NO SPOILERS: This morning our first born son and I went to see Rogue One together. This was the first time that it was just he and I since his little brother was old enough to start seeing movies at the cinemas. Next week will be exactly three years since we started going to the cinema as a family when our youngest was 2 year and 5 months old we saw Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.
Back in the September before that when our first born was 3 years and 10 months old our youngest was only 1 year and 2 months old and was still having plenty of day sleeps. By this time the oldest son was not only addicted to watching all the Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and Sony Animation movies, but he was hanging for when sequels to things like Madagascar or Ice Age were being released as he would see them advertised on YouTube or television. Because the baby was obviously too young to sit through movies, and my wife was taking advantage of the “sleep when the baby sleeps” technique of parenting, taking our almost 4 year old to the cinema became my “chore.”
And what a chore to have delegated to you…
In the 1 year, 3 months, 6 days between taking the first born to see his first movie and then being joined by his little brother and Mummy to see movies as a family I took him to see more movies, just he and I. The first movie he went to was Madagascar 3 and the next one was Rise of the Guardians.
Since we’ve been attending movies as a family it seems that whenever a family movie is released we will go together. There was the one time that I missed out on going to see one movie when my wife got the call to go and see a kid’s movie during the school holidays with friends whilst I had to work that day. But all the other times it has been the four of us going as a family.
As someone who pays attention to things going on around me, I always notice other people who are attending events such as movies and lives shows for kids. For the most part, these things are attended by either the whole family, or in many cases, just the mother and the kids. Although I was joined by a high school friend at that showing of Rise of the Guardians when he and his two kids bumped into us seeing the movie as a trio, for the most part, if there is just one parent, it is often the mum.
But here is where Star Wars differs. Today the cinema was packed with whole families or just dad and the kids. In the session we attended, I looked down each row and each aisle as I walked back to my seat after having a bathroom break whilst the advertisements and trailers were playing. Unless I missed one, there were no mums only with the kids; it was both parents or dad only with the kids. And the most amazing part was, there were more kids with dad only than kids with mum and dad.
Most of the guys were around my age which makes me think that they, like me are Star Wars fans from back in the day. I would even hazard a guess that in many cases it’s dad dragging the kids along to join him rather than the parent merely being a chaperone, attending the movie because pre-teen kids can’t go by themselves.
Since The Force Awakens and the rest of the sequel trilogy was announced, plus all of the other Star Wars Anthology films I have seen dads all around the world connect with their kids in a way like never before. From finding their old Kenner toys from the Eighties to building Lego Star Wars sets together, from visiting Star Wars exhibitions to dressing up like the favourite characters at Halloween, Star Wars has bridged a gap between the generations.
I guess it is only fitting that the one of the major plots of the this movie is a child finding their father with Jyn joining the with the Rebels to find her old man who was taken away from her by the Empire when she was a child.
It would have been good to go as a family to see this as we did this day last year when we saw The Force Awakens, but our youngest son has become quite sensitive and thinks that The Force Awakens was too scary for him and believes, having seen the trailer for Rogue One that this movie and Episode VIII will be something that he’ll seen when he’s older. In an ironic twist, my wife took him to see The Wiggles today by herself with a friend and her child when we’ve been to this event as a family in the last few years, with the only time that only one of us has gone in the past, it was me who took the youngest whilst my wife was working that day.
And whilst it’s rare to see a dad only with his kids at something like The Wiggles, the Star Wars saga is bringing dads and kids together. With many more Star Wars episodes and anthologies to go, hopefully this expansive galaxy far, far away brings more dads and their kids closer together.
Have you seen the movie yet? If you’re taking your kids, who is going to see it with them; the whole family, just dad, or something else?