Why kids films never get old
10 August 2010
I love films and recently when writing a essay for an MA module I am doing focused on children, film and literacy, I was forced to think about why? So without hesitation, I delved into my childhood memories of Sunday afternoons and school trips...
Up until the age of 6/7 we only had a tiny black and white TV in our house so my first memory of watching a film is of going the cinema to see The Care Bears Movie (a slightly embarrassing choice granted). For me it was more about the experience. I can't remember much about the film aside from sickly rainbow coloured sparkly aesthetic! The cinema we visited was soon after turned into a big Nightclub called 'The 051' and since shut down. I’m not sure what happens in the building now.\r\n
I remember having to walk up what seemed like a million steps to get to screen. It was MASSIVE and I felt slightly apprehensive. However, the thing that stands out most in my memory was something my Dad (being a film-lover himself) did. Halfway through the film and having endured as much of The Care Bears as he could in one sitting, tried with all his might to convince me it had finished and that it was, in fact, time to leave. Safe to say he didn't get away with that one! In fact, that trip inspired me to nag and nag for a cuddly Care Bear toy and that Christmas I became proud owner of Love-a lot.\r\n
When I was a little older, 7 or 8, I encountered what to this day is my favorite cinema experience. I grew up in a village in the suburbs of Liverpool called Woolton. In the Village we were lucky enough to have our own little cinema just a five minute walk from my Primary School. Built in the 1920's Woolton Cinema is truly atmospheric and completely traditional. To this day they still rip little paper tickets on entry, stop the film for an interval and have ice-cream vendors who stand at the front selling Cornettos. Perfect!
Each year, during the last week of term before the Christmas holidays the whole school used to take turns to walk up to the cinema. Year group by year group we’d trundle up the street in two lines to watch that years kids Christmas blockbuster. The film that sticks in my mind is Miracle on 34th St. I don’t actually remember too much about the film. I remember how red and plush the cinema was- all velvet curtains and cushiony seats. I remember being nicely surprised that it wasn’t smoky in there- probably because it was all school kids. I also remember the sheer amount of sweets we had but not much about the film at all- except it made me cry!
It was also around this time that my Dad got a colour TV and a video player. My brother and me used to go around to my dads each weekend and more often than not he’d recorded us a film that had been on TV that week. - Turner and Hooch, Pinocchio and Indiana Jones all featured heavily but it seems to me that at that age I seemed to watch different films with different people. For example the ones I have already mentioned, I’d watch with my Dad. With my cousin it would always be Thriller or The Wizard of Oz. With my Aunty I would watch Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker!\r\n
There were two films I watched more than the others at home and they were The Wizard of Oz and Big. Both of these films really struck a chord with me. Having purchased a copy of Big a few weeks ago and my little sister (who just turned 12) also being a fan of the The Wizard of Oz means that I have watched them both recently. I have to say I enjoyed them just as much as an adult- maybe more if you add on the nostalgia factor!\r\n
When trying to put my finger on why I was so fond of these two films, I started thinking about ways in which they were similar. Maybe a quite obvious similarity is that they are both magical.. Oz in the way that when Dorothy steps out of her house after travelling over the rainbow the setting is transformed from black and white into Technicolor. This seemed more magical when I was little, as I truly believed that in the ‘olden’ days everything was indeed in black and white! Match this with all the characters and how she gets there in the first place. Big is magical in that Josh get’s his wish granted by a battered old fairground machine. Similar to the ones I’d seen many a time in Blackpool.\r\n
Another similarity I drew was that both the films stories have a focus on both growing up and being lost. In both films the main characters are children/teenagers who are forced to grow up too quickly. Dorothy takes on an almost mother-like role, looking after the Tin-man, Scarecrow and Cowardly lion. Whilst Josh has to move to the city and get a job! I guess this appealed to my childhood curiosity of what it was like to be ‘grown-up’.\r\nThe last couple of weeks has seen the start of the school holidays and the launch of Toy Story 3, I see the heards of children coming to FACT to see Toy Story 3 each day and wonder what they will remember about their trip? who they saw it with? The popcorn, The 3D glasses or my favourite part- 'Mr Tortilla Head'!
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Screening times for Toy Story 3 at FACT!