Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising
Our Film Reviewer, Patty, takes time to reflect on older films and how they can capture the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike.
The Goonies

The Goonies

As a huge lover of film, it is not surprising that my children’s TV and movie viewing has been – I admit – quite heavily influenced by my own tastes and preferences. In fact, it came quite naturally. As parents, we all want to introduce our children to the stuff that gave us joy as kids, be it old toys, loved books or, in my case, films. The pleasure I derive from watching their little faces light up like mine thirty years ago, is second to none. I also find it a very interesting experiment, testing older films on them to see their reaction to something that could be considered rather dated these days.

wizard of oz

1939’s The Wizard of Oz bursts into Technicolour after a monochromatic opening

The Wizard of Oz was one such experiment. A timeless classic indeed, but were these 21st century action-fed offspring going to appreciate singing munchkins and flickery special effects? I popped the DVD on and walked away. Within seconds, a slightly panicky shout summoned me: “Mum! There’s something wrong with the telly!” Which of course, there wasn’t. The first part of the film is in sepia. Once past that visual hurdle, they sat through the film and loved it. As they also loved subsequent “oldies” like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins.


1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang featured a script by Roald Dahl

I feel these days we tend to underestimate our children’s ability to appreciate good entertainment; they are subjected to shows and films that have been filtered down through layers and layers of ‘experts’, psychologists and marketing statistics. They are spoon-fed clean-cut messages in watered down packages of shiny merchandise and trendy pop music. Sure, they’re harmless enough and many are quite good. But why not broaden their horizons? To me, introducing them to older movies is like a good history lesson. Johnny Depp is an excellent Willy Wonka, but do your kids know there is an even better original version? It’s ok to let them experience the darker side of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka, to let them cry at ET going home, to face mobsters and discover treasures with The Goonies.

1982's classic, ET

1982’s classic, ET

Kids play at fantasy all the time, they crave adventure and there are some great films in existence that can take them on that ride. Think back and you’ll be surprised to realise how many films you’ll remember loving. Flight of The Navigator, Space Camp, The Indiana Jones trilogy thrilled us back in the day, why not our kids? Even the swashbuckling (and utter pantomime) adventures of Errol Flynn in Robin Hood went down a storm in my house. They love it, they lap it up because it is different, it is entertainment that doesn’t pull its punches and more often than not produces the greatest belly laughs. It has also brought about a curiosity about film making and the science and art that goes into a production that is not wholly generated by computers. It’s not just watching TV. It is feeding inquisitive minds.

So what if they are not as ‘clean’ as today’s offerings? They didn’t do us any harm and I, for one, never tried to harbour a fugitive alien in my bedroom nor did I dream of repeating any language I heard. For those of us who love films, these are treasures of our past. It is time to share them.

Article by Patty Papageorgiou-Axford

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