Genre Movies Turning 30 This Year
The new year has come and we are living in the year of 2019 AD with a hopefully bright outlook for the coming days. But that is all for another day, today I will let you feel the grim specter of age creeping onto you and remind you many of the films we grew up and wax nostalgic about to hit the three decade mark. Some of our favorite science fiction, horror, and fantasy films are hitting milestone years this year and let us take a look at some of the classics turning 30 this year.
Batman: With today’s deluge of superhero films it is easy to forget that once upon a time only Superman was afforded a major motion picture franchise. This changed when a young quirky filmmaker convinced Warner Bros. to give him a shot at DC Comics’ other top hero, Batman. The story is fairly straightforward, Batman has spent his career hiding in the shadows using intimidation tactics and hi-tech gadgets to fight crime. But a new threat in the form of the Joker has risen and Batman must face the Clowned Prince of Crime and save Gotham City. Tim Burton brought a vintage art deco style to this flick which fit the Dark Knight and his world perfectly. By giving mass audiences a dark and serious Batman he transformed how many viewed the character and solidified him as a cultural icon.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Often times in science fiction, time travel is wasted on those who are decidedly not excellent. Luckily Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure did not have this problem as it gave audiences two likable slackers who find themselves in possession of a time travelling phone booth. Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan have dreams of making it big with their band, Wyld Stallyns, but a most bogus high school history report is standing in their way. As chance would have it, the duo meet Rufus, a man from the future who lends Bill and Ted the use of a time machine, because strangely enough these two hold the keys to humanity’s future. The two are off on an adventure through time, collecting historical figures to bring back in the hopes of passing their history report.
The Little Mermaid: How easy we forget but there was a time when it looked as if the entertainment juggernaut Disney was done for. After years of failure, 1989 saw the release of the movie which would begin turning the company around and launch what we know as the Disney Renaissance. Loosely based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, a young mermaid named Ariel who falls in love with a prince and longs to venture onto the surface world to be with him and learn everything she can about humanity. Though her father forbids it, the sea witch Ursula is more than happy to help her, in exchange for Ariel’s voice. The mute former mermaid, now has to win the heart of a prince before Ursula can unleash her dark plan. The Little Mermaid was not only a critical and commercial hit but also stopped Disney’s steady decline and launched arguably the company’s most successful run ever.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 1989 saw George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg give their storied action hero one final adventure…..until he came back but we’re not going into that now. Indiana Jones has been charged with finding one of the most sought after relics of all time, the Holy Grail. To outwit the Nazis who are also after this artifact, Indy must patch things up with his father Henry Jones Sr. in order to solve the mystery of the Grail. The Last Crusade was the grand epic it should have been introducing new characters and bringing back old favorites to give the legendary Indiana Jones the sendoff he so richly deserved.
Little Monsters: All of us have wondered what kind of monsters and ghouls live under our beds, but Brian learned exactly who was under his bed when he moves into a new house. A troublemaking monster named Maurice takes a liking to Brian and lets the young boy venture into the world monsters inhabit under our beds. For a while, Brian and Maurice have fun playing pranks and living with no rules but things eventually get serious. Brian finds that the fun loving Maurice naturally has a bit of a mean streak and that he himself is beginning a process of changing into a monster. When he tries to find a way out the more sinister forces of the monster community, kidnap his brother hoping to lure Brian to their side once and for all.
Kiki’s Delivery Service: When the young witch, Kiki turns 13 she is ready to embark on her first big adventure. She and her cat Jiji find themselves in a new town, where Kiki decides to put her abilities to work running a delivery service. With her flying broom as means of transportation, she takes on jobs from the local baker and his wife and of course her inexperience means things do not always go smoothly. For reasons she can not figure out Kiki loses her powers and has to learn how to get them back. Over the course of the film, Kiki learns hard lessons about life and how things are not always as easy as we think, but in the end it is all works out for the best.
Friday the 13th Part VIII Jason Take Manhattan: Granted Jason Voorhees only took Manhattan for the third act of the movie. Fan favorite, Kane Hodder dons the iconic hockey mask once again only this time he leaves the killing fields of Camp Crystal Lake for a yacht taking a high school class to the Big Apple for a senior trip. Naturally Jason decides to rack up a body count onboard, but Rennie is alerted to his presence thanks to a series of visions and ties to the murderer’s past. As the title suggests the climax of the film takes the machete-wielding mad man to Manhattan where he has a fresh new crop of victims from police officers to gang members nobody is safe. While many fans criticize the film for not using the city as prominently as the title suggests, the scene of Jason Voorhees standing tall in the heart of Time Square is one of the iconic moments in the franchise.
Back to the Future Part II: Marty McFly had his fun with time travel the first go-around (if you could call it that), but as the cliffhanger ending proved there are consequences for meddling with the timeline. After heading into the future to take care of a problem with his kids, the McFly family’s rival Biff gets his hands on an almanac which he passes on to his past self. Naturally a ripple tears through the time stream and when Marty returns home, he finds that his father is dead and Biff has used the knowledge from the almanac to amass power and wealth. This leads to an adventure across time as Marty and Doc Brown try to fix the damage brought on by Biff. Once more Back to the Future Part II ends on a brilliant cliffhanger, which leaves viewers excited about the next part of the franchise.
Honey I Shrunk the Kids: The movie which further cemented the love an entire generation has for Rick Moranis. Eccentric inventor, Wayne Szalinski thinks his shrinking machine is nothing short of a failure. Unfortunately his children and the two kids from next door learn the hard way the machine does in fact work when they are shrunk down to a little over an inch in height. Thrown in their helpless miniature form into the backyard, the four children have to survive; sprinklers, insects, and other threats right outside of their door. While they are having the adventure of a lifetime, Wayne and the other parents search for their children completely oblivious of the dangers that they themselves are putting them in. The movie was a surprise hit spawning; sequels, a TV series, and a few attractions at the Disney theme parks.
Ghostbusters II: With the original Ghostbusters being such a huge critical and commercial success they were eventually able to get everyone onboard for Ghostbusters II. Having saved the world from Gozer, the Ghostbusters have almost become a laughing stock by the very city they protected. For the most part; Ray, Peter, Winston, and Egon, have that time behind them and moved on, until once again Dana needs help. Her infant son Oscar has become the target of the spirit of the Carpathian warlord Vigo, who has possessed a painting Dana has been restoring. Once again, the Ghostbuster are called on to suit up and stop Vigo from taking possession of the child. While this was the end of the live action adventures of the Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II provided fans with numerous favorite moments, not the least of which was the Statue of Liberty inspiring New Yorkers to be pleasant.
Warlock: With a miniscule budget and two acclaimed thespians, director Steve Miner was able to add a cult classic to his extensive horror filmography. Somewhere out there is a book containing the words God used to bring everything into existence, if anyone ever uttered them backwards they would undo all of creation. Julian Sands plays a Warlock from centuries ago who travels to 1989 to do just that. Hot on his trail is Giles Redferne, who is guided through our contemporary times by Kassandra, who herself has been cursed by the Warlock. True the special fx betray just how cheaply made Warlock was, but the movie is still far better than it had any right to be. This is largely due the talented veterans present on all levels in the making of the film.
The Abyss: Filmmaker, James Cameron has never made his love of the sea a secret, and in his 1989 film the Abyss, Cameron dives into the ocean for one of his best films. A nuclear sub has mysteriously sunk into an incredibly deep part of the ocean. With the clock ticking, the military assembles a team of Navy SEALS to join forces with the crew of a research vessel in order to recover the submarine. As they dive into the watery abyss, the crew begin to experience unexplained events as tension grows between the team. With a hurricane and the Soviets on the way, the SEALs and the researchers must unravel the secrets they are discovering under the sea.
Puppet Master: The 80’s and 90’s saw the video market for movies explode especially among the horror genre. One of the fan favorites from this era, came from genre veteran Charles Band and was so unabashedly silly and fun that it spawned an entire franchise. A man named Neil, discover a chest of puppets, built by Andre Toulon on the cusp of World War II, and stowed away so that the Nazi would no find them. Before he dies he calls in a team of psychics to investigate his discovery. As one would expect these particular puppets are subjects of an evil enchantment and torment the psychics trying to learn their secrets.
The ‘Burbs: 1989 saw quirky filmmaker, Joe Dante turn his unique vision to suburban America with the ‘Burbs. Tom Hanks plays Ray, a normal guy who is looking to take a few days off and relax, but his neighbors are definitely up to something. The Klopek family next door prove to be strange and suspicious enough that Ray and a few of his neighbors join together to get to the bottom of what the neighbors are hiding. Dark and comedic, the ‘Burbs is a massively entertaining madness.
Pet Sematary: Word to the wise if you do not want somebody messing around in an old supernatural burial ground, do not show them where it is and explain everything about it to them. They may discover on their own one day, but at least you have done your due diligence. Based on source material from Stephen King, Pet Sematary is about Dr. Louis Creed who moves his delightful young family into a pleasant Maine home across the street from the friendly Jud Crandall. Creed discovers that the road his new home is on is a treacherous path frequented by high speed truckers. When his son his killed by a negligent trucker, he turns desperate and a reluctant Crandall reveals the secret of the “pet sematary” built by the local children years before, and the secret it holds. Whatever is buried there does not stay dead, and what comes back is not pleasant. In his state, Creed is willing to try anything and as he was warned, his son returns and brings with him an evil nobody was ready for.