A mental vacation

Summer films give students a chance to escape, use their imaginations outside the classroom

Films have shaped the way we perceive and experience the summer for decades.

Would we dance in the streets with our friends without having seen the classic “Grease”? Probably not.

Would we have begged our parents to send us to summer camp in hopes of finding our long-lost twin without “The Parent Trap”? No.

These classic summer movies have been a huge influence on this generation’s upbringing. We wait all year for those fleeting months. In summer films, students of all ages find the freedom associated with the end of classes, the escape and relaxation of beach vacations and the company of good friends.

Films don’t have to be about the sun and sand or the end of the school year — some of the most iconic summer films have been about giant shape-shifting robots. (I’m looking at you, “Transformers.”)

Whether it’s superheroes or a huge blockbuster comedy, kids and adults alike often look forward to going to the theater during summer vacation. When the weather gets too hot, we retreat to the darkness and cool temperatures of our local movie theater. It might seem strange, but there’s a kind of magic found in films that unites us during the summer.

As a child, I always looked forward to the summer movies. I religiously followed the “X-Men” franchise and I was in a constant state of anticipation for the “Spiderman” and “Batman” film series as well. I know I wasn’t the only child who felt catapulted into another universe with the screening of the latest superhero film. That’s probably the most enticing thing about summer movies: they allow us to enter another world, with summer break giving us more than enough time to find ourselves again before school starts. Summer films, whether they are horror, action-adventure or comedy, give us a chance to invest our imaginations in superficial realities.

It is important to realize many summer films have taught us valuable family lessons or raised questions that we may never have considered in a classroom setting. Who doesn’t love a film that makes one think?

The film industry has done an excellent job using innovative technology to create stories and characters that both captivate and activate our deepest musings, and I look forward to seeing which films will be a hit this year. Beyond the clashes and bangs and all the fanfare of summer films, only a few will leave a lasting impression. Where will your imagination take you this summer?

Published April 28, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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