If you were born in the eighties (and late seventies), then Phoenix Square had love for you at Retro Active. There was 636 minutes of pure, unadulterated joy on screen or you could spend hours playing to your heart’s content on dozens of arcades and video games.
For the films there was the fun and adventure of The Goonies, the magic of Labyrinth and David Bowie’s music, and the laughs and thrills of Ghostbuters. The second half of the day saw more comic horror with The Lost Boys followed by Robocop shooting up everything in his path, and then those who could stay to the last watch Kurt Russell bite off more than he could chew in Big Trouble in Little China.
It was a day requiring more strength than Robocop’s hardware and more stamina than Chunk after an orgy of Red Bull and candy bars.
The Goonies – Goonies Never Say Die!
It was madcap adventure all the way as everyone remembered the joy of imagining discovering a treasure map and the possibility of a Treasure Island scenario when they were a kid – and The Goonies delivers that to the screen. And you and your friends wanted to be those characters: the bravado Brand; the funky Chunk; the streetwise Mouth; Data’s awesome gadgets; Stef the chilled-out girl; and Andy, the one who gets her guy; and of course, there was the determination and leadership of Mikey, and you repeat that line: “Goonies never say die!”
Smiles were beaming on faces as everyone remembered how much fun they had when they saw it the first time. One down, five more to go. Time for a light snack and to get those beers in.
Labyrinth –and what the hell is David Bowie wearing?
Jim Henson’s imagination goes full throttle in this one, but unlike the more austere The Dark Crystal or the family-friendly The Muppets, Labyrinth had that forbidding quality like you parents wouldn’t approve of you watching it. And it was almost a sing-a-long when Bowie started singing Magic Dance reminding us of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power … Yeah that one.
It might have been because there was something slightly sinister and creepy about the film, possibly because the muppets seemed so real, those red creatures with the heads coming off (to be honest, I nearly fell asleep at that point). Watching it now, the fear seems to be based around Bowie’s wardrobe. With those tight trousers, little is left to the imagination. And why he is wearing a cape full of feathers? Major Tom needs to get it sorted out very quickly.
The Ghostbusters – Who You Gonna Call?
Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddmore. The screen lights up and the theme tune begins. After losing pace a little with Labyrinth, everything was back on course with the awesome foursome from NY.
From the opening scene in the library to the climactic scene on top of the apartment block, everyone burst back into life for Ghostbusters. It was like a breath of fresh air and, considering it won the vote for the screening at the festival, many faces betrayed feelings of pure joy as they came out of the theatre.
Halfway through and still going strong. Time for another snack.
The Lost Boys – Thou Shalt Not Fall.
After the high of Ghostbusters it was going to be difficult to keep the pace going, but The Lost Boys did a fine job, rewarding those who were licking their fangs – sorry, lips – for more.
Another one of those forbidding films your parents might not approved of you watching round at your mates place and like Ghostbusters it’s full of great scenes, peppered with fantastic lines. Kids would have been scared by the horror but thrilled by the violence. Adults were left wondering why Corey Feldman was going through puberty at nine, and if it really is possible to suffer death by stereo?
Apparently it is.
Robocop – Dead or Alive You’re Coming With Me.
For some there were worries that there was going to be death by cinema as we went into the penultimate feature. Joel Schumacher’s contribution to the childhood of the eighties might have been a bit too adult for some, but despite its graphic violence Robocop was still watched by those too young to care.
Paul Verhoeven cranks everything up to eleven and you know that anyone who gets shot in the film (usually riddled with bullets) is going to need a priest rather than a paramedic.
Despite Peter Weller’s memorable lines it was either fatigue was taking over or the film wasn’t as great as your childhood made you remember.
For some people it was game over at the end of this one.
Big Trouble In Little China – “I’m a reasonable guy. But, I’ve just experienced some very unreasonable things.”
After nearly twelve hours of butt-numbing cinema, it was going to need something spectacular to keep the stragglers going to the end – and those who stayed were rewarded in spades. John Carpenter is bang on the money in this action comedy, and Kurt Russell doesn’t produce any bum notes either as he uncovers ancient magic in downtown San Francisco and takes on Lo Pan and his army and helps his friend get his girl while Jack Warner gets Kim Cattrall.
Is everyone having fun? Hell yes. Does everyone want to be Kurt Russell in this film? Hell yes. Does everyone love the lines? Hell yes. Does anyone have a clue of what’s going on here? Hell no.
Why are there two Lo Pans? And what the heck is that giant orange monster? Who cares?
After more than twelve hours of viewing time, the end of the final film brought huge sighs of relief and contentment to all who left with square eyes and a feeling that it really was time to get away from the screen and go to bed. Now!