Thursday, August 11, 2005

Movie Review: Madagascar

My wife and I don’t actually go out to see many movies. We’re not really movie people, and most movies these days are so filled with filth that they aren’t worth seeing, anyway. So we pick and choose our movies based on their content, then usually rent them and watch them quietly at home. It’s rather nice, actually.

This week we went to the theater for the first time since Passion of the Christ came out. We went for primarily one reason: to take our two-year-old son to see his first big screen movie. The movie of choice? Madagascar.

Granted, it’s been out for a while and isn’t quite what you would call a “current” movie, but it was the best choice going for a two-year-old’s first trip to the movies. We have a pretty well behaved son, for the most part. I’ve seen parents out in all sorts of public places with their little demons that are either ill-behaved or ill-parented (or, most likely, a combination of the two), and I thank God every day that my son isn’t like that. As well behaved as he is, I expected he might make it through at least three-fourths of the movie before growing restless.

We arrived about ten minutes before the movie was scheduled to begin. We went to a bargain matinee at a bargain theater, so I didn’t anticipate there would be a long run of previews before the movie began, and I didn’t expect there to be a large crowd, either. I was right on one count, and wrong on the other. There were virtually no previews before the movie began, but it was still at least five minutes late getting started as they waited to allow all the latecomers to get seated. (If you’ve read my review on Les Miserables at IU Auditorium, you know exactly what I think of latecomers holding up the show.)

My son was, of course, a little restless waiting for the movie to start. He still had no real idea what to expect. He was more interested in exploring the strange surroundings than he was in sitting in his seat looking at a blank wall.

Then the movie began, and he was captivated for the longest time. He had never before seen such images projected on such a large screen. He pointed out the zebra (“Marty”) and said, “Horse.” He jumped up and down with the monkeys, and laughed at the penguins. At one point late in the movie, when the lion was reverting to his wild nature and trying to eat his friends, my son stood up in his chair and mimicked every move the lion made: jumping up and down and spinning around in his chair, even slapping me in the head as the lion did the same in the movie.

It was a wonderful experience and some wonderful memories my wife and I will always treasure. I guess this isn’t really review of the movie
Madagascar so much as a review of my son’s first movie-going experience, so how about this: I highly recommend Madagascar to all parents looking to take their toddler to his or her first movie. It kept my son’s interest from beginning to end. In fact, he was better behaved than most other kids at the theater. And when the credits rolled at the end, he stood up like a little gentleman, took my hand, and started leading me out of the aisle. Needless to say, I was a very proud father!


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