Obviously when you go to the theater to see a film, you’re going because it’s something you want to see. There are times where the film in question turns out to be worse than you expected, right on the mark or better than you expected. Then there are the rare occasions where the film transcends every expectation you could have had. Those are the films that when you leave the theater, you want to get right back in line to watch it again. There are also those films that you may not have been able to see in the theater but you love so much you wish you could go back and see it for the first time on the big screen.
This is not something that is experienced often. At least not for me personally. I love movies. I love going to the movies. I love all different types of movies. I wanted to share with you a handful of films that really struck a chord with me and ones that I wish I could experience again for the first time.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t see Jaws in the theater. I would have been 3 at the time. But my folks were pretty liberal with what films I was allowed to watch so it’s entirely possible that they did take me when they went to see it. I have very early memories of Jaws so it’s safe to say that I’ve watched this film through out most of my life. It’s one of my favorites and it’s also my “deer in the headlights” film. Meaning that whenever it’s on, I HAVE to turn it over to see what part it’s on and I get stuck watching it to the end. I can’t turn away from it. I wish I could experience Jaws through the eyes of a first timer. To feel the suspense, to jump at the scares, to scream at Quint that he does indeed need a bigger boat! Just think of how grand that would be! I want to experience all of these things, but mainly, seeing it on the big screen in all of its glory and hearing the soundtrack on the theater sound system would be the best treat of all.
I went to see Aliens with my Dad when it came out. I knew of Alien and knew this was its sequel but I hadn’t seen Alien at the time. I mainly went to spend some time with my Dad and he really wanted to see it. I was already familiar with James Cameron having seen The Terminator countless times. It didn’t take long for me to become completely entranced with Aliens. Sigourney Weaver put strong female characters on the map with the gun-toting-flame-thrower-wielding-grenade-launching-power-loader-driving-protective mama hen Ripley. Is there anything Ripley can’t do? She’s a bad ass. Plain and simple. Aliens had the suspense, the gore, the jumps and the action. This film is a classic and also one of my all time favorites. Even though I remember seeing this film in the theater, I would so very much love to see it again, for the first time. I would choose and also recommend the director’s cut. It contains almost 20 minutes of footage that was not included in the theatrical release. SCORE!
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
I have to group these three films together because that’s how I think of them. Not so much as three individual films, but one film that just happens to be 87 hours long, and that’s not even taking the director cuts into account. I saw all three of these films in the theater multiple times. I had absolutely no connection or knowledge of the source material either. I went in completely blind and came out completely smitten with all of them. Even though I get a little ho-hum with the Frodo storyline, I’m all ears with it comes to the other story lines. These films really have it all. Action, adventure, friendship, sword fights, creatures great and small, wizards, magic and best of all Gandalf. Ian McKellen is an actor I could watch and listen to all day. He has the most expressive eyes in the business. He’s can tear you down with a look in one second and the next he’s got that twinkle that makes the world all warm and fuzzy. I would geek out if I could revisit these three films back to back for the first time just so I could be filled with that child like wonder once again.
Batman Begins (2005)
By 2005 the comic book movie genre was moving full steam ahead. We had already seen how great they could be as proven by X-Men and it’s sequel, as well as Spiderman and Spiderman 2. We were also shown how bad they could be with Catwoman, Hulk, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen etc. The list goes on….and on. When talk of a reboot to the Batman franchise surfaced it was to the tune of “been there, done that.” Tim Burton took on Batman in two installments which were unsuccessfully (in quality anyway) followed up with another two installments by Joel Schumacher. Both of which were truly a waste of time. It was at that point that I had written off any hope of a great Batman story. Then Christopher Nolan comes along with his Batman Begins. Taking the film into origin story territory, we get to see a new take on how Bruce becomes Batman and what led him down that path. Christian Bale was a perfect choice and the direction the story took was more than I could have hoped for. I remember sitting there in the theater just speechless because I didn’t want to miss a single frame. I told my friend right after it was over, that I wish I could see it again for the first time. I still love it and think that it holds up. I love The Dark Knight as well, but would go with Batman Begins if given a choice.
Star Trek (2009)
I’ve seen every Star Trek movie in the theater with the exception of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Final Frontier. My favorite of the original cast was The Undiscovered Country and my favorite of Next Gen was First Contact. I will agree with the theory that the even numbered Trek films are the good ones while the odd numbered ones, not so much. After the dismal disaster that was Nemesis, the future looked bleak for the Star Trek franchise. Deep Space Nine was done, Voyager was done and Enterprise ended after a few seasons. None of those were prime fodder for a script. Word came out that J.J. Abrams was looking at rebooting the franchise. While the word “reboot” tends to fill me with dread, the name attached to it made me pause before I opened my mouth to slam the idea. With a beloved franchise like Star Trek, the person undertaking such a thing would surely keep the fans in mind, right? RIGHT?!
After seeing that brief teaser that was released about a year before the film came out my interest was piqued. It doesn’t take much ,I know. Once stills and a proper trailer hit the web, I was sold. Hook, line and sinker. Once again, we get another origin story. This version follows how the crew of the Enterprises meets and begins working together. Incorporating tweaks to the time line in the story, the writers and Abrams managed to make the story fresh and exciting. This film did the impossible. It managed to drag me out of my house to a sneak peak screening, which I had to pay full price for. On a school night even! Those things that NEVER happen. Imagine my surprise when I loved it so much I went again 2 days later. The second time I went, I took my best friend who managed to stay away from all advertisements and trailers and had no clue that Leonard Nimoy was in the film. The look of excitement and surprise that she had resembled a kid on their first trip to Disneyland. I would love love love to recapture that feeling again.
When I see a film I never think, “Ok, maybe this will be the one” or anything of the sort. These types of films are true gems and ones that manage to sneak up on you. That is normally the way it happens and the way it should be. Having those expectations can sometimes ruin a movie and who wants to do that? One last thing, I do promise to watch The Shawshank Redemption as soon as I can. I’ll let y’all know my thoughts after.
What films do you wish you could experience for the first time again. Leave us your comments and let us know.
You can find me on Twitter at @baddladd