Thursday, August 2, 2012

My First Movie Blogathon - Pinocchio and Aladdin

Welcome to the second day of the My First Movie Blogathon hosted at Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear! The Blogathon runs through August 4th so please check out the other entries!

The first movie I saw in theaters was the 1992 re-release of Pinocchio (1940), the second Walt Disney animated film. I was only three years old but still have vague memories of watching it in the theater with my family. The first "new" movie I saw in a theater was Aladdin which came out later that year. This was the first time I watched a movie with just myself and my Dad, a tradition we keep up to this day!

I was three years old around the time I saw these movies. While I don't remember anything about what I thought about Pinocchio at the time, I have seen it several times since and have always enjoyed it. I haven't watched Pinocchio recently but when watching the movie later it always struck about how dark it was. Sure we have the great songs "I've Got No Strings" and the Oscar winner for Best Song "When You Wish upon a Star," but we also have the evil puppet master Stromboli, kids who literally transform into "jackasses" then are sold to work in salt mines, and the giant whale Monstro who swallows Pinocchio!

I have stronger recollections from seeing Aladdin. One thing I specifically remember was laughing when the genie accidentally picks up Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid! I had already seen that movie at home before watching Aladdin so the joke was not lost on me. This must have been the first time I had ever encountered both reference jokes and meta humor which probably explains why I love those types of comedy to this day!

While my Dad also picked up on that reference, I noticed that he didn't giggle as much as I did. However, in another part of the movie I noticed that he was laughing hysterically and I didn't get the joke. I wouldn't fully understand it until years later, but my Dad loved the Genie's Jack Nicholson impression! While Aladdin is not unique in having some jokes for kids and other jokes for parents, I enjoy it when family films do this as it truly makes them for all age groups. Movies with humor for people of different ages tend to be even more watchable when you get older as you now get a joke you didn't understand earlier and can view the movie in a different light.

Disney films, such as Pinocchio and Aladdin, often have a high range of emotions and tones. We have ups and downs, funny moments, scary parts, musical numbers, and memorable characters of all types. Disney movies are the first movies a lot of young people watch, and therefore the formation and basis for their future film viewing. This sets up how they look at movies when they get older. Sure the villains will get more complex and there won't always be happy endings, but Disney films are the blueprint for getting used to watching feature films and certainly a big step up from most Saturday morning cartoons. And as was the case for me, Disney films can be a great early theater experience! Even with today's world of giant flat screen TVs and home theaters, nothing beats watching a film in the cinema on the big screen and hearing the reaction of the audience to the movie. This is something I learned at a young age thanks to both Pinocchio and Aladdin.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the My First Movie Blogathon.
This is the fifth blogathon I've participated in, and hopefully there will be many more to come!