Being a Grown Up at a Kids Movie

So. Back again. And, not with pictures of a pile of burning student papers that I was hoping to show you guys. Maybe later.

New movie review, kinda. I saw Rise of the Guardians recently with my friend, RoseE at a dollar theater. It’s a movie that I was looking forward to go seeing, because, hey, I’m a sucker for whimsy. Though, I didn’t know a thing about it until an artist I “watch” on deviantart (her handle is rufftoon, she does other cool fan-art about Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra) started posting about it:

Then I went and looked up the actual trailer on YouTube and became quite taken with it. When I saw the movie this last weekend I did enjoy it, not as much as I was hoping I would. But, then, I don’t know what I was expecting or why. I think I would want to be meaner to this movie, but I can’t be. I’ve trashed some pretty solid and pretty crappy movies before, some of them were kids movies, like Hotel Transylvania. But, what saved me from doing that, from coming off as a complete ass-hat ranting about a CG flick, was before the movie started. This theater, before I go on, is tiny. Tiny, tiny. Our tickets were printed on the same receipt tape as the concessions we bought were and no one stood waiting to tear them in half. I hadn’t been to a place that small since the time I theater-hopped from Never Been Kissed to Entrapment, when theater-hopping was a thing.

The place was loaded with children and their parents salting/buttering their own popcorn before seeing the movie. RoseE and I were two of the few adults there, and probably the only two not there with children. Then it happened, the thing that kept me from truly turning to the dark side of movie-going: during the previews when (mind you, I was at a dollar theater so the previews weren’t so fresh) a commercial for the next Smurf movie came on. I rolled my eyes and said something snarky to RoseE about how anyone could justify a sequel to the first “probably-never-should-have-happened” Smurf movie, when the final punch-line squished a little blue homunculus against the screen, I heard a kid laugh. That’s it. A small giggle from the darkness behind me.

It wasn’t that I realized that Rise of the Guardians wasn’t for me and that I have no business criticizing it. Hell, lots of people twice my age do that and get money thrown at them for the joy of it. As if cutting up someone’s creative darling isn’t a reward all its own. But, it made me think of all the movies and TV shows I loved as a kid and how my brothers gave me crap for liking them. And, I don’t want to be that person. The douche-nozzle who makes people (young or otherwise) feel foolish for getting lost in a story and taken away by the things they never wanted to stop believing in. I don’t talk to the people who did that to me when I was young, because I know they would do it to me now. Luckily, I know plenty more people who lose themselves in whimsy and adventure, and who don’t try to take those experiences away from anyone.

Besides, I do like that movie. Maybe I would have been harder on it before my experience in a child-strewn theater, maybe not. It had some clever moments and did some excellent work in easter-egging it with tropes and facts about mythology. And, I really liked the little big girl who wore a tutu and could smash your skull in, were she so inclined. It played with different ideas, threw out tired stereotypes, and brought forth questions about the existence of beings or a being bigger than ourselves. It was cool and should have done better in the market, which it may have if it had more time to tell its story.

I will say this, though, the name of one of the pieces of score on the movie’s soundtrack is crap. It’s called “Jack’s Betrayal,” and that simply did not happen. …A-hole not watching the movie they wrote the music for.

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