We debated watching Star Wars with kids a lot when The Force Awakens was released in the cinema. The new movie has a 12A rating and Little Z is only semi interested in the whole story set in a galaxy far far away. As he’s seen parts of some of the older movies, we decided we’d take him as long as we could stop him saying “that black guy is the baddie” constantly. So the Other Half excitedly booked tickets for Christmas Day. It would be nice and quiet on Christmas Day, especially around 3pm, right? With my brother’s family coming too with my niece, watching Star Wars with kids (both little and big) turned out to be quite an interesting experience.
Watching Star Wars with kids on Christmas Day on 3pm was definitely NOT quiet. The cinema staff behind the counters looked pretty terrified, wild eyes trying to take in the crowds they were having to deal with. The looked like they were drowning under the queues of people wanting their Star Wars cups and their Star Wars toppers to go with their Star Wars tickets. At one point the Star Wars topper toys ran out and we were presented with a Donald Duck. The big kids looked gutted at not getting a BB8 topper, the little kids whooped with joy!
Then everyone’s 3D glasses in the big IMAX screen started to go a bit funny during the trailers. Most people started to polish the glass whilst the stranger next to me took it the next level, leaping out of his seat and asking me if I could watch his kids whilst he got his glasses sorted at the counter. It turned out one of the IMAX projectors was broken and I really felt for the poor usher that had to break the news. You could have heard a pin drop with the stunned silence. Then there was angry stomping out of some big kids with their light sabres, angry shouting of how hard some had avoided spoilers and little kids looking confused and bored and already needing a wee. Once the die-hard fans had calmed of this disaster, we were all transferred to a non-IMAX 3D screen Benny Hill style, promised a full refund, given new 3D glasses and the movie was finally started.
I have to admit that I already had a feeling Little Z would get bored. A week earlier he had declared Star Wars was boring and that he wanted to watch Sarah and Duck instead. I think it was the nostalgic 80s kid in the both of us that had wanted him to love is just as much as we had when we were growing up and so that, one day, as an adult he could recall being taken by his parents to watch an iconic piece of cinema. About an hour in, during a pivotal pondering moment from one of the key characters, he needed a wee desperately and then it was a bit downhill from there in terms of concentration. He and my niece then spent the remainder of the movie “whispering” to each other at deafening levels, shuffling about in their seats, and sighing a lot from being bored. I spent the remainder movie wondering if we would be Shhh’d by people around us whilst trying to concentrate on the movie. If you do want to listen to over 80% of the dialogue then watching Star Wars with fidgety kids in the cinema is probably not the best idea.
We didn’t mind all the fidgeting though and I was fully expecting the need for the loo trip halfway through, especially after a full fruit shoot was drunk in about 5 seconds flat. Watching star wars with kids, for us, turned into a memorable day for all the wrong and unexpected reasons but it’ll be a story we tell for years probably. Little Z will probably recall how he was forced to watch the force awakens and try to avoid Star Wars for many years to come. I hope not though!
If you do decide to take children with you then, without giving away any spoilers, I would say there is one bit of violence I didn’t quite want him to see and a couple of scenes that are very emotionally intense. Other than that its a fantastic movie and very much reflects the style of the old movies. It is really funny and action packed all the way through and really is not boring despite what our 5-year-old says (probably to get a reaction). If the nostalgia in you does take over then you can always take a semi interested kid and ply them with popcorn and other sugar-coated snacks. I think I wouldn’t mind Star Wars with kids all over again. This time with loo breaks right at the start!
(Concentrating right from the start!)