The older generation asks this generation many good questions, like: “Why are you teenagers so lazy?” and “Why is this generation of music so self-centered?”. One of the most important questions is: “Have you seen the original?”.
This is in reference to movies, of course. Over the past decade or so there have been a fair amount of remakes and adaptations of films. Their main source of material? Movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Hollywood seems to have run out of original ideas, and this isn’t indicated by the remakes. There are also sequels and spin-offs of old series, as well as the lack of any original story plots which all seem intensely formulaic. However, the movies that get the most flack are remakes because they’re taking an original idea and revamping it for an audience that they have never seen it, when in reality, it’s the people who grew up with those movies that are watching them.
Adults who grew up in the ‘80s, or at least had a taste of what it feels like to have lived in an era where neon polygons were an accepted thing to wear on one’s body, know how unique of a time it was for movies. Saturday morning cartoons were being made into movies, movies were being made into Saturday morning cartoons, like the 1987 movie Robocop being made into an animated series for children a year after the movie’s initial release. Many cartoons even had a driving force of toy branding at the wheel with totally tubular commercial jingles. One of the titles that has been in the recent onslaught of remakes is none other than the great 1984 classic, Ghostbusters.
When the groovy ‘80s synth plays and the the iconic line “Who ya gonna call?” rings out, audiences know they’re in for a good time. That is, unless they saw the recent 2016 version of Ghostbusters. Boasting an all female main cast, the newest edition to the Ghostbusters franchise didn’t quite sit well with fans of the original. Why improve on something that’s already critically acclaimed to begin with?
Same goes for the 2014 version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie directed by Michael Bay; it just doesn’t have the same early ‘90s bad graphics vibe to it that everyone seems to accept and love. The cartoonish radioactive turtles who were trained in martial arts got a semi-realistic upgrade that makes me feel uncomfortable when the female lead comes into play. Actually, their new look makes me uncomfortable in general. Moral of the story, leave the ‘80s and ‘90s alone; let them be.
As the new wave Disney live action remakes go, they’re either hit or miss. Movies like Maleficent captivated audiences with the different perspective on the Sleeping Beauty story, but then there was the Cinderella live action remake, which fell flat in many ways. As much as I love the original animated classic, I don’t think it needed a fresh coat of 2015 CGI animation. With the new Beauty and the Beast live action movie coming out soon, I’m hoping it’s at least decent enough to make me not want to watch the original on repeat to cleanse my palette.
Whether we like it or not, Hollywood is going to push out as many remakes as they can make money off of. The nostalgia business is booming in the recent decade, so new ideas aren’t a priority. I hope that in the future, movies will progress not with just fancy technology, but with new ideas and narratives that give life to an industry filled with magic.
With the nostalgia business going strong, things from the ‘80s and ‘90s are coming back into the mainstream full force. Nintendo pushed out a lot of their old properties to bring in their audience, new and old, with the 2016 release of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) Classic chock full of classic 8-bit games that everyone can enjoy. ‘90s sodas like Surge and Crystal Pepsi made a comeback in the past two years. The entertainment business is trying to get their slice of the nostalgia pie now that the last three decades have made such a comeback