The lovely ladies over at Flick Chicks are running their second blogathon, and this one is all about your 'first movie experience'. At the movies, on VHS - whatever takes your fancy. For mine, I decided to write about the first movie I remember seeing at the cinema - The Phantom Menace.
As is probably the case with many of us, I don't remember specifically the first movie I ever saw, or even the first movie I saw at the cinema. However, the first movie I do remember seeing is pretty big one, and one that went on to inspire the heck out of my childhood.
For me, the first time I remember heading to the cinema for a new release movie was in 1999 (I was six, for those of you keeping track at home) to see this little movie hardly anyone was talking about, The Phantom Menace.
Just kidding, you know the deal with this one - Star Wars was EVERYWHERE in 1999, with George Lucas' genre-defining space opera about to return to cinemas for a brand new adventure in a galaxy far, far away. 22 years after the release of the first Star Wars (and two years after the same film was re-released and retitled A New Hope), Phantom Menace was the first in a new prequel trilogy focusing on the origins, training and eventual downfall of Anakin Skywalker, or as he would later be better known, Darth Vader.
My parents, my Dad in particular, are pretty big Star Wars fans and had ensured before this point that I was all caught up on the Original Trilogy - or at least as 'caught up' as a six-year-old can be.
So, sometime during the film's run, we headed along to the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon (one of the oldest purpose built cinemas in the world don't cha know!) to check it out. What did I think of The Phantom Menace upon first viewing? I remember thinking it was colourful, and that the Jedi (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan) were cool. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed the Podrace scene, as I eventually wound up collecting each of the little podracer toys and video game, Star Wars Episode I: Racer for the PC. The great thing is, that scene still holds up and the film's highlight to this day! I don't still have those toys or the game anymore though :(
Not too sure what I thought of Jar Jar - honestly, as a kid, I probably thought the slapstick comedy was funny at the time. I'll tell you something I wasn't too thrilled about, and that's pretty much every scene on Corusant, where we're first introduced to the Galactic Senate and the Jedi Council. If I'm bored by those scenes today, think about how dull they were to a six-year-old pumped up to see lightsabers and X-Wings. Yeah, they're so dull I actually legit remember feeling bored. In a Star Wars movie.
|"whhhhnnnfhhhhhh - VMM, PEW, WUM, CRAK"|
What? Those are lightsaber noises, duh!
At the end of the day, Phantom Menace is a pretty good first movie experience to remember. That, along with repeat viewings of the Original Trilogy, sparked a life-long love of Star Wars that hasn't subsided to this day. In between '99 and 2002 (when the follow-up, Attack of the Clones, was released), I'm pretty sure I spent every spare drop of pocket money I had on Star Wars toys, merchandise, Lego, books, games and everything in-between. No regrets, as that Lego X-Wing was the shit.
Essentially any time I was ill and couldn't go to school, I'd whack on a Star Wars movie - pretty sure my VHS copy of Phantom Menace eventually wore out, as we don't still have it. Do VHS tapes' wear out? Anyway, in a nutshell, my first memory of heading to the cinema pretty much sums up my childhood. Not too shabby indeed.
Other mentions: It wouldn't be a first movie experience list without mentioning a few others I kinda remember - Toy Story, Men in Black II, Monsters Inc., Emperor's New Groove and Spider-man.
Thanks to Flick Chicks for coming up with a cool premise for a blogathon, and I hope you all liked my entry!