think she could have said it better.
What did you think of the movie?