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RUN! It's A Dinosaur

Ronan and Ryan
Ronan and Ryan at the movies.

As we approach Ronan’s first birthday, we are starting to emerge from infancy and move into toddler-hood. To that end, we took Ronan to see his first movie, Horton Hears a Who. We choose this movie for several reasons; one, it’s only about 90 minutes long; it’s rated G; and most importantly, several close friends worked on making it.

The process through which we determined the acceptability of the film was much more elaborate than I remember as a child. When I was young it was basically Dad saying “that movie sounds good,” and we were off. This was a much more complicated process. We first checked with our friend who worked on the movie to see if there were any scary bits, and then rechecked just to make sure. We then checked the running time and figured out which theatre it was in so we could decide where to sit. Finally, our friend was gracious enough to check with us first about what time would be best for Ronan before inviting all his other friends.

Once we decided to bring Ronan, I acquired three tickets ($8.75 for a child’s entry. I remember when my Dad paid $1.50 for me thirty years ago – at this rate, Ronan’s children will pay $51 for a child’s ticket in thirty years.) and we were off.

Ronan loves new experiences. His preferred mode is to take in his surroundings, looking around first. Then when he is comfortable, he will start exploring. I don’t know if it just took a long time to take it all in, or if the large digital screen overwhelmed him, but he stayed put through the whole movie. He never wanted to wander around like he does in other places. Which was good.

Uncle Ryan started out holding him during the pre-show advertising (when they cut into the long advertisements to show you shorter advertisements for about twenty minutes) and into the trailers. The trailer for Ice Age 3 ended with Scrat landing on the tail of a giant dinosaur (Allosaurus or T-Rex) which bellows a deep, scary roar at the hapless nut-muncher. As Scrat fell into the beast’s tail, I knew, just knew, that this wasn't going to be any fun for Ronan. Before I could do anything, the full-throated dino roar blasted forth in surround sound, and Ronan's lower lip quivered and then he broke into his own, less noisy wail. The dino made him cry. It was one of those moments where you’re trying to be comforting to him, but he was so cute you just wanted to laugh. He was crying with his little lower lip in a pout. I took him towards the door and held him through the next trailer, which wasn’t as loud but still loud enough to continue the crying. Soon enough he calmed down and I took him back to our seats.

After the dino’s roar made him cry, it was easier for me to hold him (I was seated on the aisle) rather than pass him back during the movie. I think watching what was essentially a giant screen TV enthralled him. The new digital projection makes movies like Horton, rendered in digital 3D, really pop. Being bathed in Dolby stereo also added to his experience. I don’t know if he enjoyed it or was a little scared, but he basically didn’t move the entire time, except for the dino roar and one other loud noise during the picture.

It’s kind of amazing to be watching a movie, something I’ve done as long as I can remember, with your son on your lap watching his first movie. I doubt he will remember any of it, but it was a wonderful experience for me. Terry may have less fond memories of Horton, because she was brave enough to breastfeed Ronan during the picture in the middle of the audience. I doubt anyone noticed in the dark, but Ronan seemed to eat quickly and get back to figuring out what the giant TV was doing.

Ronan at the Movies Pointing

So, after a wedding, a church visit, and several other public gatherings, we’ve learned that Ronan is not big on crowds or loud noises. He is immediately calmed and fascinated by moving pictures, and his attention to TV or movies will last for a few hours, as long as there aren’t any loud noises. The evil characters in Horton didn’t seem to faze him in the least.

While it may be some time before we take him to the movies again, since we will not often have the benefit of consulting the filmmakers beforehand for advice about what scenes may be scary, I can’t wait. Just as I really enjoyed watching movies with my Dad, I look forward to sharing this with him also!


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 20, 2008 6:27 PM.

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