Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some Thoughts on Titanic

When I saw the Hunger Games movie on the giant screen (IMAX-sized XD), I saw the preview for the Titanic movie, and I watched it over and over and purposed to drag Amanda along with me to see it (Terry refused to see it with me 15 years ago, and so I knew there was no way he'd go now). In fact, he didn't even understand why I was taking Amanda and her friend: "Just rent the DVD and watch it on the good TV upstairs."

Seeing movies is an experience. Seeing a movie on the big screen is an even better experience. Seeing it with someone -- sharing it** -- is something else, something better.

 When Amanda's friend said she wanted to come with us, Amanda was sold. So we set out last Friday night, opening weekend, to endure the 3 hour and 20 minute movie on the big screen. Amanda's not a big fan of 3D, and I agree (especially since it costs more), and so I actually tried to find it in 2D, but I think that first weekend was 3D only. It's now available in 2D, which I'd recommend. There obviously were no major "popping out" effects, but the 3D was sort of impressive. However, the dark effect that the glasses give a movie overshadowed any of that. When I saw the preview, it was on the giant screen (which is where we saw the 3D as well), and that alone was pretty impressive.

Amanda's friend was suitably impressed with the young Leonardo DiCaprio, as she should have been, even though he's an old man now -- staring down 40 (See him and Kate today and read Kate Winslet's hilarious quote).

So what did we think?

Well, it was good. I hadn't seen it at all since I saw it in the theater 15 years ago, so it will still a fresh story. But it was long. So very long. Really James Cameron, you could make a great movie that is under 2 1/2 hours long. I remember that I used to think that you could just cut out the whole excavation part in the present and focus on what happened then, because don't we just care about Jack and Rose? But I appreciated that part a lot this time around, especially the impact adult Rose's story had on the end.

But there was a lot of peril and dying. Fully the last hour and 20 minutes or so was the beginning of the end for that ship and so many of the passengers. My sweet Amanda said, "I don't get that guy. Who wants to make a movie about that??" And of course, she's right. I don't think that most teens think that way. They think about the young love, and the romantic setting -- if tragic. But I've known too many people lately who have said goodbye to loved ones to feel so cavalier about death.

Also, as the ship was sinking and people were jumping off, I couldn't dissociate it with the image of the World Trade Center.

What about the content?

Kyle hears the buzz about these "big" movies on the bus and at school -- the Hunger Games and Titanic of late --and knows we've seen them. He asked to see Titanic, which of course I told him he couldn't. In fact, my friend's 4th grader wanted to see it too, and she remembered some of the content (specifically the drawing of Rose), and said "No way." I agree. Amanda's a girl, and she has the parts, so I probably wouldn't have allowed even a 13-year-old boy to see it (but I'm mean that way).

Plugged In Online is always my go-to for content explanation, so instead of re-hashing it all, I'll refer you to their detailed review. I read it the day we saw the movie, and realized that I might not have been so hasty to encourage Amanda, but she's almost in high school, and I was there with her, and it is what it is.

We saw the movie at 7:40, which means it was over at 11:00 pm. That fact alone, not to mention a strong PG-13 rating, would lead me to believe that there wouldn't be children there, but I saw 2 girls there who were probably about 7 years old (two different families).

Was it worth it?

The crowd was a little thin, which made me wonder if it was going to be as big as they thought it would be, but I think it had a strong #3 17 million dollar opening. That's probably not what they were expecting, but The Hunger Games is still #1 -- going strong  surpassing $300 million this weekend. I don't know if the 2D additional theaters will help.

I'm glad I saw it, but I don't need to see it again. However, it's an amazing movie. I've still never seen Avatar -- again Terry has no interest, perhaps he has James Cameron-itis -- but maybe I should? As for The Hunger Games, I can't wait to see it again, though I'm not sure I'll shell out the bucks to see it in a theater.

Honestly, the moments of belting out Celine Dion here around the house and on the way to the movie have made the whole experience worth more than the price of the tickets. So maybe you just want to enjoy that? But be sure to sing along! Just like the movie, the actual song is a little long. The belting out best parts begin at 3:16. You're welcome.

And now. . . A Three Stooges Giveaway Link

Amanda and I have made some special movie memories, and I had planned to take Kyle to an early screening of The Three Stooges (click on the link to enter a giveaway for a $50 Fandango gift card and some Stooges merchandise). But we would have had to race there after school, then race to his baseball game (and probably be late), triangulating the city of Houston, so I backed out. But I told him we'd go this weekend.

I also just posted my phone interview with Chris Diamantopoulos who plays Moe, and **he had some great thoughts about what it means to see movies together as a family, which I appreciated, so I'd love it if you check out the interview too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What my Kids are Reading -- April

We finally requested the Geronimo Stilton Kingdom of Fantasy series books #2 and #3 from the library. Kyle (almost 8) had stumbled across the first one there, and the others were never available, and in fact took a little while to come in on request. They were definitely worth the wait! Those two books kept him occupied and happily filling his reading log for a couple of weeks.

He's always enjoyed Geronimo Stilton, but I think he was becoming a bit bored. These are a little more advanced (higher reading level, and a bit longer), so I think that this is appealing to him. I noticed that the 4th book comes out in September, so we'll have to keep our eye open for that.  He's also QUITE excited that Squish #3: The Power of the Parasite is coming out next month.

Amanda (13 1/2) has a new motto "I only want to read what I like." I'm trying to get her to write a guest post On Reading, but the gist is that she's taking comfort in the familiar. If she's going to take the time to read, she wants to know that she'll love it.  She's been re-reading Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, to ready to listen to the audiobook of the brand new 5th book in the series Out of Sight, Out of Time, which I requested on audio. I'll be listening as well -- my first exposure to the series.

Fueling the dystopian frenzy, she also re-read Uglies and was waiting (for a loooong) time on her request of Pretties, until we bought it this weekend at the used bookstore. She did willingly read an unfamiliar book that I picked up after reading some good reviews (and also requesting the new audiobook Ten Things I Hate About Me from that same author), Does My Head Look Big In This?. She liked it -- yay! I think that the theme of being a misfit is one that is common to all teens. I know that Amanda often says she feels "awkward," and I think that knowing that EVERYONE feels awkward inside their skin is a comforting topic to ponder.

See what others' kids have enjoyed over at 5 Minutes for Books Kids' Picks.