Sunday, 17 August 2014

Why I love films and want my children to love them too or 'why can't I watch 12A when *all* my friends do...?'



Films, possibly even more than music but probably not more than books, are very, very important to me.  Now, call me a sentimental old fool (not all at once though, my self esteem is shaky as it is) but there is something wonderful about sharing much loved films with children.  Mine have been introduced to the delights of Laurel and Hardy and Fred Astaire before they were conditioned to need to see everything amid a technicolour glow of fast moving action and talking animals.


Thankfully, at seven and four years of age, they are just as happy to watch a Studio Ghibli animation as a Disney Pixar or Dreamworks offering and were only momentarily nonplussed at Tim Burton's black and white Frankenweenie before being wrapped in his world, forgetting how it looked because they were too busy being enraptured by how they felt.  For me, the miracle of being transported to another world is always thrilling and nothing matches the excitement of the lights going down and the studio logo complete with familiar music appearing (although one of my big beefs is with the lighting that never seems to be turned down enough.  I don't want to be able to see a room full of people, I want to be in the dark with the characters on screen.  I can see my way down the stairs because you have thoughtfully put lights on them.  Thanks.  You really don't need the overhead lighting on as well.  If I do fall down the stairs, I will be far too embarrassed to complain about it, believe me.)

Today, I took Oscar to see Raiders of The Lost Ark at the cinema.  This is such a wonderful, ground breaking film, it was just too good an opportunity to miss even though I did have some internal conflict over the content - it may have been PG in the eighties when I went to see it for the first time aged nine but it would be a 12A now for violence, blood, gory detail, language and threat.  Anyone who knows me, knows how I love a good conversation about film classification - I'm even a subscriber to the BBFC blog (bet you didn't even know they had one?!)  Much to Oscar's chagrin, I won't allow him to see 12A films although he assures me, lots of his friends get to watch them.  I tell him that when he is old enough to deal with the content of the films, understand them and enjoy them, he can watch them but why watch them now when it will just ruin the whole experience because he isn't ready?  One of his friends, also seven, recently went to see Guardians of The Galaxy, which is just completely brilliant but to really get the most out of it,  you need to know what has come before in terms of the genre, so you can not only see what it being riffed on and borrowed but also how the genre is being tinkered with.

Bearing all this in mind and having seen Raiders enough times to know exactly what was coming, it went against my 'rules' to let him see this film but nostalgia kicked in, along with the knowledge that seeing the film on the big screen far surpasses the DVD TV experience.  So, dear reader, what do you think happened?  Well of course, Raiders went down a storm.  I warned him in advance of any parts that I thought were going to be too scary (and covered his eyes much to his embarrassment) and of course, he was fine.  I think I was marginally more excited than him before it started but it soon spread to Oscar too and he pronounced it one of the best things he had ever seen.  Sitting there in the darkness (well, almost darkness), seeing that familiar Indy silhouette on the huge screen, took me straight back to sitting there aged nine and experiencing the magic of the franchise for the first time.  It was brilliant to be sharing the experience with my own son and rules are made to be broken after all.  I still couldn't watch the head shrinking at the end though.

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