…heavy use of our “Kung Fu Panda” DVD. Pru’s probably seen it over 100 times since we bought the DVDs in the Spring, almost entirely of her own volition. She knows the story by heart, laughs at appropriate (and inappropriate) times, and can successfully identify the protagonist as a “cat” (close) named “Po” (bullseye).
With that in mind, we leapt at our chance to take her to a free showing of “KFP” at the multiplex at one of the local malls today. Our previous attempt to see a movie with her in the theaters, going to see “Be Kind Rewind” with Matt Alderman when she was about 3 months, had been a total disaster, and though she’d been good at our visits to the drive-in earlier this summer (we saw “Night at the Museum II” and “Up”) she seemed to appreciate them more as opportunities to bounce around the back seat and trunk of the car in her PJs than as cinematic experiences. We figured that if there were any circumstance that would constitute “ideal conditions” to try to re-introduce theater movie-going, this was it: a movie she was intimately familiar with and loved, an audience filled with other kids who would be forgiving of slight noisiness on her part, and a price tag that would make bailing easy if things went south.
…and things were, actually, a decent success. She seemed to understand why we were there, since she repeatedly pointed at the screen during the oh-so-challenging pre-movie trivia and said “Po, Po.” And she was quite well-behaved during the first two fifths of the movie, paying attention and snacking on our small popcorn (which was gigantic! I understand why the large sizes are so oversized, but is it really necessary for me to be unable to purchase a bag of popcorn that doesn’t also double as a hat?). After Zheng’s visit to Chor Gom prison, Pru started to get a little restless, chiefly I think because she started seeing other kids get up for bathroom breaks and assumed that it was OK to just kind of wander around the theater (in the same way that she can play with blocks or walk around when watching “KFP” at home). So we had a couple of walking sessions after that, but each time she got it out of her system pretty quickly and returned to her seat without protest.
In sum, she’s not afraid of movie theaters now, and isn’t too bad about behaving herself. Does this mean “Ponyo” is in our future?