After having been released for exactly a week, I finally saw Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith today. Well, not me alone, I was accompanied by my cohort, Irfan! Yes, true believers. There was a 2 years 8 month old child today in the theatre watching a movie that was rated PG-13 by the MPAA, but “U” by some sleepy guy in a drab office in charge of rating English movies in Malaysia. Bite me, you over-sensitive, politically correct whiners!
So, I guess it’s time of me to review this movie. Before you let out another collective “not- another- internet- review- of- ROTS” sigh, I am very much aware that almost every guy with a blog and their one-legged puppy has reviewed ROTS this past week when I was in Sitiawan, so I’m not going to review ROTS.
Instead, I will review the experience of watching Irfan watching ROTS on the big screen!
The whole sordid affair began with the sending of Sila and Vin to KLIA. Their flight to their honeymoon island of Redang was at 7.15 am. By 8.45, I’d already sent Ain to her office at Bandar Utama. Then guess who cried his lungs out at the thought of being sent to day care for the day? That’s right, not me.
So, after the little guy took a bath, had a change of clothes and fresh diapers, and a fresh bottle of milk, we set out to GSC Midvalley Megamall. I considered buying two tickets, one for each of us. But it was the noon show, I thought, so I only bought one. Irfan could sit on my lap. If no one claims the seat next to mine, he can have it (and to my joy four seats to my right were empty throughout the movie).
So each time the screen turned black between commercials and trailers (there were two: Batman Begins and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe), Irfan would turn at me, put a finger to his lips and go “SHH!!” for some reason. But I could see he was having some degree of fun at the exercise. Then it began. First there was the opening crawl, then the Battle of Coruscant began. Irfan didn’t make a noise as he digested all the action, from the buzz droids to entering the Invisible Hand. Not even when I prompted him at times. I lie, he did turn and flash a grin at me when Artoo saved the day (somewhat).
Then, after the action is over, it was time for the exposition scenes, or more commonly known as the “lots of people talking so the audience will have a clue as to what’s happening” scenes. Not that they were boring scenes. I was concerned if Irfan would have the attention span to sit still through it, what with him being under three years old and all. (At this point I’ve already deposited him on the empty seat to my right.) I was right. Soon, he was fidgeting, but not doing anything too attention-getting. he was standing up and looking at the people behind us and singing in a low voice, which made me contemplate taking him out of the hall for a short while. Several minutes later, as Anakin and Palpatine watched the zero-g water ballet “Squid Lake”, I lifted Irfan back onto my lap. He seemed to still be attempting to walk out onto the aisle, which I prevented by using my legs. Then all he did was rock to and fro on my lap. When the Battle of Kashyyyk began with the emergence of the Corporate Alliance NR-N99 tank droids and the dwarf spider droids from the waters off the city of Karchiro, my attention was glued onto the screen for some time. But the battle wasn’t shown as long as I would have liked it to be. Suddenly I noticed that Irfan wasn’t moving a muscle. He was lying on my chest, facing upwards, eyes closed. He was asleep!
So with the little guy unconscious in the loud THX-certified hall, you’d think I could enjoy the movie more. But no. After about 10 minutes. My buttocks were numb, and trying to shift the weights on my butt was easier said than done. Especially, not with a 20-kilogram toddler using my chest as a deckchair. On Mygeeto, Clone Commander Bacara’s platoon fired on General Ki-Adi-Mundi. On Felucia, Commander Bly and his team shot Aayla Secura in the back… many times. And kept firing as she lay on the ground. On Earth, Irfan thought his Dad’s body has been upgraded from a deckchair to a bed, and proceeded to turn over to the left and to the right. I could barely stop him from rolling over my body and slamming into the ground to the left or the chair to the right. But somehow, I managed. Meanwhile on the screen, above the bridged cities of Cato Neimoidia, General Plo Koon’s number was up.
As Anakin Skywalker slew Tikkes, Passel Argente, Shu Mai and other Separatist leaders, I could listen to and feel Irfan slowly breathing on my body as he slept through the carnage. It was when Obi-Wan confronted Anakin, and the rhythmic beginnings to Battle of the Heroes began that Irfan woke up again. He didn’t move a bit. I only knew he was awake when he pointed at the clashing lightsabers and the splashing lava and said something I couldn’t hear. Both of us enjoyed the energetic duel and its heartwrenching climax. Now, at this point before it happened, I considered covering Irfan’s eyes when Obi-Wan performed his coup-de-grace, but it happened so fast nothing could actually been perceived, especially not by a toddler.
Irfan was very concerned about Anakin’s injuries and when he was sealed in his life-support armor, he was telling me “Kesian Vader! Sakit dia!” (“Poor Vader! He’s been hurt!”) And just like that, Padmé was being led by a grieving procession on Naboo followed by her family that had seemed so happy in the deleted scenes of the AOTC DVD, and Leia was being fawned over by Bail and Breha Organa of Alderaan, and Obi-Wan delivered Luke to Beru Whitesun, who carried him to Owen Lars, who stood watching a familiar binary sunset, very much like the one I saw along time ago in another movie theater far, far away. As Irfan watched with a mixture of awe and confusion, sadness hit me like a ton of bricks.
This was it.
The Ending of the Saga. The completion of a cycle. I saw the first movie in Grand Theatre in Sitiawan because my father brought me to watch it with him, and now I’m seeing the final movie here in Kuala Lumpur with my own son.
“Yaayyy!!” Irfan cheered as the credits rolled, though I’m pretty sure he didn’t catch 95% of the gist of the entire movie. All that mattered that he enjoyed himself (when he was awake, that is). What follows would be a quick drive home to clean Irfan’s warm pee off me. I was engrossed in the movie I didn’t notice… And that ends the tale of the day Hisham and Irfan watched Star Wars on the big screen together.