My Take by Jim Carl - February 8, 2012
Megaforce was a cruel, sick punishment on 13 year-old boys who read comics or watched cartoons in 1982. If you were a teenager in those days, there was no way of escaping the juggernaut marketing campaign surrounding this film. It promised cool cars and guns, explosions, a hot babe, and a hero who wore a then-trendy pink headband. What more could you want? Join us, the ads cooed. And so we did, those of us who believed in the promises we heard on television. Or read on the back covers of The Amazing Spider Man. Without having seen a single frame of footage, I knew I had to own all of the action figures and die-cast vehicles. (My mother refused to comply and, because of this, I realized she was evil and would never understand my needs.) In earnest, I sent a $5 money order in the mail so that I could join the official Megaforce Fan Club. In exchange, they sent me a five-cent iron-on decal and a cheap business card that I carried in my wallet, and which identified me as a God-lovin' member of Megaforce. Remember that scene in A Christmas Story with Ralphie and the Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring? It was like that, except that I was 13 years old, and Orphan Annie was sporting a gnarly pink headband.
Do you recall what I earlier wrote about marketing that raises false expectations? Welcome to Megaforce. What naive fools we were. I remember us leaving the theatre, all of my middle school friends, feeling dumbstruck. It was a new sensation for us. We'd been suckered, badly, and it hurt. Megaforce was the first time I understood how exploitation worked. Very effective, it was. If adults in the 1970's had Watergate to blame for their loss of innocence, 13 year-old in 1982 had Megaforce. Nowadays, I know that I cannot watch movies about transformer robots, garbage pail kids, or turtles who mutate into ninjas because of the cold, hard lesson I learned in 1982. They're out to get you. They will take your lunch money. Resistance is puerile.
Do you have a movie that raised false expectations? A movie that made you mistrust all future ad campaigns? Tell me about it.