Daniel Johnson’s review published on Letterboxd:
It was really surreal to see this film in a theater (the decades old Tennessee Theatre no less). It was really cool to hear people audibly react to the gags and gross moments. It was really cool to hear that theme fill the air, to hear those punches blast around the giant room, and to see those images cross that screen while sitting beside strangers in the dark. One of my favorite things about seeing this film in a theater was that it hasn’t really changed at all since I first watched it/was traumatized by it back when I was 5 or 6 years old. It was kind of my first realization that movies could be more than an animated movie about talking animals or Star Wars or a bad comedy about talking animals. The film just grabbed me and said, “hey, movies can be so much more than you realize.” It showed me how scary and exciting and different they could be. I was shocked to learn that movies didn’t need talking animals to work.
I’ve changed a lot since I first watched it, but watching it today was just as exciting to me as it was the first time I saw it. The adventure is still as fun as I remembered. Everything feels so exciting and so important even when not much is going on. It’s so charming. And it’s still so damn scary. I don’t have anything really meaningful to say about the content of the film. It just means a lot to me personally, and I have always had a good time with it.
Without this film (and the trauma I got from seeing someone’s face melt off when I was too young to see that), I probably wouldn’t be the unhinged movie-loving loser that I am today, and I am endlessly thankful to Spielberg and this movie for that.