Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Good and The Bad of Film Nostalgia

     The past month has been a barrage of nostalgic excitement for me. Every few days a new movie trailer came out that teased a rebirth of some of my favorite movies and comic books. I felt like a kid again talking about Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman and Batman, the X-Men, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Warcraft, and Independence Day again with fresh excitement. It’s exciting to feel the imaginative awaken inside in anticipation of going back to familiar fun.
     Then I watched this …

UNCANNY VALLEY (2015) from 3DAR on Vimeo.

     ... and I thought why don’t they make a movie out of this? Come to think of it, why don’t they make something new and original. I’m tired of sequels, prequels and reboots. Where’s the next George Lucas? Where’s the Steven Speilberg of our generation, to give us a new adventures we’ve never imagined before?
     The obvious reason is money. Hollywood isn’t willing to take financial risks anymore, with 90% of the big budget films being based on other material. Whether it’s based on a book, comic, or another movie the source material has a proven profitability. A bestselling book guarantees ticket sales. A movie remake generally attracts fans of the original. With comic books they can assume a percentage of it’s readers will pay to see the movie. An independent script may host a genius story, but it’s financially risky. There’s no data to prove it won’t lose money. And that’s sad.
     Or is it? There was a time when unless you had access to an independent theater or attended film festivals you rarely got to see independent movies. Great Scott, it’s now 2015! After decades of internet growth, independent films are now easily available to anyone willing to simply do the work of looking for them. Even more exciting is computer animation has gotten so affordable many amatuer film makers are capable to produce quality effects from the comforts of their home. It’s worth it to seek them out.
     And is cashing in on our nostalgia such a bad thing? As a fan I’ll scream NO! I mean Star Wars is back, and that’s just awesome. Sequels can provide a new depth to the characters we’ve already come to know and love. We learn more about the world they live in, and experience more of the tone and adventure we enjoy. That said, sequels can also ruin a franchise as often as they invigorate it. Here’s where you probably thought I was going to Matrix bash, but I think Terminator 3 takes the cake on franchise ruiners.
     So what’s the point? I don’t know. I’m torn between my love for my favorite franchises and my desire for original cinema. I’m own worst enemy, complaining about the lack of original films while I stand in line to see the sixth Star Wars sequel. And of the independent, home-made short films I have been watching they’re mostly fan films for these very same franchises. It’s great stuff too. So what do you think? What independent media are you enjoying? Whether it’s fan fiction or original, I could use some suggestions to branch out of my major media funk.

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