Disney Plus owns rights on nostalgia
OUT FOR A WALK
When my longtime friend suggested that I do a free trial of the new “Disney Plus” streaming service, I was like ‘Yeah, right. Why would I do that?”
I mean, I’m a 40-year-old man with no kids. My wife isn’t really into animated movies like some women are, and neither of us is really craving movies geared toward the 10-and-under crowd.
But then I remembered: Disney owns almost everything, including the Star Wars franchise. That is actually why my buddy suggested the free trial, so I could see the new series “The Mandalorian,” which is set in the Star Wars universe. (You see, the 10-and-up geek demographic is still something I belong to). After hearing him hyping it up, I decided to break down and click the free trial button.
Of course, I was excited to see all of the Star Wars and Marvel Comics movies available in one place, but what really struck me were the selections in the category “Nostalgic Movies.” It was as if my childhood was on display in the form of old movies from the 1970s and ‘80s.
In just the past week, I’ve rewatched three of my favorites from when I was a kid. The first was “Escape to Witch Mountain,” a 1975 fantasy adventure about a brother and sister with magical powers and a mysterious past. I vaguely remember being creeped out by portions of this movie, and after watching it again, I think I know why. The sister character has repeated flashbacks to nearly drowning in the ocean — complete with a dreamlike soft focus and spooky ‘70’s era synthesizer music. Talk about nightmare fuel for kids.
This same sense of remembered dread led me to also click on “Return to Oz,” an “unofficial” sequel to the 1939 classic “Wizard of Oz” that was released in 1985. Even though it’s probably been 30 or more years since I last saw this movie, I still have terrifying recollections of the main villain and her hall of removable heads. Yes, that’s right. This supposed children’s movie featured several scenes of disembodied heads, played by real actresses, who would be plucked up and affixed on top of a headless body. The Wicked Witch of the West was scary, but not downright traumatizing.
Lastly, I watched “Flight of the Navigator,” a 1986 sci-fi adventure about a boy in Florida who is unwittingly taken by aliens who need him to fly their spaceship. This one also unnerved me as a kid because the main character goes missing for eight years and doesn’t even realize it. From there, though, the movie floats into goofy humor and unabashed wish fulfillment. What 12-year-old wouldn’t want to pilot a spaceship?
So, I guess I’m more young at heart than I realized. Still, I won’t be watching “The Little Mermaid” anytime soon.