Posts tagged ‘disney’

Nostalgiathon 2009 #2: I Was a Nintendo Kid

Today, I am going to blather on about the NES! How original.

Ah, that electronic fun machine. How I loved it. My first experience with the NES was when I was about five or six. The game? Mario Bros., what else? I couldn’t play worth a damn at the time, but I was fascinated by it.

Later on, my parents made friends with this couple that had two kids, Michael and Ashley, and we would go to their house out in the country a lot. They had an NES, and the kids and I would play video games together (we also had lots of adventures outside). That was the place where I got my Nintendo fix until I received an NES Power Pack for my 7th birthday in 1990.

I didn’t have a lot of friends in the second grade (or any other grade, for that matter), and I don’t think I helped that situation any by being a little girl who liked video games. When I’d try to join my classmates’ heated discussions about whether or not Sega was better than Nintendo, all the boys would usually just look at me funny and go on talking amongst themselves. (By the way, I would trash talk Sega at every opportunity even though I never touched one until sometime in 1999 or so.)

Also, when playing Mario Bros. with Michael or any other kid, we could never agree who got to be player 1 or player 2, so eventually video games became a pretty solitary activity for me.

Well, now that I’ve bored everybody to death, I’ll move on to actually talking about some NES games.

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There’s our little collection. And yes, we have a top-loading NES– a real one made by Nintendo. It’s great.

I didn’t own that many games when I was a kid; didn’t really need to because renting games was cheap and easy. Almost every week, we’d go to the mom-and-pop video store and I’d go look lovingly at the long wall of NES games.

One of the games I rented frequently was Mickey Mousecapade, which I recently bought a copy of. I rented it so much because hey, it was a Disney game, and because no matter how hard I tried, I could not get past the second level! Also, Minnie is retarded and always gets in the way, and that makes the game a lot more challenging. Eventually I got sick of it and started playing other games instead, but I always secretly liked it even when I was mad at it.

The first game I ever actually beat was the tie-in game for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I was obsessed with that movie at the time, which is probably how I was able to beat the game– sheer obsession and determination. It certainly wasn’t because I was good at video games. Anyway, I’ll never forget how I felt when I finally made it all the way to Ursula and defeated her. I don’t think I ever beat another NES game, actually.

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They Just Weren’t That Great…Or Were They?

Anyone ever notice that VHS, Betamax, vinyl records, Laserdiscs, CEDs and even 8-tracks get lots of nostalgic love, but audio cassettes don’t? I mean, when was the last time you heard someone mention an audio cassette? Okay, so for me, the last time was today, but before that? Can’t even remember.

Why no love for cassettes? Well, I’ll tell you why I have no love for cassettes: they were very breakable, got mangled by car stereos very easily, they didn’t sound all that great in the first place, especially not after 18,000 plays– there’s nothing worse than trying to listen to a song when it sounds all warped and garbled. I understand that they were an important technological stepping stone, and they made music in the car much more practical, but compared to CDs or records they were pieces of shit. I had to put up with cassettes for a long time because I couldn’t afford a CD player and it made me sad, so I guess that’s why I don’t get very nostalgic for them.

That’s not to say that I don’t have any nostalgia for them, though. Cassettes were fun to play with. I used to use my dad’s equipment to record my own pretend radio show and other silly things like that. They also made piracy easy and fun– my dad knew how to use them to record audio from VHS tapes and we made my own bootleg Disney movie soundtracks.

Oh, don’t forget those read-along book-and-tape sets. I had plenty of those and I’m pretty sure they were part of the reason I knew how to read at four years old. I also had those Disney Children’s Favorites tapes– they had nursery rhymes and old-fashioned songs on them, classic stuff like This Old Man and Skip to My Lou. You know, those songs that kids these days don’t know anything about. I played them to death and knew every word because of the accompanying illustrated songbooks.

Also, one year, my dad bought me a Sony Walkman and I was in heaven– not because it was a portable cassette player per se, but because it was portable music. I’d ride my bike and listen to my Garth Brooks tapes and bootlegged Disney soundtracks all the live long day. (Yes, I said Garth Brooks. I was a stupid kid; leave me alone.)

I guess I had a little more nostalgia for cassettes than I thought I did.

There Will Be Remakes and Rumors of Remakes.

Yeah, so…current movie news is not something I would normally cover on NJ, but when it’s related to older films, it falls into my territory.

Apparently, two older films that I like are going to be remade/rebooted before too long. No film can escape the Hollywood remake machine, it seems!

First up, Flight of the Navigator. Get the full scoop here.

Come on, what 80s/90s kid didn’t love that movie? My dad recorded it from the Disney Channel for me and I watched it about a million times. Hell, my dad even liked it.

Apparently it was something of a box office flop, but like many 1980s films, it got a new lease on life thanks to VHS. It’s not the greatest film ever, but it’s charming and even had some pretty cool special effects for 1986. Plus, that cute little creature guy that the main character got to keep at the end of the movie. Ooh, and don’t forget Pee-Wee Herman himself as the voice of the spaceship’s AI!

Anyway, they’re gearing up to make a new version, and I don’t know how to feel about that. I am not automatically against remakes or reboots– in fact, I enjoy them when they’re done right (i.e. the recent Star Trek, which was great), and I guess this remake could turn out okay, but I just don’t really see them capturing the spirit of the original. I mean, it’s a thoroughly 80s film: spaceships, time travel, young main character, cute alien creature, Paul Reubens. I know that makes it dated, but that’s also why I enjoy it so much. So, seeing it brought into the 21st century might be a little too much for me. Plus, it’s Disney, and we all know how their live action films are. (Except Flight of the Navigator, of course. :D)

The reboot/remake/whatever of the first Alien film is the one I’m more worried about. Read all about it here. (The same article also tells of a Predator remake.)

As far as I’m concerned, movies like this are not to be touched. It is a damn fine film and I’m convinced that no director currently working today could do it justice. You just KNOW that instead of making it suspenseful, they’ll turn it into a big fat gore fest, which was not the point. If they want to do that, why don’t they just make an entirely new film with new characters? Then they can have their gore fest and leave the classic first movie ALONE.

Also, I don’t know about anybody else but I CANNOT see any other actress in the role of Ellen Ripley.

So it’s safe to say that I am pretty adamantly opposed to an Alien remake. Seriously, what a stupid idea. Get some original ideas, Hollywood.

Edit: Upon a more careful read of the article, I see there’s also a rumor that this Alien thing is an origin story and not a remake. But that doesn’t make any damned sense either. I don’t give a shit where the aliens came from! The point is that they’re badass motherfuckers! Geez.

Edit Edit: Well, thinking about it, I guess an origin story would be better than a remake. BUT STILL.

The Revenge of Edit: Somewhat good news! The new Alien project is confirmed to be…a prequel! Yay! No shitty remake! Get the story here.

Something Old, Something New, Something Blu-ray

In spite of my relative youth (I just turned 26), I’m usually something of a curmudgeon about new technology. I turn my nose up disdainfully at such fancy-schmancy things as iPods and iPhones and Bluetooth and I have been known to make sarcastic comments about HDTVs on occasion.

And yet I just bought my first movie on Blu-ray, a format that until recently made my blood boil.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I did this. (I’m still a little shocked about it myself.) Well, it was the magic of Disney that got to me. They just released Pinocchio on the format.

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I hadn’t been able to get a hold of it on DVD before, and only had the VHS tape. Since I do have a Blu-ray player courtesy of my husband’s Playstation 3, I figured I might as well pick up the Blu-ray version so that when the day comes that we finally cave and buy a shiny HDTV, I will have something pretty to play on it. Plus the disc comes with a standard DVD in the box, so even if I didn’t already have a player, I could buy the Blu-ray for the future and still be able to watch the movie. Smart move on Disney’s part, I think.

As for the movie itself, it looks better than ever. Seriously, it looks like it was made yesterday. It’s amazing. If you’re an ultra-purist, though, you might hate the cleanup job as the print looks absolutely pristine and there are no traces of film grain, scratches, dust, or fading. Personally, I don’t understand why people would want that stuff intact in the first place, especially for hi-def viewing, but that’s just me. Film grain’s got its charms, but scratches and dirt? Not so hot. Do you think animators back then would have eliminated that stuff if they’d had the chance? I’m betting they would have in a heartbeat.

Anyway, Pinocchio is among my favorite Disney films. It’s one of the first movies I remember watching and it mesmerized me. The story packs a powerful message, is emotionally moving and never gets old.

As for Blu-ray, I think I’ll start buying new releases on the format, provided they’re affordable enough (which they are rapidly becoming). But that HDTV is a long time coming…

The Little Mermaid

In the early 90s, I loved Garfield and the Ninja Turtles. (What kid didn’t back then?) I got up at 8 AM every damn Saturday just to watch them. I watched my recorded Garfield specials quite often. I practically memorized the first Ninja Turtles movie. I bought anything with Garfield on it; I even had some expensive ceramic figurines. Needless to say, I was something of a fanatic.

Now maybe you’ll understand my full meaning when I say that phase was a mere blip on the radar compared to my all-out obsession with Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It became my life.
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