What I Want from The Last Jedi

When The Force Awakens came out, naturally I was excited. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, the chance to slip back into that world was thrilling. But even so, there was a slight trepidation. The prequels, though still something I enjoy, and as a child was adequately enthralled by, had left me cautious.

But now, two years after JJ Abrams showed that there was more than one way to make a Star Wars trilogy, I have high hopes for The Last Jedi.

I have been steering clear of most spoilers and content, and slowly raising my expectations at what few snippets I let slip through. The trailers; amazing. And now the early reviews; very promising.

I don’t have the time for a detailed explanation of what I am hoping for as I previously posted for The Force Awakens, so instead I am just going to offer a brief list of what I am wanting from my ninth journey to a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

  • Humour – one of the most pleasant surprises from TFA was how funny it was. The original trilogy had its fair share of levity, but the prequels never managed to capture the casual humour of characters like Han Solo. Finn got many genuine laughs. So I am hoping that continues here and things don’t go too dark.
  • Something different – Force Awakens was great, but it was also very familiar. That is good with a new trilogy trying to pay homage to its origins, but now is the time to strike out in a new direction. You can remain true to the spirit of Star Wars without having to just rehash things, so that is what I am hoping for.
  • Cool new planets – I don’t really recall much about the planets from TFA. Sure Jakku was pretty cool, but it was also too similar to Tattooine to evoke any new sense of wonder (though yes the crashed Star Destroyer was awesome). I want new locales that stretch the imagination. I want weird environments that look aliens to us, but also realistic. Throw in some funky wildlife and we are on to a winner.
  • Answers! – I want answers damn it!
  • Secrets – I want secrets too…
  • Lightsabers!
  • Weird new Force powers – Not midichlorians, nothing like that. I want more Kylo Ren freezing powers, I want some mystic crap that lines up with Force ghosts and chosen ones.
  • Millennium Falcon.
  • Some new ship – I want a new iconic ship. TFA didn’t really offer up much new in this regard, and if anything I was more impressed by Rogue One’s U Wing than anything else. So hopefully there is something here I can desire in LEGO form next year.
  • Porgs- Really I just want them not to suck.
  • Death! – I want main character deaths that raise the stakes, and are meaningful. More like Han, and less like whoever Kylo killed on Jakku.
  • Ambiguity – Kylo Ren looks like a complicated and conflicted character,and I like that. The original trilogy took Vader from generic baddie, into conflicted person. I want more of this. I want grey areas, and flawed people.
  • Complexity – Empire bad, rebellion good. Jedi good, with bad. Give me something in the middle. Give me real life, where goodies and baddies are never that easy to seperate.

I don’t know what else; just give me a good time!

P.s. excuse the rushed nature of this post, I wrote it on my phone.

What I want from Rogue One

Tomorrow night I will be sitting down ready for the midnight screening of the new Star Wars film: Rogue One.

Rogue One is a big deal for Disney. It is the first test of the expanded Star Wars cinematic universe. What’s more, it is the first time that Disney will get to see if the viewing public wants a new Star Wars film every year.

Naturally, as a Star Wars fan, it is a big deal for me also. This will be the first time we get to see Disney’s big plan for the Star Wars universe. Sure we have seen the extension of the Star Wars saga with The Force Awakens, but there is a difference between just continuing a linear story, and branching out a whole universe.

So, here are some thoughts I have as to what I want to get from my viewing of Rogue One.

Cool Opening

The force awakens captured the feel of the original movies with the classic opening crawl, followed by a cool juxtaposition of massive starship, and alien planet. I am not sure if Rogue One will continue with the opening crawl model, or come up with its own thing. But I am excited to see how they handle it.

Imperial March


I am sure this is a given, but at some point there had better be the iconic blast of brass to portend the arrival of a certain Mr Vader.



One of the things that surprised me most about The Force Awakens was the amount of humour in the film; I genuinely laughed out loud multiple time in the cinema. Now while some of these laughs were just fan service, and only really humorous from that point of view (the reveal as the ‘garbage’ ship being the Millennium Falcon, and C3PO’s entrance being two examples). There was also generally a lot of humour throughout the film, particularly surrounding Finn, that to my mind worked really well (Think for instance about his plan to ‘Use the Force’, or his genuinely amusing act when playing a resistance fighter).


I was a tad worried about the humour in Rogue One when I heard of the reshoots that apparently took place after some Disney higher-ups were worried at an earlier cut of the film being too ‘dark’. After this, a studio heavyweight was apparently brought in to handle some reshoots in order to bring it back to a more ‘Star Warsy’ feel. I mean sure, I am all up for a Star Wars movie being of a different tone than the trilogies. But for me the humour was always an integral part of the story, whether it be the snappy dialogue of Han Solo, or the forced slapstick in some of the prequels.

So I am hoping that there will be some laughs in this film also, and so far,from wat I have seen of Alan Tudyk’s droid, this is likely.

Awesome surprises.


Obviously I cant be very specific here, they are after all surprises; if I knew what I wanted, then how could I be surprised.

But what I am looking for here are not just the big plot changing surprises like Kylo being Ben Solo, or Vader being Luke’s dad, but nifty little surprises like Kylo being able to freeze a blaster bolt (honestly who saw that coming), or Rey’s dramatic capture of the lightsabre.

New Information, but not a new

I want Rogue One to supplement the original trilogy, not uproot it. I don’t want anything I learn to drastically change the views I have of anything from the original trilogy. I know this might seem like the generic whine of an aged fan, but it isn’t just that. It is a genuine concern I have about sequels adding in information that changes your views of original stories, often beyond their original intent.

Think about the bane of many Star Wars fans existence; the midichlorians.

Star Wars always seemed to tread the line between science fiction and fantasy. It had many of the traditional sci-fi staples present: galactic empires, strange planets, awesome spaceships, and weird aliens. But it also had The Force. And the Force was borderline magical. Then enter Qui-Gon Jinn and his midichlorian analyser, and suddenly we had a faux scientific explanation for the force that for many fell flat.


This ‘revelation’ then inevitably made you wonder about the original trilogy films. I recast a lot of what you knew, and didn’t really fit in with what had been originally shown. I get that midichlorian’s flow through us and connect us to the force, but then what doesn that mean about Force ghosts? Honestly here is an example of where keeping things more magical makes more sense, and by adding in midichlorian’s it just confused the issue.

You can see this happening quite often with unplanned sequels, and is one of my pet peeves. When How to Train Your Dragon 2 introduced the dragon brainwashing power, it altered the world. When Highlander 2 gave us the true origins of the immortals as weird alien outcasts, or whatever, it screwed up everything. When Attack of the Clones showed us that R2-D2 had rocket legs, suddenly every jam he was in seemed all the more frustrating because he didn’t just jet the hell out of there!


So long 2016…

So that’s what I don’t want to happen. I don’t want to learn something that makes me rethink some of the basic tenets of the Star Wars universe.

Now don’t get me wrong, I want new information. I want new angles on things, I want light shed on some of the shadowy areas of the Star Wars world. I just want the movie-makers to make sure that these revelations are properly thought out, and fit into the world that we have all come to know and love.

Use Rogue One to add detail to the picture, not to change the overall landscape. Save the drastic world building changes for those stories that are meant to shape the overall narrative of the Star Wars universe; the new sequel trilogy.

A compelling Bad Guy


Note: I did not know that this gif existed, but I knew that the internet wouldn’t disappoint me when I searched for it.

Star Wars introduced us to Vader, one of the quintessential film villains, and a perfect example of a compelling bad guy. Sure in the first film you can’t really claim that he is all that unique. He wants information on the rebels. Pretty simple stuff. But over the course of the trilogy you learn more about him, and by the end he is an ersatz hero. (and perhaps brings balance to the Force….?).

But the trilogy was able to introduce him as a generic bad buy, and then tease out his character as the trilogy proceeded. As Rogue One will arguably be a self-contained story, it needs to make sure that the protagonists it introduces managed to have their own compelling reasons for doing as they do (beyond simply following the orders of the Sith lords above them).

From the looks of the trailers, and Ben Mendelsohn’s evocation of the power of the battle station that appears to border on obsession, I think this is likely to be something that it achieves.

Cool Space Battles


Say what you will about the prequel trilogy, its access to modern(ish) CGI gave us some pretty amazing looking visuals. Think of the attack on Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith, or Obi-Wan’s escape from Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones.

Cool Ground Battles

AT-AT’s; buff said.

Character arcs.

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 9.59.05 pm.png

This is an example of a bad character arc.

The problem with a story where you know the ending, is that a sense of fatalism can pervade things. When I heard the rumours of a reshoot being necessary in order to ‘lighten’ the film a bit, it confirmed for me one of the most likely outcomes for our rag-tag group of rebels; most of them die.

So fine, I can accept this fatalism. I know that none of these guys are going to bring down the Empire and rise up as a galactic hero. But what I do want instead is for some of these characters to actually grow throughout the film. To have a struggle of some sort, to have an arc.

While the trailers definitly set up the main character as having her development from a rebel, to a Rebel (Note the change in capitalisation; it is important). I hope there is more to the rest of the Rogue One group. I want Mr Blind Force Sensitive man to have a solid arc. I want Guy Who I Just Realised Was In The Terminal to grow and change. I want the people I say goodbye to at the end of the film (and probably some that are dramatically ripped from me half-way through the film) to be different to the people I meet at the start.

Well played fan service.

I want references to my favourite films. Hell, it isn’t every year you get a new Star Wars film (at least it never used to be…). But I want them to be artful. For instance I dont want anything like the following piece of dialogue:

Imperial Worker: We should probably do something about that exhaust vent

Imperial Officer: Forget about it, no one could possible take advantage of this small weakness

Imperial Worker: Seriously though, it wouldn’t be that hard to cover it up-

Imperial Officer: Trust me it will be fine.

Imperial Worker: All I am saying is that one proton torpedo and this space station will be history.

Imperial Officer: Look, we will put it and the end of a long trench; okay?

Imperial Worker: 

References to the Prequels.

While Lucas’ prequel trilogy may be a dirty word(s) in the Star Wars community for many, it is nevertheless a part of the official canon, so I think some acknowledgment of this is necessary.

The Force Awakens could be argued to have no real links to the prequel trilogy. The closest I think it came was the mention of a clone army, though this could be seen simply as a reference to the clone wars line from A New Hope. Indeed I have heard that Forest Whittaker’s character is meant to be a Clone War veteran, which could be taken either way also.

But while I am not really sure what I want to see here, I think that for all the groan worthy things that the prequels gave us, they were also responsible for some pretty cool things.

Weird Alien Animals

Sure alien beings are cool, but alien wildlife is cooler.

Cool Droids

R2-D2 was always cool. BB-8 has picked up the baton for a new generation. Lets continue to have the droid community represented in these movies please.

To be Entertained

Really this is it, this is what we all want from a  movie. Whatever form that comes in, whether it be uplifting, emotional, scary, funny, adrenalin pumping; at the end of the day these are all forms of entertainment that we choose to expose ourselves to.

So here is hoping that Rogue One is able to continue that Star Wars magic that The Force Awakens recently rekindled.


P.s. Oh, and somebody had better say they have a ‘bad feeling about this’…

Some Quick Thoughts on Batman Versus Superman

*Relatively spoiler free review, feel at ease and read away*

I went into this movie wanting it to be good, but expecting it to be bad. I knew that DC and Warner Bros. had a lot riding on this movie’s success launching a whole cinematic universe, so reservations about Man of Steel aside I decided to hope for the best.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

People in the future will no doubt look back on this movie with different criteria, and different eyes, that I view it with tonight. But I think a lot of today’s media is looking at Batman Vs Superman and comparing it to one film; The Avengers.

And can we really blame them? A comic franchise bringing together their greatest heroes in one big smackdown; both films seem to offer the same thing. But look at the way these have been executed, and you can begin to see that these are very different films.

The Avengers was about bringing together our heroes to fight a bigger cause. It was pretty obviously good versus bad, with a bit of brainwashing thrown in for fun. But Batman Versus Superman is a different beast altogether. Its about how a being like Superman can be shoehorned into a modern world like ours, but also with Batman.


I’m here too

But as tacked on as that last bit appears to be, it really works.

BvS (its quicker for me to type that way, as I just finished watching, and it is 12:30 am on a long weekend, and i wants my sleep).

BvS rather than being a story that brings our heroes together, is a story that is driven by our heroes trying to exist in the world, and how difficult this is.

Batman has seen the danger Superman poses, even if at present he is apparently good. And Superman sees that as much as he wants to just do good in the world, people won’t accept his word that his actions are good. The government wants accountability, and so does Batman.

(Hmm, superheroes being held accountable, sounds familiar….)


We also exist

But overall I have to say that while the Marvel Cinematic universe (and yes in my point of view the comic universes as well) is superior to these DC offerings, I can’t help but concede that the DC characters themselves are much more Iconic. Say what you will about the awesomeness of Iron Man now, pre 2007 I had to explain to people who he was. Nowadays everyone knows he is Robert Downey Jr with awesome toys.

DC however is a whole level above that, and rather that start with some slightly obscure characters and bring it together, they are bringing out the big guns all in the second universe building film.

So let’s have a quick run down based just on the characters.



Virtue is boring

The most integral part of the story, but as always for me, the most boring. Superman is such a morally pure being that he doesn’t even seem like a character, but rather the embodiment of an idea. So while it may be nice to have him in the story, it is never really that interesting to watch what he will do (long story short, he will do the ‘right’ thing).

Also, for the love of god in this day and age it makes zero sense that people would not be able to tell that Superman is Clark Kent; seriously. We all have smartphones, and the internet. Clark Kent truthers would be everywhere.



Misplaced childhood anger is cool?

Ok, let me assure people, and get it out of the way: Ben Affleck’s Batman kicks arse.

When you watch him throw someone’s head into the floor, or hurl someone into a wall, you know it is for real and he is leveling thirty odd years of mental turmoil at his foes.

Yes the Batman voice may seem a bit put on, but luckily even the awesome Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale films have shown us cool characters can have shitty voices.

I cant wait to see a standalone film, especially if it allow Alfred to do more than be a sidekick in a cave.

Wonder Woman.


I kick more arse than you are expecting

I was prepared to not care much about Wonder Woman, and to save my impressions for her inevitable feature film, and it always looked like she was going to be a simple tack on during the movies main fight scene.

And this is pretty much true.

Yes she appears early on, and they try to build her character. And yes her inclusion ultimately leads into the bigger universe, and starts to build a cinematic universe more believably. But really her part in the story seemed cliche and unnecessary.

But then came that entrance.

I wasn’t expected to be blown away, and on retrospection it wasn’t anything lifechanging. But when she makes her proper entrance (in full costume), the scene is quite breathtaking. Guitar music strums unexpectantly causing adrenaline to flow, and suddenly we are faced with a kick arse amazonian woman.

And believe me, for her brief time on screen, she really kicks arse. In fact she kicks arse to such a point at times that you wonder why Supes and Bats don’t just step back and let her finish the job.

But that is for another film.

Lex Luthor


You just know that hair cant last; it must be destroyed!

Much flack was copped when DC cast Jesse Eisenberg as supermans nemesis. And then when he first appeared in a trailer as an eccentric long-haired almost prancing villain, people became even more worried. But having been there back when people (myself foolishly included) bemoaned the fact that a certain Mr Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, I am more that willing to accept that an actor can take a role and really surprise you.

But then again I knew Jesse would rock it, so it came as no surprise to me when i fully bought him as a character.

Lex is a tricky character to bring to the screen, because a regular human taking on a virtual god is such a hard hand to play. I have to say though, in this film, I think it works. There may be some confusion as to how it all ended, and what it all means from Lex’s point of view. But the way that Lex manages to play characters off each other, and maneuver himself to being able to control events and people as grand as Superman and Batman is actually truly impressive. It quite chilling to watch this mere mortal manages to impose his will on others.

Some guy

Also some guy played by Drazic from Heartbreak High is in it, so both the Marvel and DC universes can be ticked of actor Callan Muvey’s wishlist.ome

Seriously look him up, he is pretty awesome:



This is a good film about Batman versus Superman. Don’t go in with wild expectations, dont want it to be more than it is. Watch the story, think about the characters, and enjoy the tale, because this movie definitely has a story it wants to tell.

Final verdict?


(Note, many beers at the cinema and staying up till 1:20a.m. might inflate my initial estimate, future opinions may deviate)


Quick thoughts on the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer


Man; I am excited about this film. Even though this trailer give me no idea of what the storyline is going to be; it still somehow reassures me that this film is going to be true to the Star Wars world.
How can a Star Wars fan not be excited about this trailer, and thus about the upcoming film? The visuals, the music; the Han Bloody Solo!
Yes a lot of us remember the prequels being a bit of a let-down, and therefore are doing our best to not throw our hopes as high as they may have been in 1999. But I can’t help feel that here are a few legitimate reasons to be optimistic for the new trilogy.
First of all, I have faith in J.J. Abrams. Excessive lens flare aside, I think the man tells a great story, is able to make interesting characters (Jack Bristow FTW), and in general makes entertaining films. He is able to capture the essence of the stories he sets out to tell.
Second, we have enough from the old Star Wars trilogy to make it feel familiar. And I don’t just mean Ford, Fischer and Hamill; Lawrence Kasdan is back as co-writer. In case you don’t know, he was the co-writer of Empire Strikes Back, arguably the best of all Star Wars films.
Plus if The Force Awakens is a good film, then it means the majority of Star Wars films are good films, regardless of what you think of the prequels.
But having finally seen the trailer (as thin on actual plot details as it may be), I think I can see the way that Abrams will be taking this story; and I like it.

its true

All of it

What I take from this trailer is that The Force Awakens will be a story about the Star Wars story itself. A kind of meta self-referential tale about the power of the Star Wars story.
Star Wars casts a big shadow not only on science fiction films, but on film-making itself. It opened up a whole new way of telling stories, and inspired a new generation of directors. Directors like Abrams himself.
Abrams has long been a Star Wars fan; in fact I remember an interview with him upon the release of his reboot of Star Trek where he talked about not knowing much about Star Trek, and being more of a Star Wars fan.
In his film Super 8 Abrams gave us a movie that was as much about film-making itself as it was about an alien stuck on earth. Many claimed it was an homage to Spielbergian film-making (which I can see), but it was also a story about making films, and I think this is an example of how Abrams is able to convey a sense of awareness in his filmmaking. He understands where these films fit into the public’s perception of them.
So naturally when tackling one of the biggest film franchises of all time, he knows that there is a lot of history surrounding this, and that the fans of these movies are a part of that. The story of Star Wars has been around for almost forty years after all, so it has had plenty of time to have a life all of its own, and to pervade the way we think and feel about other stories.
This brings me to, in my opinion, the most interesting part of the trailer  (narrowly edging out the lack of Luke); this exchange of words:

Rey: There are stories about what happened.
Han Solo: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. A Jedi. They’re real.

You can hear in her voice, in the way Rey talks about these stories, that there is a power in such tales. It is this talk of stories that to me explains the direction this movie may take.
The Star Wars world in these new movies is almost a parallel of our own. Indeed the passage of time between the original trilogy, and this new series has taken place in real-time, so the memories of what happened in those movies is comparable to the memories of those movies for us here in the real world.
The power of the stories people told of the downfall of the Empire mirrors the power of the original Star Wars trilogy for us, the audience. The story of old glories come back, of the power of past experiences, rings true regardless of whether you are a character reacting to them, or an audience member reliving them. Even the films new villain, Kylo Ren, appears to mirror the public’s obsession with the classic villain Darth Vader, as he seeks to ‘finish what [he] started’.

vader fan
So perhaps this Star Wars will be a story about the story of Star Wars; about the power it has over people down the generations. It will be a tribute to Star Wars, as it very well should be.

Quick breakdown of other thoughts from the trailer;

  • Number one; where is Luke! Clearly there is a reason Luke isn’t being shown (beyond a pat on R2-D2’s head. Maybe how he looks will give something away (has he turned to the dark side?). Or maybe he simply isn’t that main of a character. After all he is also absent from the poster.

Rey explore

  • Rey’s travels through the ruins of derelict Empire starships just looks awesome. (P.s. when she is watching that ship fly off into the distance, there is clearly an AT-AT foot at the bottom of the frame, which is suggested to be where Rey lives)
  • The music in this trailer is awesome. Going to be great to hear John Williams on the big screen again.


  • I like that we see Finn wielding the Skywalker lightsabre, yet I can’t help but worry that he is going to have his arse thoroughly handed to him by what appears to be a more sabre competent Kylo Ren. Unless there is going to be some awesome Jedi training montage in this film (seems unlikely), then this looks to be quite the mismatch. So either someone will come along and save Finn, or perhaps Kylo is more interested in collecting another Darth Vader icon than he is in disposing of Finn.
  • Speaking of Finn and Rey; what are their last names!! I can’t help but feel that at least one of them is being kept under wraps due to it being excitingly familiar (and familial).
  • Not much captain Phasma in this trailer.

air battle

  • Lots of awesome looking battle sequences though.
  • Lens flare.


  • Kylo Ren and his band of masked bad guys in the rain. And I don’t care what people say of its practicality; that red cross-guard lightsabre is awesome.

Finn down

  • Voiceover from Finn seems to lend credence ot the theory that he is a storm trooper who becomes disillusioned with the First Order after taking part in, or witnessing a massacre. Sure looks like he escapes in a TIE fighter and is shot down by a Star Destroyer over the junkyard planet of Jakka (soon to meet Rey no doubt).


  • Millennium Falcon. Millennium Falcon! MILLENNIUM FALCON!!!!
  • People a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, clearly have terrible memories. They don’t know about the Jedi, or the dark side? Much like these people seemed to have quite quickly forgotten about the Jedi and the power of the force in the original trilogy. Han Solo may just have no interest in history when he says “I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.”, and perhaps when Motti references the Force as an ‘ancient religion’ he just forgot about the whole Jedi Council that existed a couple of decades previous. But it still seems odd that a civilisations collective memory could be so forgetful; its like people being shocked to learn that Nazis were real things, or that there used to be this thing called communism.

Parental Guidance Recommended –Reflections on determining what’s suitable for my son

I went to the movies recently to see Marvels latest outing; Ant Man. I was thoroughly impressed with the film, but as I was watching it I noticed that a new thought process was taking place in the back of my mind. Not only was I suspending disbelief, and trying to keep track of plot lines, or character arcs (or as this was a Marvel film; keeping an eye out for Stan Lee); but I was also evaluating the films suitability for my son.

It was strange, as this wasn’t as intentional as it had been when my wife and I had gone to see Jurassic World recently. Being true to the 50% of his genome that I contributed toward, my son is a massive dinosaur nut, so when the latest addition to the Jurassic Park franchise was announced, he was naturally interested to go. I wasn’t so sure however, as though he is 9 years old now, he can still be sensitive to the content of movies.

So  knowing this, when recently he wanted to watch the original Spielberg Jurassic films I was sure to watch them along with him, and made sure he was aware of any possibly disturbing upcoming scenes. Yes we may be sheltering him a bit, but it seems preferential to be involved in his viewings of such things, rather than let them go into the wilderness alone and possibly see something potentially disturbing (as I did when an aunty hired Watership Down for me, thinking it was a kids film, and left me unattended to bear witness to the horrors within).

Indeed a lot of my thoughts on this stem from my own childhood. When I was a lad and attended the premier showing of Jurassic Park at the cinema, I was unduly terrified of what I might see, as I had read the book beforehand to prepare me. The thought of seeing Nedry’s intestines spilled into his hands, or Henry Wu’s ripped out of his body, kept my hands firmly placed over my eyes for all of the famous death scenes. No surprise then that years later when I rewatched it I was surprised at how tame the scenes were, and how much worse I had imagined them. But I still wanted to make sure that my son was properly prepared for what he was going to see. It is after all a PG movie, and I am the P, so might as well do the G.

So for instance when Nedry was going to be killed, I let him know; when a lawyer was going to have a bad time on the toilet, he was fully informed. He handled it all well enough; was amused at the demise of Genaro as so many are, and generally wasn’t fazed by the experienced (in a negative sense anyhow; he loved the film. Next stop: The Lost World.

Again I was cautious, because though you don’t see that much direct carnage in Jurassic Park, the fate of Eddie Carr in The Lost World seems far more graphic. Again I prepared my son, told him what would happen and so forth, he was willing and excited to see it, and after the Rexs had had their meal, he was relieved and all was well. So I figured, hey that’s good; worst part of the movie over.

I was wrong.

I gave cursory warnings for what was going to come. Raptors killing people in a field; all good. T-Rex chomping a guy through the waterfall; he can handle it. However I was a bit surprised when the lead up to Dieter’s death was interrupted by a distraught look on my sons face (my wife on the other hand was more on the ball). At first I thought he was reacting to the frightening visuals of a man being swarmed by a flock of tiny dinos, but it turns out he didn’t like the bit where Dieter grabbed one of the compys by the neck and appeared to be strangling it!

We had a similar start many years before when a strangulation scene in Journey To the Centre of the Earth affected Harry more than anything else had (he had even been fine with Donovan disintegrating into dust in The Last Crusade, and the Nazis heads exploding and such in Raiders of the Lost Arc). So after this movie experience was over, we started to get a better idea of the things that bothered him (the repeated stomping of Carter was likewise not well received).

Women getting strangled, animals getting hurt, and protracted death scenes seemed to be the main causes of concern.

So armed with this knowledge, and aware of his excitement at the release of Jurassic World, my wife and I decided to evaluate its suitability for him when we went to see it.

*Spoiler Alert*

It didn’t take us long to come to a conclusion; this was not for Harry!

Women getting strangled/protracted death scene; the demise of Gray and Zach’s minder seemed very excessive, and not the best thing for a young kid to enjoy (you are almost relieved when she is put out of her misery!). But more to the point; the heartbreaking scene of the Apatosaurus death was definitely something we didn’t want our son to get upset about.

He is a caring boy, and he gets emotional as a result; it is a quality that I admire in my son, though it can be hard to deal with some times (like for instance when he questioned the right that my wife and I had to kill a plant that was entangling our fence, and grieved its loss).

Harrison was not very pleased when we informed him that Jurassic World was not a movie he would be seeing at the cinema, but he has accepted our reasoning, and we are glad that he is able to understand the motivation behind it. Furthermore my wife found a junior novelisation of the film for him to read, and he tore through it with vigour.

In previous times when we had warned him at the graphic nature of some movies and shows he would seek to allay our fears us by saying stuff like ‘Nah I’m fine with that. I have watched a bunch of murder shows with Pops; it doesn’t bother me’.

First of all, by ‘murder shows’, he means stuff like Foyle’s War and Poirot. Secondly we explained to him that we don’t want him to be ok with stuff like murder, rather we want him to be able to process it appropriately. Again he generally understands our views with stuff like this and begrudgingly accepts our parental censorship.

Now then, before this post gets too out of hand; back to the initiator of this post: Ant Man.

Sitting in the cinema, I became aware of how much I was evaluating scenes in terms of whether it was suitable for Harrison. It wasn’t at the front of my mind; I wasn’t doing it on purpose, or spending the majority of my focus on it. But I did notice that after a scene had taken place, be it a fight, or a death, or a adultish joke; I would think to myself ‘Yeah I think that’s ok for Harrison’.

It is interesting to note how little mental processes like this begin to form when you become a parent.

For example, I like to swear a bit in my casual voice. I don’t think I am an overly explicit person, but I like the emphasis afforded to English’s most versatile word, and if someone like Stephen Fry can extol the virtues of using the odd swear word now and then, I think I am in good company.

“Swearing is a really important part of one’s life. It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing and without enjoying swearing… There used to be mad, silly, prissy people who used to say swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary -such utter nonsense. The people I know who swear the most tend to have the widest vocabularies and the kind of person who says swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves… The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest or -is just a fucking lunatic” – Stephen Fry on the joys of swearing

Nevertheless once my son got to an age where he would comprehend, and repeat words; it was clearly something that had to change. However I wouldn’t say that this change was an overly conscious decision; rather it just took place, and I noticed it at a later date. Suddenly I was like ‘Shit; you know what? I don’t swear that much at home anymore.’ Perhaps this is an easy switch to make, because I had already cultivated a mind that at a younger ages ensured that I didn’t swear around my parent, but still had sufficient four letter words when amongst friends.

At any rate, this was just a bunch of thoughts that entered my head recently, and I thought it might be interesting for anyone that has kids, or watches movies, or simply likes to read words online.

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments; that’s why they are there.



*Spoiler Alert*

Oh, and for those wondering, the worst things you will see in Ant Man involve people, and in one case an animal, being shrunk down unsuccessfully to that all that remains is a small blob of flesh and blood coloured gloop.