The cinema with kids: reality versus the pipe dream

We’re lucky enough to get invited to a plethora of preview screenings of kids films, and I feel very privileged indeed to be able to attend some of these events in the West End now and then. We always tend to make a day out of it because there is so much to do in London, and the parking is free on a Sunday anyway so we can normally drive up.

Apparently Planes was showing on the screen

But since we have 3 kids, aged 6, 4 and one and a half, I thought it would pay to inject a bit of hard edged realism into it. It’s not all party and excitement you know. Increasingly the animated films are screening in 3D. There’s nothing wrong with this in itself but you need to keep your head level for the 3D to work properly and once you’ve switched seats with your 4 year old so she can see but you can’t, it’s moot anyway.

The 6 year old will watch the film with his glasses on, the 4 year old takes them on and off and the one and a half year old incessantly throws them on the floor and makes a fuss until you pick them up again. I always end up with my head at a slight angle as I have to hold the normally fearless 4 year olds hand as she quivers with terror as a jaunty comedy figure looms out of the screen at her.

The kids also develop an uncanny knack of de-synchronising their wee requirements, whilst attaining perfect bladder synchronicity with major plot points, thereby leaving you baffled as to what is happening. I now understand fully what it must be like to be wifey watching Inception- I seldom have a clue what’s going on any more, even in the most predictable kiddy films.

Just about after the fourth visit to the toilet, when you finally think things have settled down a bit and you can enjoy the latter third of the film- enough with the bits of the opening that you’ve caught to get a really good impression of the film, the littlest decides it’s time to have a bit of a shout. ‘Shushing him only elicits a lot more shouting and some vigorous wiggling. Even if you get a brief amount of pleasure from allowing him to kick the idiot in front who is leaning forward, eventually you have to accept defeat and one of you ends up sitting in the foyer, trying to keep the over-enthusiastic boy from scoffing all the pick n mix.

Next time we’re going to see if we can put the littlest in with a set of grandparents for babysitting duties and maybe not make a full day out of it. That way, we’ll only have the endless trips to the toilet to contend with, and might be able to properly appreciate the cinematic wonder going on in front of us.