With the big school holiday hoving into view, Blackpool’s hidden gem The Regent cinema has a family film programme cued up and ready to go. With tickets reduced to £5 per person, now’s the time to introduce your family to the wonderful world of real cinema, supported by traditional treats from the fully licensed snack bar. Spooling out over August, these are true family movies that will entertain all ages and if some are nostalgic, well what’s wrong with a bit of that?
First up (3 August) is that timeless classic Mary Poppins, featuring then state of the art mixed live action and animation. This film’s songs stand as classics and have of course been parodied many times. It also features what is perhaps the worst cockney accent of all time from Dick Van Dyke. Thrill as magical nanny Julie Andrews, brightens up everyone’s lives, while nearly ruining them in the process.
The cast, the special effects, the really quite scary bits, the thumping theme song: yes, it has to be the original Ghostbusters (at the risk of courting controversy, I also think the re make is excellent). Showing on 10 August, this is a must if you haven’t seen it before or haven’t seen it on the big screen in a while. Discovering that ghosts do after all exist, a team of scientists led by a suitably world weary Bill Murray, uses its skills to form an elite anti-ghost commando unit that must eventually break all the rules to save mankind from an undead over run. May be a bit much for smaller children, but then what the hell!
Many people’s favourite now unfortunately deceased rock star, here finds himself wearing a dodgy wig, donning very tight tights and being out acted by some puppets, in the role of the goblin king that lives in everbody’s barely submerged subconscious, apparently. Labyrinth (17 August) follows a young woman who has carelessly wished her baby brother into the hands of the goblin king and his horde of obviously harmless Jim Henson muppets, in her attempts to get him back. This is a good intro the fantasy film genre as the actual jeopardy here is very low, the main lesson being ‘careful what you wish for’. As for the baby’s reaction, if my close relative wished me into the hands of some goblins, I’d probably want to stay with them too.
I understand that this now classic film with its many spin offs, including a musical, and parodies (parallels in the Madagascar series) was nearly canned. Incredible to think! An essential part of any family film programme, The Lion King (24 August) is a story of treachery, justice and bravery. Don’t ask if the lion eats the warthog at the end. After an evil uncle assassinates the original alpha lion, the latter’s son works to recover the throne, with a little help from some unlikely friends. Heartwarming stuff indeed! I haven’t seen this one myself and so definitely intend to be there.
And finally to ET (31 August, competing with the Illuminations Switch On but never mind), the ultimate feelgood sci-fi movie. Let’s hope that real aliens are really as nice as this, if they ever arrive, rather than say in Independence Day where the aliens just incinerate anybody they can hit. A stranded alien is befriended by some children, including Drew Barrymore, and must work out how to get home. One has to admire Steven Spielberg for being able to direct a classic family movie such as this, as well as horror belters such as Jaws and Polergeist with Tobe Hooper (also Texas Chain Saw Massacre). All credit.
So Friday night is movie night, as those of a certain age will know, and for August the family film programme is are suitable for everyone. I look forward to seeing you all at The Regent.
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