Transforming my childhood

I was ten years old when Transformers: The Movie came out.  Today marks the 30th Anniversary of its theatrical release.

I love sharing nostalgic moments from my youth.  This film is one of my favorites.  There are lots of people who were devastated watching this film.  I wasn’t one of them.  Killing off beloved characters changed the way I looked at life.  Sure, my heroes fell, but new ones arose.  Reading back about why the movie killed characters and how Hasbro was wanting a new toy line introduced makes sense from a marketing standpoint.  Heck I bought into it and that Christmas, my gosh did I receive a bunch of new toys.

The summer of 1986 and the release of Transformers on the big screen mattered to a child of my age.  I was jealous of my friend who saw the film opening night at our local multiplex.  I was forced to listen to plot points, spoilers and new Transformers.  A female Transformer?  A Weird Al song in a film?  Death and destruction by a planet?  Megatron revamped into Galvatron?  My brain was exploding with anguish and frustration.  I begged my parents to take me to the film.  My mother took me to a matinee later that weekend.  Most likely to shut me up and get it over with.

Photo courtesy Cinematour. The theater has since been torn down.

Willowbrook 6 Cinemas.  Anyone who grew up in Langley during the 80’s & 90’s remember this place.  Lineups ran around the outside of the building under the red canopies.  Parking was limited so people often parked across at the mall.  The term “Blockbuster” made sense back then.  

Inside Willowbrook 6 were six small theaters that held a couple hundred people in each.  There was one long concession stand and a couple arcade games & pinball machines along the walls near the washrooms.  The theater seats sucked by today’s standards but were cushioned and squeaky.  The floor was a sloped, painted cement which allowed for spilled sodas to find their way from the back of the auditorium to the front.  At the end of the shows, under your shoes were a goopy messy- sticking to popcorn and candy as you left to return home.

I spent many more years attending movies here.  As I grew up, I went with friends or on dates without having parents tag along.  I also learned the art of sneaking into “R” rated films or seeing multiple shows in one day.  Most of my DVD collection is of movies I saw from my youth.  Jurassic Park, Batman, Nightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story, the list goes on.  But Transformers, that film meant something to me that most of my friends also experienced.  We all lost someone dear to us.

But I saw death as what it truly was: the ending as well as the beginning of a journey.  People die (or in this case robots) and the rest of the world goes on fighting.  Losing Optimus sucked.  But there wasn’t anything terrible about it.  The film moved on & so did I.  I still love the movie and will be watching it later today.  The big named voice actors, the killer soundtrack, the action- it is 1980’s animated movie magic at its finest.  

Excuse me while I try and find my old toys and make them watch it with me- similar to how my children bring their toys to watch films as well.  As if there is a life inside these inanimate objects just wanting to burst forth.  All the feels…

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