Friday, 11 March 2011

The Persistence of Memory

When Jurassic Park came out, I'm sure it must have been some kind of a phenomenon. It certainly felt that way to my 7-year-old self. We had this thing...not sure where it was from, but it was a leaflet for ordering merchandise. My mum got me and my brother a baseball cap and a t-shirt each. The smallest size was for age 12. When mine arrived, the fact that it was like a marquee on me didn't stop me from wearing it most of that summer. When I grew into it (which didn't seem to take that long) I was sure it must have shrunk. I must have been at one of those growth spurty stages.

Anyway, before we went to see Jurassic Park in the cinema, my mum read us one of those simplified book-of-the-film things. One moment that stuck in my mind was the scene where Dennis Nedry crashes his car trying to escape off the island, and is spat at by a dilophosaurus, who goes on to kill him. When we finally saw it on the big screen, that was the one scene I couldn't watch. I hid my head in my hands until Sam Neill came back.

The stupid thing is, we got the film on video as well, and I did the same thing whenever we watched it again. Ten years later I'd still never watched the scene in its entirety. I suppose in the same way as with the t-shirt, where I didn't trust that I was getting bigger year on year, I never stopped to consider I might be brave enough to deal with a dilophosaur attack. Maybe it was habit more than anything else.

I bring it up because Jurassic Park was on TV last weekend and for the first time in years, I sat down to watch it. And still, when that scene came, I found myself not wanting to look at the screen. Worse than that, I made excuses in my head about why I was too busy to look at the screen at that point, that I didn't have anything to prove. Eventually I decided enough was enough, and I watched it. It was nothing really, of course, though it still creeped me out as I looked. Remnants of emotions from childhood. Weird things.

Incidentally, I caught a bit of the end of King Solomon's Mines last night. This was another film that delighted my brother and I when we were little, though we can only have seen it once or twice. I think it must have been about 18 years since I last saw it, and could barely even remember what it was about, but when I saw John Rhys-Davies' character (basically an evil version of his Indiana Jones character) enter a room of diamonds with a gun pointed at the other, German villain, I suddenly remembered what was going to happen. He was going to make the other guy eat the diamonds. The memory traveled from childhood like a bullet. I astounded myself.

I wonder if there are any things that have happened since childhood that I'll still remember as vividly in ten or twenty years. Somehow I doubt it.

1 comment:

LostGeekGlasgow said...

This made me think of 'I see the boy I knew in the man before me'.

And, yes, the diamond eating. Think I felt a shadow of how you felt watching it when I read about you watching it.

David is v annoyed we missed King Solomon's Mines. It used to be on telly a lot but then not for years and years.