From zany detectives and talking toys to pessimistic ants and man-eating dinosaurs, the 90’s were packed with colourful characters and thrilling creations that really resonated with kids.
For this week’s Thursday Throwback, we take a nostalgic look back at the staple films of a 90’s childhood…
“What year is it?” It’s 1995 and Jumanji just dropped. The wacky adventure film starred Robin Williams as Alan Parish, a man trapped inside the dangerous jungles of a magical board game. Fast-forward 26 years and a young Kirsten Dunst begins to play the game once more, summoning Alan and a whole menagerie of wildlife back to the real world.
Robin Williams cropped up again here to add another ’90s classic to his résumé. The award-winning actor played absent-minded professor Philip Brainard. While trying to develop a new energy source, Brainard inadvertently creates an ultra-bouncy, semi-sentient lump of goo, christened Flubber, who soon gathers the attention of those who wish to utilize his energy source for darker means.
Home Alone (1990)
After his family leave for Christmas without him, eight-year-old Kevin must defend his home when it becomes the target for a pair of opportunistic burglars. This festive classic provided the breakout for ’90s child-star Macaulay Culkin.
Small Soldiers (1998)
Something of a Toy Story on steroids, Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers depicted the war between two rival toy factions: the peace-loving Gorgonite aliens and their evil counterparts, the Commando Elite. Both sets of toys have been fitted with new missile technology computer-chips, providing them with enhanced intelligence in the war for the American suburbs.
Beauty & The Beast (1991)
When a hideous Beast imprisons Belle’s father within his enchanted castle, the creature offers to free the man should Belle take his place. She regretfully accepts and so begins one of the most sweeping classic tales of all time as young Belle grows to realize the Beast is not as hideous as he may seem. The first animated film ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award – and deservedly so.
Going head-to-head with Pixar’s A Bugs Life, the more teen-centric Antz told the story of disillusioned Z, a worker ant who uncovers a conspiracy for a military coup d’etat within the nest and a plan to drown the weaker ants in the ground water under the colony. Antz was the first animated film from the then-new DreamWorks, who of course went on to bring us Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
The epic animated retelling of Moses and the Exodus story, Prince of Egypt sported an all-star cast including Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Patrick Stewart and Michelle Pfieffer. When exiled prince Moses is told by God to lead the Hebrew slaves to freedom, the Egyptian pharaoh Rhameses refuses to let them go, bringing down the Plagues of Egypt upon his nation.
The Lion King (1994)
After the successes of Beauty & The Beast and Aladdin, The Lion King marked the triumphant curtain call of Disney’s golden animation era. Transferring the classic Shakespearean tale of Hamlet to the savannas of Africa, young lion Simba flees his kingdom after the murder of his father at the hands (paws?) of evil uncle Scar. We all cried.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
Also providing emotional breakdowns to every 90’s child was this tear-jerking drama. After being left at an animal shelter for the holidays, Chance; Shadow and Sassy the cat decide to break free of their prison and track down their owners across the American wilderness, encountering dangers from raging rapids to angry bears along their epic journey.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Crazy Jim Carrey, one of the enduring bastions of 90’s childhood, rose to prominence in 1994 with his roles as roughly the same manic character in Dumb & Dumber, The Mask and this: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Oddball animal detective Ace uncovers an ever-expanding conspiracy while investigating the mysterious disappearance of Snowflake, the cetacean mascot of the Miami Dolphins. Madness ensues.
Jurassic Park (1992)
There wasn’t anything cooler than dinosaurs back in the day, and Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster brought them to life on the big screen in epic fashion – using groundbreaking CGI. Tour guests and park staff are left battling for survival when a power failure allows the park’s dinosaurs to break free of their cages and roam freely around the resort. The real star of Jurassic Park, the female T. Rex, will be making her long awaited return to the limelight in this summer’s Jurassic World.
The endearing tale of a little pig raised by dogs caused children everywhere to look at their plate of bacon in disgust. When Farmer Hoggett wins young Babe at a local fair he decides to train the little runt to become a sheepherder, and enter him into the regional championships. That’ll do pig. That’ll do.
Space Jam (1996)
When evil theme park owner Swackhammer captures the Looney Tunes gang for an attraction in his park, Bugs Bunny tricks his captor into playing a game for their freedom; a basketball match. Facing off against far superior opponents, the Looney troop rope in legendary basketball player Michael Jordan to assist them in the must-win match. What follows is energetic brilliance.
Toy Story (1995)
Woody is Andy’s favourite toy, but when suped-up space ranger Buzz Lightyear arrives for Andy’s birthday, Woody’s jealousy leads him to try and be rid of the spaceman once and for all. The very first feature film from the now giant Pixar animation studio, it’s a heartwarming classic that had entire families captivated.
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