We all have a special word that reminds us of our childhood. Some kind of positive trigger that brings us back to days of coloring books, playing pretend, and television shows. Okay, maybe some of us never quite grew out of those habits – guilty – but, as we start to reach adulthood, it only takes one word to strike that nostalgic chord.
My word? Morph.
I’m never shy about my obsession with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. I proudly rock all five original Ranger t-shirts consistently and even have a collection of old action figures on display in my apartment.
But, there’s another reason the word resonates with me so much.
Ask any writer, and they’ll ramble off a list of books that inspired them to start writing, stories that stuck with them through the decades, or series they read over and over and over again. Animorphs is that series for me.
As I kid, I was instantly drawn to the epicness of it all. Five teenagers and *spoilers* an alien struggling to take out a massive alien invasion of body-snatching, mind-controlling slugs that slither into your brain. All by themselves.
Their weapon? The ability to shapeshift into any animal that they could touch and ‘acquire.’ Simply by touching an animal, they can absorb the DNA and then become that animal.
This jet-blasted my imagination through the entire stratosphere – or honed it in, you know how children are – and I began incorporating shapeshifting, Andalites, and blonde girls named Rachel into the stories I would write. Each new book would keep me captivated for hours, and I remember even having to have my grandma call my teacher to confirm that I did in fact read over three hundred pages in one evening.
I obsessed over the series. The Scholastic website was one of my ‘Favorite Places’ on the web, so I could play the cheesy flash games. I owned the PlayStation game, even though I hated the lame gameplay. I’m pretty sure I literally cried when I found out the television series had been cancelled after season two.
What I didn’t realize was that these books and this series had introduced young me to so much about literary techniques, character depth, and story development.
And I didn’t figure this out until I reread the book series as an adult.
And let me tell you, I may be a bit biased because of my nostalgia factor, but these books still hold their ground today. Sure, the technology they mention is crazy outdated (there’s a book all about internet chat rooms…) but the characters and emotions all still carry the same intensity as they did when I read them as a kid. If not more.
Honestly, as I reread the books, I caught little things that I hadn’t before. I felt more of the emotions and hardship that these kids had to deal with. Cassie’s struggle to be involved in a war without ever killing anything. Marco’s incredibly emotional and insane issues with his mother. Ax’s feelings of complete isolation and loneliness. Rachel and Tobias… All of these were things I ‘understood’ as a child, but never to the levels that I did as an adult.
It is because of this fact that I am extremely hopeful and fearful of Universal’s development of a reboot film announced this Wednesday, September 9th.
The series has so much potential for all ages. Relatable, teenage protagonists – who are a fairly diverse cast, might I add! – facing real teenage problems… on top of battling an intergalactic war. Action, romance, tragedy, crazy special effects, sci-fi space battles and alien creatures, suspense to last many a moon… There’s no doubt this could be a huge movie franchise like The Hunger Games or Maze Runner if done correctly.
With that said, I’m hoping that “Morph” continues to stay a positive trigger word for me with the reboots of both of my favorite childhood series coming soon to theaters near you.