I don’t know about you, but my favorite film from my childhood can’t be a single movie, but instead an actor. Maybe this is cheating, but to be fair I can’t think of a more perfect answer than this one. An actor who would lead in many films that constantly occupied my VHS-player. I’m talking Independence Day, I’m talking Wild Wild West, I’m talking Men In Black and I’m talking Enemy of the State. I’m talking Will Smith.
One time when I was young my parents wanted to go and visit my aunt, but I didn’t want to go because I thought it was boring there. After a while of discussion and me refusing to give-in they finally said that they were going to see a film, it starred Will Smith. This would be the first time I saw Enemy of the State.
The actor to many might be best known as the lead character in the hit 90’s sitcom Fresh Prince in Bel Air, though I wouldn’t be able to watch the show until years later. For me he would be known as a comedy action hero for many more years. He was otherwise known to me as Will Smith the rapper, dancing around mechanical spiders in a cool music video version of a film I was a big fan of. Or why not in the video starring the actor in a big winter coat dancing and rapping catchy lines in the silly yet cool music video to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”.
Set in a world were crazy things happens around him he’s able to stand as an everyday man, even reflect on the craziness that goes on around him. Finally reaching a point where he is able to take on the problem at hand, and save the day.
In the alien invasion feature Independence Day by Roland Emmerich (who later went on destroying the world in the films The Day After Tomorrow and 2012) our hero Will Smith plays Captain Steven Hiller. He’s a fighter pilot in the war against the newly revealed threat of several ill-minded and destructive alien space-ships. In battle he and a foe crashes to earth, he beats the alien unconscious and brings him to a military base for further examination. Captain Hiller shall later play a vital role in the victory against the attacking forces as he and a co-pilot fly into the aliens mother-ship and hacks its systems.
A year later the science-fiction comedy film Men In Black would be released, starting a now three film long franchise. Here Will Smith embodies the character named Jay. A NYPD cop who after chasing an undercover alien creature through the streets of New York, gets the attention of the highly secret MIB agency that oversees alien inhabitants on earth. Hired as Agent J he and his partner starts to pursue a new investigation.
Unknowingly Robert Clayton Dean, played by Will Smith, gets into a world of surveillance and espionage after an old friend puts a secret code among his Christmas shopping. Information about him that he has held secret starts to surface and the world around him crumbles. His wife leaves him, he’s let go from his job as a lawyer and his credit cards gets hacked. Luckily an expert in the field finds him and teaches him to fight back.
The western steam-punk hybrid Wild Wild West released in 1999 finds Will Smith playing the a Captain James West. In a weird parallel world were science has gone to a steam-enhanced extreme, the shoot first ask questions later character partnered up with an intelligent pansy. They have to work together, try to stop an evil genius riding along the plains in a gigantic mechanical spider and save the president.
After this four-year long Will Smith-era of comedy-action hybrids I wouldn’t see a new film featuring our hero until later in my teenage years. These were four of several other films that would introduce me to the world of cinema. Four of my favorite films during my childhood. Now let’s see if you have any films you’d like to share with us in our comment section below.