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Cloak & Dagger, the movie - rhcrayon: The Blog! — LiveJournal

Jan. 22nd, 2014

09:56 pm - Cloak & Dagger, the movie

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Damon and I rewatched Cloak & Dagger this weekend--the 80s movie starring "Elliot" from E.T.

Cloak & Dagger (1984) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087065/

That movie is amazing! It holds up, every ounce!! Damon guessed it wouldn't, and he was so wrong. This is the best thing I've seen in a long time.

The stakes were life and death. The tension was smart, with genuinely scary twists. This movie totally explored the limits and advantages of being a child in a grownup world with non-kid-friendly rules--which fits the story perfectly, since our kid hero's mother had died and he was being forced to cope with that. And the movie never talked down to you. It played out exactly as shocking and "real" as I remembered from when I was a kid.

We had watched a terrible movie the night before, which shall go unnamed, that explored a similar, nearly universal theme of having a child main character struggling with a parent. In that movie, as the child went through an incredible adventure, he tried to tell his parent but wasn't believed. In Cloak & Dagger, not-Elliot also tries to tell his dad what's happening, and also isn't believed. In the terrible movie, the resolution had Damon and me writhing in our seats. The father basically said, head-on, at the end, "If I ever not believe you again, kick me, won't you?" AARGH. THAT'S TOO DIRECT.

But in Cloak & Dagger,
ohh, Cloak & Dagger,
the father finds out without the kid even there to say "I told you so." The father finds out with life and death consequences hanging in the balance, which are the direct result of his having not believed. It's so validating and satisfying--and he doesn't have time to dwell on the fact he was wrong; he has to do everything his power to make it right, right now.

That's what we as children want! Get to it, man! Your not believing has almost killed me!

That's almost like what happened in the terrible movie . . . except that the life-and-death climax, wherein the father also tries to save the son's life, is almost completely irrelevant to the facts the father hadn't believed. There were really two stories: the father-son story mixed up with the fantasy, and then a side story with a villain. That's why they needed a last scene to talk it out.

Cloak & Dagger makes me want to write a movie just like it. Or, not a movie. A kid's book. Addressing these age-old themes of getting validation from your parents, childhood vs. adulthood, fantasy vs. reality.

They can be done well!! I didn't know how well until I saw this.

Now I want to do it.