Although my parents were going through a bitter divorce at the time, there were moments of enjoyment in the 80’s, particularly around the age of eight that have since turned into fond recollections.
My favourite memory was going to Walt Disney World in Florida which was my first visit to America. I remember befriending a beautiful blonde Texan girl called Summer at the motel we were staying at in Orlando (it was about a 30 minute journey to Disney as my Mum couldn’t afford anything nearer). I remember wearing dayglo wristbands, hair bungees and t-shirts with tassels on the end. Every shop we walked into Phil Collin’s ‘Two Hearts’ hit was blaring out of the stereo.
As a kid I was very much inspired by America as the main TV programmes and films I enjoyed were made in America. Knight Rider, The Dukes of Hazzard, Smokey and The Bandit, Back to the Future (and any other film featuring Michael J Fox were a hit with me as a child).
I also remember quite obscure films such as The Great Land of Small (which is actually Canadian). I was drawn to watching it a few times as a child because it was slightly strange, intriguing and a little bit dark. See an episode of it on Youtube to see what I mean and read about it on Wikipedia. I think most children are captivated by films that deal with issues that are filmed in PG but are actually emotionally linked to a storyline that would be classified as a 12 or 15. Tim Burton’s films are a good example of this. The expression on my daughter’s face while she watches Harry Potter is a fine example of how kids like to be a little bit scared, daunted, shocked or amazed by what they see in a film I don’t think this alters as we become adults.
I think that in this day and age of excellent documentary style films there should be more aimed at children, for example a slumdog millionaire version for kids. I think this is where Disney & Pixar’s animation films are missing a trick – they are too American, too westernised. While many of them carry good moral messages and celebrate the best in humanity, I feel they they are only scratching at the surface of the potential for these films to educate kids about other cultures, people and realities.
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Thanks for reading.