Cloak & Dagger, or, When Childhood was Awesome

Cloak & DaggerTRC ‘graduated’ from Kindergarten a couple of days ago. A few days before that happened, he respectfully suggested that we really ought to throw a party on the day he finished school for the year. Never one to turn down a chance for a party, I agreed to it–even though Denisa was going to be working that night. At first, TRC had lots of other suggestions for said party, including another treasure hunt (this time with an actual map, and real treasure). I managed to talk him down to just a movie.

So I bought him a Star Wars balloon on my way home from work (as well as some confetti, ’cause the boy’s a sucker for confetti for some strange reason), and made him his favorite dinner (mac and cheese). While he and DC were polishing off their food, I whipped up a batch of Circus Popcorn (aka popcorn encased in sugar), and selected the movie for the evening: Cloak & Dagger. I was going out on a limb with this choice, it being one of those infamous “loved it when I was a kid” movies, which as we all know often turn out to be less than stellar when you rewatch them as an adult. Still, I told TRC it was about video games and spies, and he was all for it.

It went over very well. I’m pleased to say that even after all these years, I still really enjoyed it (and discovered I didn’t really understand it when I was a kid, another frequent occurrence when rewatching movies from childhood). For those of you unfamiliar with the film, it stars the kid from ET. He’s got an active imagination complete with an imaginary friend who happens to be a super spy (played by Dabney Coleman). The kid ends up in the possession of a video game cartridge that has top secret government information hidden inside, and since no adults believe his story, he ends up having to save the day himself. TRC thought it was boring for the first fifteen minutes or so (going so far as to say, “Why did you like this movie when you were my age, Dad?”), but then it picked up, and he was riveted. I give it a strong three stars.

Some observations on the movie: Early on, there’s a scene where Davey (the kid) takes out his toy pistol and pretends to be invading a business building. In the 1980s, this no doubt came across as very whimsical and fun. In today’s world, it came across as threatening and “when are the police going to shoot him.” It didn’t help that the toy gun really looked like a gun–no neon colors or anything, just black plastic in a realistic gun shape. There’s also huge swathes of the movie where this kid is traipsing around downtown San Antonio, unaccompanied, and no one thinks twice about it. He’s twelve, and he’s often accompanied by a younger girl. I don’t know–these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if the police didn’t pick him up and go figure out what the heck his parents were thinking, letting him scamper off on his own. I at least would feel uncomfortable having TRC running around any major city alone, DC in tow. Am I off base here? Would the rest of you be fine with that?

In any case, I highly recommend the movie, primarily because it shows kids dealing with problems that aren’t dumbed down. Davey and his friends are in real trouble, and their lives are very much in danger. You don’t see that happening in films and books too much these days–not for 12 year olds, at least–and certainly not realistically depicted. Harry Potter can be in trouble, but that’s okay, since he’s got wizarding powers to get him out of it. See what I mean?

Any of you out there remember this movie? Seen it recently? Do share your thoughts!

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