Thursday, January 21

Movies That Were Important to My Childhood

    I'm sure most people that grew up in a developed country since the 70s can think of at least one movie that meant a lot to them as a kid. I can think of a number of movies that I watched over and over again, some of which I still watch today. I'll be doing this post straight out of memory, cause researching movies you loved as a kid is cheating. So without further delay, here's a list of movies that I loved as a kid, and what I think of them today.

Home Alone trilogy - As a kid, I loved the first three Home Alone movies. Besides, what kid doesn't love watching a fellow youngster pwn criminals with homemade traps. The first two movies star Kevin, the youngest kid of 5. He feels like an outcast in the family, causes trouble, and is sent to the attic to sleep. A storm knocks out the power, causing their family to rush to the plane for their Christmas Vacation. Kevin is left behind however, and spends the holiday home alone and engaging in a pseudo war with two idiotic criminals (well, one's idiotic, but the other isn't particularly smart either.) The second one is similar, but instead Kevin gets on the wrong flight and heads to New York. In the third Home Alone, Kevin is not even mentioned, and Alex is the star. He has the chickenpox, and everyone in his house is too busy to stay home with him. As a kid the only thing I cared about was the traps and other tricks Kevin and Alex set up. These days, I still enjoy the first two, but Home Alone 3 is OK at best. I never saw Home Alone 4 as a kid, and I'm glad for's terrible.

Toy Story - These movies are frickin awesome! Seriously, Pixar's first full length movie, Toy Story, was also the first full-length computer animated movie ever made. Because of it's huge success (and all of Pixar's subsequent masterpieces) Computer Animation is now the most commonly used form of animation. If you don't know what these movies are about, you need to see them now.  Despite that the movie is primarily geared toward kids, the main characters are well developed with adult problems. Both movies are genuinely funny, and they make you care about the story and the characters. The best part - Toy Story 3's coming out this year.

Pinocchio (Animated) - I remember getting a huge Pinocchio stuffed toy for my 5th birthday, in fact I still have it somewhere. To be honest I don't remember the movie too much, apart from Pinocchio trying to become a real boy. What I do remember is that I watched this so many times we wore out the VHS tape. Sorry, but that's all I have to say about this one.

Peter Pan (animated) - Another movie I don't really remember much of. I'm pretty sure I dressed up as Peter Pan twice for Halloween. That's all I really have to say about it, because I don't remember a thing about the movie. I should probably watch it again to refresh my memory.

Jurassic Park - This was the first PG-13 movie I ever saw, and I loved it. As a child, I loved dinosaurs, so watching a T-Rex eating someone off a toilet was a dream come true for me. As a kid, I had no idea what the adults were talking about in the first half of the movie, all I understood was "Oh no, the raptors are loose!", or "Must go faster!". As a result, my younger self would often ignore the movie until the carnage began, and I watched it enough to memorize it. While I hardly watch this movie anymore, I still enjoy it enough. I also enjoyed The Lost World, although Jurassic Park 3 wasn't nearly as good as the first two. After hearing that in Jurassic Park 4 that the dinosaurs could use guns, I'm glad it got canceled. Speaking of dinosaurs...

The Land Before Time - Of all the movies on this list, this is probably the one I've seen the most. The first time I watched this was at a Hotel in Nova Scotia. I was really young, and I forget the rest of the trip. Like I said, as a kid I loved dinosaurs, and this movie only re-enforced that. Starring Littlefoot the Apatosaurus (called a Longneck in the movie) as the central character, the movie was about five young dinosaurs finding a valley full of food - and supposedly their parents/grandparents. The movie has multiple themes running through it, including hope, life and death, and anti-racism. It also includes one of the saddest movie moments ever as Littlefoot's mother dies. Another thing about this movie is that there are twelve sequels and 26 half-hour TV episodes. If there ever was an example of too many sequels, one doesn't have to look any further. None of the sequels live up to the first movie, although I have to admit enjoying 2 through 6 as a kid. These days, the first movie is still great, and I still watch it every now and then. Trust me though, don't waste your time with the sequels.

Star Wars - Here's the big one people. Star Wars was the first epic movie I ever watched. The first time I saw this, it blew my mind. I first watched them after my father received the special edition trilogy for Christmas, and I've probably watched each of the original trilogy movies at least 100 times. I still have the original trilogy mostly memorized. I couldn't get enough of Luke Skywalker's adventures, Han Solo's shooting, and Yoda. I saw the prequels in theaters at least twice each, I played tons of Star Wars games, collected tons of action figures and then...let's just say I was obsessed with Star Wars for quite some time. The franchise has a rather epic story as the Empire controls the galaxy and the rebel alliance is trying to overthrow them. Apart from that, the Jedi use the mystical powers of "the force" to aid them in, well...everything. The Empire Strikes Back, episode 5, also has one of the most famous movie shockers ever. I'm sure everyone knows about it now, but when Darth Vader, second in command of the Empire and responsible for hundreds of Jedi deaths, reveals that he is Luke Skywalker's father. The original trilogy changed the movie industry forever, and I still enjoy them today. The prequels on the other hand, well...let's just say George Lucas has lost his touch. The Star Wars franchise has also nearly as many games as Mario has, and several of the Star Wars games were very revolutionary for their time. I was a major Star Wars fan for six full years of my life, and I still enjoy much of what it has to offer. When I watch the Star Wars trilogy these days though, I usually skip the prequels.

    Well there you have it, these are the movies that meant the most in my childhood. While I can think of many more that I enjoyed as a kid, these are the ones that had the most effect on me.

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