The first time ever

I recently took my whole day off to watch Kenneth Branagh’s ridiculously long movie “Hamlet” for the first time ever. I have had it on DVD for a while but have not had the time (it’s a 4-hour movie) to watch. It is the first time ever that anyone has made a movie of that play that uses every single line from the original script, and aside from being almost painfully long, it is shot and choreographed and scored and lit and spoken wonderfully. It was a delight to listen, as if I had never heard the words before, the lines from Shakespeare drip from the mouths of the cast almost like some kind of rare and expensive delicacy… (especially Branagh, who has made his life’s art the interpretation of Shakespeare –Yes, he’s a lot more than that ridiculous character from Harry Potter). I’m mixing metaphors and my words are clumsy, but every moment was a delight. I can’t recommend it enough (only if you are very patient and love Shakespeare, though).

I also on Friday night (family night at our house) watched “Star Wars” with my son. It was the first time ever for him. As the text at the beginning comes up, I read it aloud. I got to a certain point, don’t remember which line, I think it was about the death star, and he goes “WHOAH!”

The sheer delight in something new was so amazing to me. I’ve seen that movie a LOT of times, and it’s all familiar, but he was seeing it all for the first time. His eyes were glued to the screen, and he was amazed by the story. Every now and then he’d say (as he always does when we watch a movie) “Is it almost over”, to which I responded “No”, to which he answered “Good”.

Children remind us about new-ness, about seeing things for the first time, about getting a totally fresh un-sullied and unprejudiced perspective. I pray that somehow, today, we can delight in something as if it’s the first time. When you go to lunch or dinner, order something you’ve never had. Or… watch a really long movie that you’ve never seen… preferably with a big bowl (or two) of popcorn. (And no, I’m not watching “Hamlet” with Charles any time soon… He’d be bored silly before the first line…)


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