Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MOVIES: #14 Aladdin

Okay, before you start yelling at the screen and picking up the phone to call me out, on including this movie here, let me explain. I have fond memories for 1992's Aladdin for a lot more than what YOU saw at the local cineplex. Honest.

Aladdin was the first movie I took my niece Paige to where she didn't sit for most of the movie on my lap. She was three, maybe four at the time. She'd been to see some movies before Aladdin, including a VERY SCARY Sleeping Beauty. This is one movie that kids under, say, the age of eight should be barred from. It's the ONLY movie she and I ever left early. It was with some trepidation that the little ball of talk and I ended up at the movies again. This time was at the old, long-gone Centennial Mall Theatre, which is a party favours store these days.

There were maybe four people in the theatre when we got there. We moved to what was OUR seats in the house, four rows down from the top, far-side from the entrance, on the aisle. I shucked Paige's jacket, pulled down the seat next to my aisle seat and put the jacket on it. I put her drink in the holder and told her to sit on the seat. I turned around and put my drink in my holder and then I heard a squeaky little voice from behind me. I turned around.

"Uncle Gary, I don't think I'm gonna like this," said Paige. And she had good reason. Picture a little girl sitting in a seat that had partially righted itself, turning Paige into a human letter V. Her knees were up around her ears and her eyes were big and shiny enough to light up the room. I've long learned that you never, never, never ask a woman her weight, even a young one in the making. So I can't tell you how much Paige weighed at the time. But it wasn't enough to keep her seat down.

So I did what any good uncle would do. I sat for the whole movie with my right lag straddled over the corner of Paige's seat to keep it down.

The only time I stopped doing that was when Paige uttered the three (well, maybe four) words EVERY uncle in the world, babysitting some young girl away from home, fears above all others. "Uncle Gary, I gotta GO!"

I'd played through the scenario in my mind several times. I'd always insisted on Paige going to the ladies room at least twice before heading to the movies. And I ordered her that little drink that theatres were willing to sell back then. She wasn't a big drinker anyway. But I'd still not come to the decision of which bathroom to take her into if the situation had come up. Now was going to be the time to put up.

Off we went, skulking our way out of the theatre and heading for the washroom area. I had a backup plan. If I was very, very lucky, the ten-spot I kept in my wallet for the specific purpose, could be used to get one of the girls at the snackbar to help with the dilemma. Turns out, I was very, very, VERY lucky. A mother with her own toddler was travelling the same path and this wonderful lady saw the look on my face. She deduced the problem and offered to help. She even turned down the reward. A veritable saint that woman!!!

It turns out, I never, ever had to make the decision of which room to invade with Paige. I guess I earned some good Karma by taking time out of my day fairly frequently back then to spend with my niece at the wonderful place called the movie theatre.

Now about Aladdin. Sure, it's here on this list for reasons other than quality. But it IS a pretty good animated flick. Robin Williams is properly frenetic as the Genie and Gilbert Gottfried, a guilty pleasure, gets a lot of great lines as Iago the Parrot. Aladdin and Jasmine make pleasant Disney stars and the music's better than good. It might not actually be as good as Toy Story, but for reasons outlined above, it's the animated star of my list.

Even if you don't have your own niece or little girl to take to see it, rent it and enjoy it.

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