One of the reasons why I think, as a culture, we are in love with movies (whether we admit it or not), is because they do feel like magic, especially at a young age. I remember watching E.T. in a movie theater on the Outer Banks when I was 7 years old. I remember the terror, and then the elation as the movie raced towards its conclusion. The magic as Elliot and E.T. flew over the road block… I felt like I was flying with them… I think about that now as I have grown older – and more cynical (or critical, if you please): It’s nice to remember that sometimes a great work of art can be more than the sum of its parts. The marriage of lights, sounds, and story come together to create a visceral experience that is, for lack of a better word, magic.
I can go back through the movie and try to pick it apart, talk about camera angles, dialogue, that sort of thing. But you know, to a certain degree, those things only matter to the critics. The end judgement of a movie is, well, did you feel like you could fly? And that’s what E.T. did for me, and so many of my generation. It was greater than the sum of its parts.
I write about this today because I came upon this YouTube video today, thanks to /Film. As I watched this little girl’s face as she experienced that magic, I found myself grinning like an idiot. I was reveling in her discovery of the magic of film in that moment. I was almost back in the theater in 1982, and I could almost feel my heart leap in my chest like it did at that moment when the bike wheels left the ground. What a great memory to have…
Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching the concern and fright in her face turn to pure joy right in front of you. I hope it reminds you of the power of art, and the magic of something that is, by it’s very existence, far more than just the sum of its parts!