A friend recently suggested taking L to "Kung-Fu Panda". This coincided with reading a review over at the BabyCenter that seemed to be supportive of the movie. As a test we rented Monsters Inc. Both 3 year old M and 4 year old L sat through the whole movie. L asked questions about the movie fairly non-stop, which is nice as we can do the whole parental guidance thing, but I was not so sure other movie-goers would appreciate it.
We watched the YouTube trailer for the movie. Where L is concerned, the more information he has about what to expect the better. He will flat out refuse to watch a show/movie that he hasn't seen before, a bit of a catch-22 innit? If we show him some YouTube clips, THEN he will sometimes accept watching a novel program. He seemed onboard. He did seem a little nervous about the bad-guy. I said that I was pretty sure that the good-guys would have to fight the bad-guy, but that the good-guys would win. Please don't let this be a kids movie that doesn't follow the Disney mould!
On the way to the theatre I prepped L on what to expect: a big line to get tickets, a big room with comfy chairs, a huge screen, it would get a little dark and there would be commercials just like on his DVD's (aside - why can we not even get away from commercials when we have BOUGHT the show?!!?), and then it would get really dark and the movie would begin. He was also told that he had to whisper any questions and not be loud. Stoic M got no real preparation...he was just along for the ride.
M was enthralled from the moment the room darkened until the very end of the credits. He watched, leaning forward with anticipation at the dramatic (Jack Black is dramatic??) points.
His older brother on the other hand was fidgeting in his seat after about 20 minutes (coincidentally the length of many of his bedtime DVD selections). He asked if it was a long movie...oops, did I forget to mention how long it would be? I told him it would be about as long as Cars. He settled back in. About 10 minutes later he leaned over and declared "This is longer than Cars".
A while later the dreaded phrase was spoken. "When I say that I am done, I am done." This is what he tells me when he knows he is approaching his limit. He is either getting too scared, or freaked out, or overwhelmed, or something. It means that the end is imminent. In the abstract it is actually pretty cool that he understands his limits and that he has picked up on how I try to transition the kids from one activity to another. He is essentially giving me a verbal cue that he is about to transition.
I tried to assure him that it is almost over, but I had no idea when it will be over. I reassured him that the Panda would win, the bad guy would be vanquished. "Will the bad guy get killed?" Ugh, they have recently been talking about good guys and bad guys getting killed. I think it is the Star Trek Next Gen that they have been watching with their Dad in the afternoons. They don't seem bothered by it, in fact they seem to think it is an appropriate ending for bad guys to get killed. I'm not sure that I like that. But I'm not sure that it isn't actually appropriate for their age, and, lets face it, their sex. Anyhoo, L made it to the credits. He was very antsy while the credits were rolling, so we went to les toilettes while the rest of the gang watched the end of the credits.
L did ask a few questions, but not too many. I whispered a few parental guidance comments to him during the movie as well. He certainly didn't disrupt the other movie goers. Afterwards, M and L both declared that they loved the movie. When asked if it was scary, they replied no. They both thought it was a funny movie, which it was.