Tag Archives: Spiderman Strikes Back

Cinema Parad-iz-o

IMG_1619The flickering light in the darkness, the giant images, the noise from all around, once it grabs you the power of the cinema never lets you go. It certainly never did for me, first cutting my cinematic going teeth on Spiderman Strikes Back in the late 70s, a time when people could still smoke in the cinema (I used to marvel how it all used to gather and gravitate toward the path of the projector) and time before Um Bongo adverts (they drink it in the Congo don’t you know).

Walking down the dimly lit main corridor before going through the screen doors – it was lit like the corridors in Westworld – I had the same feeling I got building inside when I’m entering for a new Bond film, walked into Universal – it was like the slow mo The Right Stuff moment.

Now it was my daughter’s time to enter into the darkness and light of the cinema screen, her first trip, a defining moment as – like James Spader when he puts his face into the Stargate – she entered into the auditorium and another world, the world of movies.

As we passed through the double doors into the momentary darkness a tracking shot followed Iz until the seemingly inert grey rectangle screen opened to us and revealed the whole cinema. Suitably epic in scope – cinema scope – we entered just as a suite from Lord of the Rings kicked into motion. For a moment it was as if it was only playing in my head. As we took to the climb to our stairs and to our seats, to Gladiator, it couldn’t have been better choreographed by Danny Boyle. We had arrived and Isabelle’s cinema experience had just faded in…

Smash cut to Iz sat happily in her seat and happily mixing the genres of popcorn and Cadbury’s buttons as they nestled melting atop her sweet popcorn sat between Sarah and I. I’d always wanted Isabelle’s first cinematic experience to be one that meant something, one that was deemed a classic film, as I’d foreshadowed in a blog entry before Iz was born as I think these moments can be life-defining. Here is that very entry, With Great Parental Power Comes Great Cinematic Responsibility.

As such, and because we didn’t quite know whether she was ready for the big screen treatment, we took Iz to the Saturday morning kid’s club screening of Finding Nemo at the Empire Cinema at Basildon Festival Leisure Park. Fittingly she even took to a ‘submarine’ before we went into the screen.

 

Needless to say Iz loved the whole experience and she may have got a little restless towards the close of the film but she really loved it and gasped and jumped and laughed at all the right places and it was just great to be able to share that moment with her. I think I was probably watching her and her reactions as much as I was the film.

IMG_1624As with all good films, it came to an end all too quickly. As we returned, bleary eyed, back into the daylight of our world we were greeted by cardboard standees of Mike and Sully advertising Monsters University. Iz happily posed with the pair, already being a big fan of the first film, already sowing the seeds of the sequel to her first cinematic experience.

With great parental power comes great cinematic responsibility

Now it’s a good six months or so until our baby is born and already you get thinking about the far flung future things such as what school will it end up going to…and what will be its first film?

Okay, so it’s not massive in the big scheme of things, at first glance anyway. But if you think about it you always remember the first film that that you went to see at the pictures and those first few screenings can help shape your tastes and even the person you become, so therefore – as a bonafide filmbuff – I think there is great responsibility in choosing those first few cinematic dalliances for your children.

When I was growing up we lived about 9 miles for our nearest ABC Cinema, as it was then, so going to the cinema was a real treat. My dad took me to my first film on a Saturday morning and was Spiderman Strikes Back – basically a couple episodes of the 70s TV series slotted together for us Brits. True it’s not going to cause James Cameron any worries in story or special effects terms but was great to as a child and so, like Peter Parker, I was bitten by the radioactive film bug and my lifelong love of cinema was born.

Talking of Cameron, I was speaking to a friend earlier today and he recently took his six year old son to go and see Avatar after much research if it was suitable for a child his age. Now obviously it’s a film full of lots of childlike wonder and discovery, not to mentions lots of explosions and blue men and woman flying giant dinosaurs. To be fair it’s a pretty simplistic story as well. But this is not the point. The point is that this is one of that child’s first cinematic experiences and it is a seminal piece of work, one he’ll remember visuals from for the rest of his life, one which will gain him kudos in the playground when he’s older when the other kids find out he saw it on the big screen, glasses and all, rather than at home on Bluray or DVD.

And, of course, when he’s all grown up he’ll have that strong and fond memories of it that it will sit nestling on his shelf or computer, or whatever system there will be then, simply due to the fact that it had such a lasting impression of him when he was little and reminds him of the time his dad took him to the pictures.

Such films act in the same way as certain songs, they remind us of a certain time, a certain person or even a certain feeling. As you enter that darkened cave of the cinema and those light go down and those curtains part it’s not just a cinematic experience, it’s a rite of passage.

So that’s why our first child’s film won’t just be some Martin Lawrence film, it will be something that means something, something that will both wow and excite, not just for that screening but for a lifetime and is then passed down through the generations just like stories of old.

Likewise my first run ins with the likes of James Bond (Octopussy and every Bond since on the big screen) and a whole host of films that have never left my consciousness, step up Young Sherlock Holmes and The NeverEnding Story, which have all helped shape who I am and the people I have become friends with.

For me it’s right up there with the first film you bunked off school for (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), the first 15 certificate that you ever saw, underage of course (The Naked Gun) and your first 18 certificate, Ditto (Silence of the Lambs, would have been Misery but I bottled it).

I of course write this looking at our crammed DVD shelves, which include a battered VHS copy of Spiderman Strikes Back (found in Cash Converters in Luton no less) and Young Sherlock Holmes and The NeverEnding Story on DVD.