In the late summer of 1993, back when I was a single father, Jurassic Park was a huge sensation in the theaters. Because of all the CGI advances, some used for the very first time, it was all over the place. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting Jurassic Park. And my son, Matthew, then about 3 1/2 years old, decided he had to see it.
I think most of us would agree that Jurassic Park is hardly appropriate for a three-year-old. At least, it didn’t seem so from the reports in the media at the time. But, rather than rush to a decision, I decided to go see it on my own, first. Afterwards, when I considered it, I came to the conclusion that, while a three-year-old would probably have a hard time watching it because it’s so scary in places, it was a great story and there wasn’t but one or two small gory parts that were objectionable. And, if you’ve read The Count of Many Nachos, you’d know that I don’t believe in hiding kids from anything.
So, I said we’d go.
With one caveat.
“It’s a really scary movie, in places. So, if you get too scared and want to leave, you just tell me and we’ll go.”
When he and I walked up and bought Jurassic Park tickets, and then walked into the theater and sat down, there were a lot of disapproving looks, especially from the theater staff but frankly, I didn’t care. Having seen the movie, and given our caveat, he would be just fine. Although, I did keep one eye on him at times.
He was, of course, transfixed by the movie. Excited when it started. Mesmerized when the brachiosaurs appeared. And there were two kids in the movie only a few years older than him so I’m almost 100% sure he put himself in their shoes.
When the T-Rex broke out of its enclosure, I saw his eyes get really big and he pressed himself into his seat. I leaned over and whispered, “You okay?”
His eyes never left the screen. He just nodded.
But then, the T-Rex is gone, the car is chasing Alan and Tim down the tree and the tension levels out.
And, of course, then the T-Rex returns. Ian’s sitting in the back of the jeep. The impact tremors start. And just as they get the jeep started and are about to take off, the head of the T-Rex bursts through the trees and the chase is on. The instant the T-Rex appeared, Matthew sat up and forward in his seat, both hands clenching the armrests, his eyes like dinner plates.
“Okay, Dad. I’m ready to go now,” came right at the end of that scene.
And I had promised him, hadn’t I?
So, off we went. We walked out of Jurassic Park.