Friday, July 16, 2004

Went to the Chabot Space and Science Center this weekend with the family.  This is an excellent facility with lots of interactive exhibits for all ages, in addition to a planetarium, and a large-screen dome theater.  When you purchase your tickets at the front desk, you get to choose which movie you want to see in the dome theater.  Since the screen kind of wraps around the room, it's good to see a visually interesting movie.  My daughter is easily frightened by movies, so we asked her if any of the movies choices interested her. I think the choices were: 

- The Human Body (I explained to my daugher that she'd get to see what the insides of people looked like)
- The Living Sea (I told her that she'd get to see lots of colorful fish and interesting sea creatures)
- The Cosmic Voyage (See outer space!  See inside an atom!)
- Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West (All I could really muster for this one was that she'd get to see Lewis and Clark walk a really long way)

Of course she chose Lewis and Clark, the obvious booooring choice.  I urged her to reconsider.  I pointed at the poster for The Human Body, which showed a skeletal figure drinking yellow Gatorade (we can only assume he had some fierce skeletal athletic event coming up soon).  "Don't you want to see what it looks like inside our bodies?" I suggested.  She pointed right back at the poster and said, "I can see it right there on the poster.  I don't need to see the movie."  She struck her best "Duh!" pose.

So, Lewis and Clark it was. 

Our previous experience in a movie theater was seeing "Garfield".  Normally I wouldn't even bother to spit upon a movie like this (I run a lot, so hydration is important to me), but my daughter loves the comic strip and it seemed like one of those rare movies that wouldn't scare the crap out of her.  Still, getting her in the theater to see the movie was a chore.  I held her in my arms and literally inched my way down the aisle during the previews.  I'd take a tiny step while she gripped me tightly and then wait for her to let me take another tiny step.  Once Garfield came on screen, we got to sit down, but any scene with a hint of excitement usually caused her to panic.  Keep in mind that this was Garfield, a character famous for napping, being fat, and quipping about Mondays, so the definition of an "exciting" scene should be put into context.

At one point Garfield was trying to enter a building by climbing through the ventilation ductwork.  My daughter became alarmed and asked me, "Where is Garfield?!?!"  Not wanting to explain how a ventilation system worked, I just said that he was going through some pipes to help find Odie.  Apparently that was the wrong answer because she screeched, "WHY IS GARFIELD IN THE PIPES?!  I WANT TO LEAVE!"  I convinced her that this scene would be over soon and that she'd really want to see the ending.  She remained on edge for the rest of the movie, but did make it to the end, where she bounced up and down in her seat with glee.  She loves a happy ending.

Anyway, I was familiar with the drill for Lewis and Clark.  We slowly made our way into the theater and she nestled into my lap, grabbing my arms and wrapping them around herself.  The movie, despite not being what she expected (apparently she goes to school with a girl named Clark and thus expected this movie to be about a little girl and a little boy taking a lovely stroll), it wasn't overly scary.  Often the camera would cruise across a beautiful landscape or waterscape.  Since the screen was so big, it gave the effect of flying.  I tried to make those scenes extra fun by holding out my arms in an airplane like fashion.  Each time, my daughter would grab my arms and rewrap them around herself.  She did start doing the airplane thing with her arms soon though.

Aside from a scene where Lewis slid down a hill, and another where a bear roared, the film was a success!  I think she only asked to leave once.  We give Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West one of our highest ratings:  "Only Mildly Terrifying".

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