Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Junior Dudes' First Movie

For the last few months, Mrs. Dude and I have discussed finally taking our 3.5 year old Little Dude to see his first movie in a theater. But with a newborn around, scheduling has proven tricky and frankly we just never made time. Though he loves movies, watching at home informally encourages him to take extended breaks during movie time. That contributed to my reluctance to take him. After all, taking a family to the movies is not cheap so I’d rather not drop $50 to see half of one.  So when I was invited by Target to go to the Red Carpet Hollywood Premiere of Disney’s Planes with my family, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity.

The Little Dude is an animation aficionado, having seen the Toy Story and Cars movies at least 50 times each. And ever since he first spotted a display of Planes toys at Target a few weeks ago, he’s become obsessed with the characters of a movie he didn’t even know existed.  To ensure he was familiar in advance, the rad crew at Target sent over a box of Planes gear for both Junior Dudes to enjoy before the event:

We headed to Hollywood earlier this week for the premiere at the legendary El Capitan Theater. Just like at the Oscars, which are held across the street, this was a high fashion event, so the Little Dude wore Dusty Crophopper and his brother was dressed in El Chupacabra.

Hollywood Boulevard was blocked off and decorated with the traditional red carpet, albeit with lines like you’d see on an airport’s runway.

Once we entered the Target Landing Zone for the pre-show party, my boys were overwhelmed by the carnival of fun that stood before them.

We surveyed the scene and went booth-to-booth, where the Little Dude got to play aerial-themed games and win awesome prizes from Target’s Planes collection. He went “Fly” Fishing:

Played The Claw game, (which he knew from Toy Story):

And took aim at a Balloon Pop:

There were plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone, including some cool Jamba Juice kids’ drinks and sliders so good that I ate 3. OK, 4. I meant 5. 

The sun was beating down, but luckily there were some cool spots to check out the complete Target Planes collection. I had to literally pry the Little Dude away from there a couple times so he could enjoy more of the party, though he would have been content starting at the scooters, toys, etc. for the duration of the event.

Our 10-month-old Littler Dude was along for the ride and had a great time with a Dusty Crophopper fan that someone handed him on the way in. He clutched it tight for 2 hours, as though it were the law.

Then it was time for the main event. We made our way into the theater, not knowing how either of our boys would sustain for the duration of the 90 minute flick. Once the house lights went down and the 3-D glasses went on, all four of us were quickly caught up in the tale of Dusty Crophopper, an underdog cropduster plane with a big dream of participating in an around the world speed race. If you don’t know much about planes, this would be like someone driving a 1972 Ford Pinto entering the Indy 500. But Dusty is determined and through hard work, and assistance from his neighbor, a retired jet fighter named Skipper, Dusty qualifies for the race. Along the way, he meets planes from around the world, like El Chupacabra, a Mexican plane desperately trying to both win the race and find a mate. El Chu and Dusty help each other while challenging the evil defending champion plane Ripslinger for the world title.

Planes is a light film that will appeal to most kids. Its tagline is “from the world above Cars”, which is explains why the visual styling of the film is strongly resembles both Cars movies.  The premise of Planes also appears to be a hybrid of the two Cars movies, featuring the na├»ve youngster, the crusty older mentor, and a big race featuring international opponents.

You might be wondering, how the Junior Dudes fared during the film. The Littler Dude sat through about half before needing to go into the lobby to crawl around. His older brother, however, was literally on the edge of his seat for 90 minutes, totally enthralled by the action before him.  Overall, it was a great day. The only issue is that no matter what we take them to see next, they will invariably be looking for the red carpet, games, food and endless toys that made up our wonderful Planes experience.

What's your favorite animated movie? Do you plan to see Planes? 

Thanks to Target for providing an assortment of Planes gear, as well as entrance to the party and screening. All opinions expressed within this post are mine, for better or worse.  I was compensated in kind in exchange for this review. My kids are thrilled. 



  1. Awe! I love the bit about him looking at the toys. Also I giggled about the sliders. :) Glad your dude made it through the movie! We will probably wait for it on DVD, since I have girls and my confidence in their attention to the planes is not that good. YAY Target! :) Devan

  2. What a cool experience! Saw it with my son today. We both loved it. He wants to go see it again tomorrow!

  3. I can't wait to see this movie. Seriously. I think I'm more excited than my son.

    As for my favorite animated movie...that's a really tough question. Cars, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, Finding Nemo, plus all the classics! No way. I can't decide!