Having two children ruins a lot of movies. I have seen half of ‘Up’, ‘Despereau’, ‘Horton Hears a Who’, and many other kids’ films in theaters thanks to my two year old preferring to wander the lobby to sitting down and watching the film. But that’s not what I’m writing about here. I’m also not writing about movies where people with children are supposed to be emotionally charged or triggered by the thought of children suffering or dying. There are plenty of those films set in the real world and it is natural to get a little (or very much) choked up when thinking of one’s own children put in such circumstances.
What I am writing about are the surprise movies, the ones you don’t expect to think about your kids, the ones that are supposed to take you out of this world and entertain you with fantastic settings, epic battles, or speculative ideas of how the world might be if ‘xyz’ happened.
The other night, I was watching just such a film – ‘Reign of Fire’ – an oft forgotten movie from 2002 starring: Christian (I’m Batman and I need a lozenge to soothe my scratchy throat) Bale, Matthew (Shaved Head, Tattooed Arms, Sleeveless Bomber Jacket & Cigars = BadAs-) McConaughey, and Gerard (When I’m not making terrible RomComs, I live in SPARTAAAAAAA!) Butler as the survivors and enders of a contemporary dragon apocalypse. That’s right – a modern dragon apocalypse so hard core that it even includes a slo-mo scene of Matty M. jumping off the top of a smoke stack towards the alpha-male dragon with only a gothic battle axe. Oh yeah, this is a manly movie and yes, I was watching it by myself because my wife had something ‘better’ to do.
So I’m watching this movie, wondering if I could take any of the male leads in a fight and then there’s a scene where Christian Bale is explaining to Izabella (former Bond girl) Scorupco, how he became the guardian of one of the children living in his ‘fortress’. This is somewhat paraphrased but just imagine Bale’s accent (for those of you who don’t know, he’s not American – he’s from Wales):
“He was three years old. I found him trying to wake up his mother. She’d been dead for days…”
Son of a motherless goat!
The last time I’d watched this movie was when it came out, 2 years before my daughter was born. What I remembered of it was the above listed hard-core guy entertainment and the scene where Mr. Bale and Mr. Butler act out the ‘I am your father’ scene from Empire and tell the awe struck kids that they wrote it. I did not remember this part but now, I will never forget it because as the words were said in the dingy, survivalist basement of Mr. Bale’s fortress, I got choked up and had to fight back tears.
That’s right. Me, Dan the Spandex Monkey, all 6 ft 250 lbs of manly man was trying not to cry watching a movie about a dragon apocalypse.
Kids ruin everything.