I have tried, on a couple of occasions, to convince Cameron to watch a movie in a theatre. It’s not been what I would call successful.
The first one was probably a poor choice on my part. We’d just recently ‘climbed a mountain’, hiking up to Mystery Lake, and I’d started including “My little mountain climber” in my repertoire of pet names for Cameron. So I got the brilliant idea that maybe Cameron would like to see a movie about real mountains, and real climbers. On the Omnimax screen at Science World, no less. Around fifteen minutes into the movie there was an avalanche. He still, two years later, refuses to even consider the possibility of going to that theatre, and mentions it every visit to Science World.
The next attempt lasted an even shorter time. It was the weekend before Halloween, and that year the Cambie Street Halloween festival included a free showing of Kung Fu Panda at the Park. He didn’t make it long enough to be freaked out by the panda. The very first trailer that they started with was for Wall-E. Nice, peaceful, quiet view of Earth, then zoooooom in and down, and an announcer’s voice BOOMING something. What it was I don’t know, because I had a screaming toddler in a monkey suit deafening me while he tried to crawl down my shirt. We left.
It’s two years later. We’ve talked about movies. We’ve talked about theatres. We even went to see Cirque du Soleil – okay, so very much not a movie, but it had many of the scary elements. People pretending, people in costumes (he’s still wary of those), darkness, bright lights, and VERY LOUD.
So when Dad and Janice suggested the Imax movie about the Hubble telescope, I thought, “Great idea! Let’s go!” Sure, movies = scary for Cameron. But how can you go wrong, when you’ve got stars, space shuttle launches, the robot arm, and astronauts?
Really, all would have been well, except for one liiiiiitle thing. The movie was in 3D. We explained this to him. How he’d have to wear special glasses to make it look like it was real. But explaining 3D vs 2D to a preschooler it turns out is a little bit challenging.
“Mommy! What ARE those? Don’t let the stars GET me, Mama! They’re too close! Don’t let them get me! Mama!”
He did okay with that part after a bit (he pulled his arms and legs in close lest a star touch him), as I gazed, fascinated, at stars that appeared to float past us. All was fine. He calmed down. I thought “Hey, this isn’t going badly at all!” Next up: a shuttle launch. He was forewarned that it would be loud. The noise didn’t turn out to be a problem. He was too terrified of the smoke and steam from the shuttle (“Don’t let it touch me, Mama, don’t let it touch me!) to pay any attention to anything else.
Finally, either my dad or I thought to say, “If you’re scared, Cameron, take off your glasses!” I honestly cannot remember who said it.
A worn out little guy enjoyed the rest of the show, watching it in that somewhat double-vision-blurriness that you see when you don’t wear the 3D glasses.
He was a little glassy-eyed and dazed for the remainder of the museum visit (this Imax theatre was at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau. We’d already done a quick visit to the Children’s Museum, and then went through the history of Canada exhibit) after this, overwhelmed and overstimulated.
Now, though, with the distance of a couple of weeks between him and the movie, he remembers it with enthusiasm. He saw a shuttle launch! And stars! And the Hubble Space Selestope! He flat-out refuses to try to pronounce it any other way. He talks with excitement about how when he’s grown up he’ll make a “selestope” that’s even bigger than Hubble, and put it out near Mars, and it will be able to see even further away. He’ll happily chatter about going to see the movie with Grandma and Grandpa.
Even better? He’s willing to consider going to see a movie in the theaters, like Toy Story 3.
So long as that 3 isn’t followed by a D.