Movie Mistake

Today we were looking for a fun activity to fight the post-Christmas blues. It was too cold for the zoo, and we wanted to do something new anyways. So we decided to go to a movie. This would be Claire’s first real movie in a theater!

The theater at the nearby mall had two cartoons showing in the late morning.The Tale of Despereaux was about a mouse who lives in some sort of castle and maybe sings or something. Then there was Bolt, about a scrappy superhero dog. We leaned towards Bolt since it looked cute and was about a dog, which is always fun, right? The reviews on imdb also favored Bolt, plus it was showing earlier in the morning. So it was clinched, we would take our sweet little girl to the cute movie about the scruffy white dog.

Bolt started out promisingly enough, with the expected cute puppy playing around with a little girl. I whispered to Claire that the little girl looked just like her. She seemed to enjoy the giant movie screen and the engrossing sound, all of which really shamed our little TV at home. Her eyes and mouth were wide open.

Ten minutes later, we had witnessed roughly three helicopter explosions, a pair of bad guys being “shaken down” for information with their car dangling off a bridge, the violent deaths of several evil guys in black suits and masks with deadly electric shocking hands, the destruction of an entire dessert valley along and the entire army of evil guys populating it, and of course several near-death incidents involving the scrappy white dog and the little girl who looked just like Claire.

Claire was terrified. Well, may not quite terrified, but she was definitely scared and grasping her mom’s arm really hard. She tried to say something, but I could not hear it. I asked if she wanted to leave the movie for a while, and she nodded her head. I took her out to the lobby to get some delicious theater popcorn. We sat in the lobby for a few minutes enjoying our popcorn. When we returned to the movie, it had settled down. In the movie, all of the mayhem was revealed to have been fake — a show within a show. But of course Claire did not understand these concepts. It was just scary to her, really scary. When the little girl in the movie got dragged off by bad guys at the protests of her howling dog, who was being dragged off somewhere else, Claire calmly asked to leave. And so we did.

Uh, what was this thing rated? Oops, it turns out Bolt was rated PG, which basically means, “think about leaving your sweet little three year old at home”. Normally we pay pretty close attention to what Claire sees and hears. But not today! We had assumed that Bolt was rated G, or maybe we just hadn’t thought about it at all. Either way, it was the idiot moment of the day.

We snuck next door to try out The Tale of Despereaux, which was just beginning and really was rated G. It started out as a nice sweet movie about some soup — yes, soup. Things picked up, and eventually a bunch of people were chasing down the silly protagonist rat, who was running for his life. There were no explosions or scary evil guys. It was standard old-school little kid cartoon stuff, lighthearted and decidedly more funny than scary. But Claire’s mood for this sort of thing had already been ruined by Bolt, and she politely asked to leave.

We spent the unexpected free time getting a little post-Christmas shopping done at the mall. Ann Taylor Loft had a kid’s bench set up outside the fitting room, filled with Dr. Seuse books, which was a nice touch. I read Green Eggs and Ham and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? to Claire while Kit tried on sweaters. Claire may actually enjoy Bolt in another 10 years. It’s supposed to be a good movie, at least for the right audience. But for now, Dr. Seuse was just the ticket. It was silly and colorful and very G-rated.

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