There is something about watching old movies. If it’s a movie from a time when you were alive, it’s nostalgia, and if you weren’t, then it’s a window into another era. Either way, it’s quite an adventure to watch movies from a bygone era.
At the same time, however, it can be quite disappointing to watch a movie that everyone loved, say, in the ’90s, only to find that the movie no longer has the charm or relevance it had in its heyday. . In the case of children’s films, it can be difficult to capture and keep the interest of the little ones if the plot seems too outdated.
Let’s watch some of the 80s kids’ movies under this lens.
Honey, I cut down on the kids
The Wild Adventures of Obsessed Scientists was a genre in its own right at the time, and television in the late ’80s was heavily biased towards the sci-fi tale of an innovator accidentally using his shrinking machine on his children.
What begins by throwing the little ones in the trash becomes at the same time a stroll, a battle and a conference of mischief.
Keeping aside the fact that people have a lot more science to know that it is not possible to reduce humans, let alone do it accidentally, Honey, I cut down on the kids manages to keep its fun for generations to come.
Based on the eponymous Broadway musical, Annie has a very ’80s plot: an orphan living a hard life under the wickedness of Miss Hannigan gets the chance to live with the rich Warbucks. Life doesn’t change completely for her, as she finds herself wanting her real parents.
Warbucks decides to help and awards a research reward. It attracts all kinds of cheaters and crooks pretending to be his parents. We have a feeling Annie will only fit children if they regard it as a relic from a bygone era, as there are too many awkward events to make sense of or normalize.
A supernatural comedy with ghosts? Count the children.
When a plethora of ghost sightings are reported, three parapsychologists decide to seize the opportunity and incorporate Ghostbusters, a company offering services to rid people of supernatural creatures. The film brings in some visually grandiose moments in keeping with the ever-changing plot, and it’s sure to grab anyone’s attention.
To this day, Ghostbusters remains the perfect film for those daring kids who pretend they’re not afraid of the dark. There have also been some fun remakes, especially the 2016 version starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Justin Kirk, among others.
AND: the alien
It’s hard to miss the alien subgenre in 80s kids’ movies with ET: The alienl in the title.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, it follows Elliott, a little boy who befriends an alien creature who appears to have been lost / abandoned by the rest of his family. Children can show so much empathy without even being asked, and Elliott’s friendship with ET reminds us of that.
The film is still important and not only in the genre. Bonus: we also see Drew Barrymore as a little kid.
Back to the future
Sci-fi films seem to be a very popular genre of children’s films from the 80s. Back to the future, as its name suggests, is interested in the sub-theme of time travel.
Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis created the highest-grossing film of the year with a simple plot: A 17-year-old is sent to the past due to an experiment his eccentric scientist friend went wrong (talk about exploit a trope to death).
We all wonder how we could change the course of the world if we could change something in the past – it’s called quantum physics – but Back to the future just made the whole conversation a lot more fun.