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Where’s the Magic?

“Dad, there’s no real magic in the world, right? Like, this second, there’s no elves in the world, right?” a young boy named Mason asks his father in Boyhood, a lovely heart-warming movie about relationships and discovering yourself. The movie was filmed over 12 years with the same cast, and follows the journey of 7-year old Mason into adulthood. His father reluctantly says no to his question, and you can see that moment as a significant turning point in Mason’s life. It’s as if the magic of the boy’s childhood just evaporated and was lost forever. I was deeply touched by this scene as by the whole movie. It’s a movie without any real plot, but it doesn’t really need one as it’s not trying to make a point; it is just a one that is.

Curious, I asked my 5-year old the next day if he thought there is magic in the world. His answer? An empathic no! I persisted, asking him why he didn’t believe in fairies or elves or witches. Or why Harry Potter or superheroes were not real. He insisted they weren’t and simply stated ‘because I know’ and when pushed more, reluctantly went on to explain “I have been to so many countries mom but I haven’t seen any magic”. The boy had a point! Not to discount my little travellers theory but there is another reason why my child doesn’t believe in magic.

Ever since he could talk, and being precocious that started very early, he would ask if something existed or not, if it was real or made-up. It seemed like his life mission was to find out what really existed and what was just stories. Contrast this with my 3-year-old who is blissfully unaware (or at least pretends to be) about the realness of things and doesn’t seems to care much about it – his world as I see it is full of endless possibilities. What fun to be able to imagine a man on the moon or Batman fighting crime in Gotham City or a planet full of transformers.

Kids these days have a lot of exposure to and knowledge about completely unimportant and irrelevant things, thanks to the YouTube phenomenon. By the time my son reached 5 he had seen videos of space shuttle launches, car factories, scuba diving, garbage collection in action, flash mobs, toy reviews, construction trucks, clips teaching baking, sewing, tap dancing, taekwondo and even sofa making, all of these on request.

There is definitely a price to pay for all this passive visual stimulation. The knowledge of preliterate kids in the era long gone was limited to the knowledge of their parents. And given the average intelligence levels, it also means the there was a lot more room for imagination. At 5 if I wanted to know how a space shuttle takes off, I would probably have got a visual demonstration of it using props (Read: hands) or if my parents were feeling indulgent maybe a picture in the dusty old encyclopaedia.

The other day the older kid approached me, with the 153rd question of the day “What did hulk look like when he was a kid?” Me, distracted “Umm, not sure”. Without hesitation “Can you check the internet?” Scene re-enacted with the 3-year-old – I told him about the time I got hurt when I was a kid. He asked to see a picture, and upon being told there is none, he promptly states “Can you check the internet?” *facepalm*

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Philomena and Transformers

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It is unfair of me to even mention these two movies names together in one title, considering they are worlds apart in every possible way. I saw both the movies last week and could not have loved one or hated the other more!

Philomena is a story of a mother whose child was taken away from her through a forced adoption, an account she kept hidden for 50 years. The movie tries and succeeds marvelously at depicting the grief and longing of a mother who has been separated from her child. Even though I would highly recommend it to all adult moviegoers, I know it will touch a chord with mothers especially. You see, when we mothers birth our children, we also give birth to a special kind of fear – the fear of being separated from your child or seeing him/her come to harm. This dread-inducing feeling is unlike anything you would have ever felt before having children.

When my older one was close to 2.5 years old, he got lost at the park for about half an hour. I had never known that kind of extreme terror and agony that gripped my heart for those 25-30 minutes. Time had slowed to a surreal crawl, I have vivid memories of every minute that we were looking for him. That was almost three years ago, but my heart beats faster every time I think about it. I think both of us suffered mild PTSD after that incident, it took me longer to get over it compared to my boy.

Even though I enjoy sci-fi, thriller and superhero movies, once in a while I like to indulge in tender and heart-warming realistic films which touch me deep down and stay with me for a long time. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ was one such movie I saw recently and now Philomena.

And now Transformers “Age of Extinction” – first thing I noticed about the movie was how unfitting the title was – no one and nothing is at the brink of extinction. Oh wait, there is that dinosaurs getting extinct scene caused by a giant explosion by some alien transformers in the beginning. There is some controversy on whether the movie passed the Bechdel Test, it’s all down to technicalities. I, however think it failed miserably. I not sure what bothered me the most – Mark Walburg as an unconvincing buffy inventor, the 17 year old ‘underage’ daughters perfectly colored moisture-rich lips in every scene, the hope-my-accent-distracts-you-enough-not-to-notice-my-bad-performance Irish boyfriend, the every Asian must know martial arts stereotype, the Samurai Autobot, the gleeful look on the faces of our protagonists while using firearms.. I think the list is endless. The worst line of the movie was the only one that was actually remotely funny – “My face is my warrant”! Of course I didn’t expect a movie about giant robots to be cohesive and have much of a storyline, but this was three hours of pure torture.