Miscellaneous Musing |Reviews by Judy @ 9:55 AM

Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fires has been reviewed extensively in the media. You have to have been living under a rock somewhere not to have run into one or two or twenty reviews. Most reviewers I’ve read have agreed that this Harry Potter is dark, scary, and no place for small kids.

The movie is often dark and foggy, and thanks to the magic of special effects, there are very realistic fire-breathing dragons, scary underwater merpeople, attacking hedges, bad wizards, monsters, huge snakes, etc.

Good guys die in this movie.

So, riddle me this Batman: Whether or not you believe that HP&TGOF deserves its PG-13 rating (and I happen to think it does), why would you take a baby to see it?

#1 Son and I went to see it on Friday. (Note: He’s 17 and I’m way more than that. Neither of us is subject to nightmares.) We went to the Oak Grove Cinema in Milwaukie. It’s a little out of our usual metro-west stomping grounds, true, but #1 Son doesn’t like the theater that’s close to our house. I didn’t really mind checking out a new theater. Since The Westgate closed there are too few theaters left that are more than a cookie-cutter, stadium-seating cinema complex. I was please to find that Oak Grove has tons of character. What’s not to like about a cinema that marks its restrooms in three-foot-tall neon “guys” and “gals” signs?

When the movie started, the theater was about two-thirds full. It was a very mixed audience. I would say that the majority were teenagers or older, with a fair representation of senior citizens. There were also a few younger kids. Behind us were a couple of children that were about 9 or 10. At the end of our row were a man and a woman with two kids: a boy who looked about 5 or 6 and a girl who was maybe 2-1/2 or 3.

The kids behind us had obviously been warned to only whisper during movies. And they did whisper. Very loudly. Through the whole movie. Whispers punctuated by flying popcorn kernels landing in our hair to the beat of chair kicks.

The little girl at the end of the row started crying after the first 15 minutes or so, and she cried and begged to go home through the rest of the movie. And they stayed until the bitter end.

So, our movie-going experience went something like this:

[whisper] Wait till you see this! mommy, I want to go home. [sob] [chair kick] Harry’s not supposed to enter because he’s not old enough but watch what happens! [patter of popcorn falling gently on hair] mommy [sob] please can I go home now? [chair kick]

Yeah, the ambiance left something to be desired.

I would have asked the kids behind us to at least stop whispering. But the last time I did that, the boy I ask to stop started crying instead. (No idea why. I wasn’t mean at all and I asked nicely.) The boy’s mother got really pissed at me, and #1 Son was embarrassed. So this time I just tried to ignore them. If I could have easily reached the couple at the other end of the row, however, I would have knocked their heads together and told them to take their baby home. And I wouldn’t have been nice about it.

Mom’s take:

Oak Grove Cinema: starstarstarstar for character and an extra half-star for the restroom neon.

Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire: starstarstar This was the weakest of the books, and I think the weakest of the movies. Despite the necessary trimming to fit a 600-page book into a two-hour movie, it was still too long.

People (of any age) who whisper in movies: half-star for trying, but some whispers can be just as loud as a normal speaking voice and more penetrating. A movie theater is not your family room. Keep your lips zipped.

Parents who take their babies to anything other than G-rated movies: minus 5 black starblack starblack starblack starblack star Parenting means you get to miss out on things you would like to do but that are inappropriate for your children. Wait until it comes out on DVD or cable.

Parents who refuse to remove a crying baby or child: Minus 5 black starblack starblack starblack starblack star The rest of us brought kids who could behave appropriately or left them at home. We paid good money to see this movie. Be a lamb and don’t ruin it for us.

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