Sunday, April 7, 2013

The movies, childhood, flashbacks

Lately I've talked a bit about growing up, being bored, and general nonsense that makes this blog more like an online diary than anything worth the 5 minutes it takes to read. Today, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite things to do: go to the movies.

I love movies. The format of a complete story in a 2 hour (usually less) bite just sits well with me. I'd rather watch a movie every night than regular serialized television shows, which require a weekly commitment. (Tivo has helped with that quite a bit) In fact, I'd rather go to the movies every night. I've often said that, were I to become independently wealthy, I'd probably go to a movie every day. I would see everything that was out. I love the experience of the theater, from the posters to the smell of popcorn and sitting in a room with 100 complete strangers gazing at a larger-than-life screen and being totally shut out from the world for a brief period of time. The theater is like a hyperbolic chamber of sorts; no external distractions.

Today a friend and I went to see GI Joe: Retaliation, which was better than its predecessor in a "the second piece of crappy pizza isn't hot enough to burn your mouth like the first one did" way. There were still numerous issues with plot, acting, and direction of the film, but it was a distraction from the norm and a welcome change in my routine. While watching the movie, I was reminded of my youth, wherein I played with GI Joe toys, watched the cartoons, and read the comic book. (I just stopped reading the comic book, BTW, so it hasn't all been in my childhood!) When I was a kid, the closest thing to a movie adaptation of something I loved would be a long-form commercial for more toys (GI Joe: The Movie, Transformers: The Movie) or a poorly put together attempt to cash in because the toys were already so popular (Masters of the Universe).

The kids today have it so good. I would have probably committed any crime or performed any service without complaint if I could have had "The Avengers" happen when I was 10. A live GI Joe movie? It would never happen 25 years ago. Transformers in CGI, interacting with real humans in a real setting? You must be crazy to think it would ever come to fruition. Now, it's a reality.

The same thing happens when I peruse the toy aisles of Wal-Mart... today's toys look so good compared to what I had. And the makers don't mind putting out all these obscure variations or third-tier characters because collectors have driven the demand for these things. So when I see a Marvel Captain Britain 3.75" figure, I nearly pass out. Because when I was a kid, I had to buy one of the 7 figures they offered and re-paint it to get a Captain Britain. Today I can get a toy figure of basically any variation of Iron Man ever drawn on paper, less-than-popular characters like Sentry, and one-off specials like Yellow Lantern Batman. What I wouldn't have given to get stuff like that when I was 10 years old. I took a red & blue Spider-Man and painted it black to make "alien costume" Spider-Man. I took another one and made it into Venom.

I'll continue to see movies based on things from my childhood as long as they make them, and they're not too terrible. And I'll love every second of it, and smile knowing that the kid in me has finally seen his dreams come true, even if the adult in me knows it's all bull.

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