Man, do the boys love McDonalds.
This goes back to our Romanian days. Alan learned to recognize the double arches well before his third birthday. In Bucharest we used to go to the train station on weekend mornings, watch the trains coming and going for a while, then have french fries and hot chocolate. There was no McDonalds in Armenia, but the memory stayed alive!
For a few days I've been promising them a movie and McDonalds... if they were good. This worked, mostly. They love going to movies, too!
So the movie: The Dragon Hunters. This was a TV cartoon series, which appeared briefly in the US but was much more popular in Europe. The movie version is French, and doesn't seem to have come out in the US yet.
It was... worth watching. Let me break that down. The story was basic, the humor not all that funny, the characters rather dull. Since those are usually the things I look for in a movie, I shouldn't have liked this much.
But (and this is unusual for me) I found myself sucked in by the visuals. That whole French cinematic tradition of strongly visual movies that create engrossing pocket universes? This was an animated French kids movie, which made it even more so.
The movie is set in a medieval world of aerial islands floating in an endless sky. (This is never, ever explained.) Gravity is optional and, when it works, rather random; some islands are spherical little planets, others are flat, and stuff drifts off into space as the plot demands. The best I can describe it is "Maxfield Parrish on acid". And it's spectacular. Even with the so-so storyline, and handicapped by my limited German, I was still completely sucked in for minutes at a time. If you're interested in cutting-edge animation, or if you just like looking at gorgeous, gorgeous stuff on a movie screen, check it out.
The boys liked it too, because there was lots of fighting and stuff.
Afterwards we went to McDonalds! And got Happy Meals! Which had dinosaurs! There was a lively debate over whether to get two different dinosaurs, or two of the same; it was decided that two of the same were better, because with two different ones, there would be fighting.
(Side note: McDonalds usually has two sorts of Happy Meals, one for girls and one for boys. This week, the girls' toys were horses, while the boys were dinosaurs. The poster for the toys was split in half: horses and ponies frolicking on a green field under a blue sky full of puffy clouds, and dinosaurs snarling across a blighted landscape of jagged black stone riven by immense cracks full of boiling lava. Claudia: "This is why we have wars.")
After McDonalds we went to Oma's house and visited with the grandparents a little. Then home and to bed.
And that was a good day.