It’s MOVIE NIGHT YAHOO!!
What are you watching tonight?
Over the holidays I’ve been having a blast returning to many of my favorite old movies. However, I’ve been discovering that my memory of these films does not always live up to them when I re-watch…
With the trailers flying out for Doctor Dolittle with Robert Downey Jr, I was itching to watch the original with Rex Harrison.
What’s funny is that I did not recall that the original Doctor Dolittle is a musical. Nor did I remember that there is a strange intermission in the middle, nor that it is 2.5 hours long!
What really stood out for me when I was a kid was the huge snail and the voyage in its pearly pink shell. I laughed to myself when watching the old movie because the snail part is only five minutes max at the end of the film. Doctor Dolittle doesn’t even ride in it himself.
Still, my three-year-old was asking to watch the movie again the next day.
I’m not going to discuss the Doctor Dolittle incarnation with Eddie Murphy, or even the third one, which I doubt I’ve seen. Some stories are best not reiterated three or four times.
The other old movies that I re-watched include Mannequin and Mannequin Two: On the Move.
What I realized very distinctly while watching the Mannequin movies is:
- Movies of older eras often have slower starts. They have character building and setting establishment in the first 20 minutes or so. In today’s movie production age, films often start in medias res, aka in the middle of action or a story line.
- My kids – and probably myself too – have now been primed for the instant action/conflict. My children were bored out of their minds at the beginnings of all these old movies. So much so that they whined and begged to watch something else. We started Mannequin but abandoned it at around the 20 minute mark. However, I was not deterred. I convinced them to start it up with me again the next night. They were not enjoying it to my degree – I was literally singing along – but they enjoyed it (though my ten-year-old would never admit to it). The stories and music, the characters and plot, were still a hoot.
- Overall, my memory of these films was a much higher estimation than what they perhaps are in reality, when viewed today. At the same time, the nostalgia factor was so lovely that I plan to continue showing my family my favorite films from the 80’s and 90’s. These movies are so inventive and original… unlike many movies today that are remakes of the oldies but goodies.
- And finally, sometimes the sequel is better than the original, which I feel is the case in the Mannequin movies.
And tonight’s feature film… yes, it’s another spin-off/remake of an oldie…
Oh the irony! The third in a series. This is one reason I aspire to be a great filmmaker: To create original films from new and novel ideas.
The original Jumanji is still a cult classic. My kids loved it, though I again noticed the pacing is different from today’s films. I don’t totally mind this, though I do think that perhaps we can move into a new era where it’s not one or the other – slow build OR in medias res – but a hybrid of the two or something different all together.
What I believe the new Jumanji movies have done successfully is re-imagined the original movie premise but modernized the telling in a way that still honors the original. The new films have also interjected humor and unexpected elements that have viewers laughing from their guts. Not all remakes and sequels have enough new elements, not to mention all star casting.
And on that note, I am off to the theater!
Happy movie night!