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The Old, the New, History and Nostalgia

Banes at 12:00AM, Jan. 28, 2016

Pop culture is being visited by its own past. There's no denying the excitement surrounding the reappearance of the original Star Wars and X-Files characters after an absence of years.

We all know our mainstream entertainment is stuffed with more and more sequels, remakes, reboots, soft reboots, reimaginings, reintegrated adaptations, adapted reintegrations, and…anitquated…reconstructions.

But is that so bad?
Well, yeah. Sometimes it blows. I've been around long enough to have seen beloved, or even just cool, movies from my past made into dull, either too-silly or more often too-serious, joyless reissues.

I blame the glut of lackluster remakes for the emotionally and spiritually dead husk I've become.

enh, I didn't even see the original. And as much as I loved the book, the remake was enjoyable. This is just for purposes of illustration, y'know?

Seriously though, it could be just age, or a busy schedule, but I've changed from someone who excitedly saw many new releases to someone who skips practically everything. Granted, this is a necessity in a way; there are way too many movies being released to keep up with, and that glorious Internet to keep us VERY busy in the meantime.

But still…these crappy remakes! Oy Gevalt!

Maybe sometimes recycling has value. Some characters can transcend the age they were created in, and speak in deep, Universal ways to several different generations. Witness the massive popularity of Super Hero flicks! These are modern Myths that deserve (sometimes) to be updated and brought to new audiences!

I was surprised at how much time had gone by since the first Jurassic Park movie - I wouldn't have thought we needed a remake, but the thing was a smash hit, and personally I thought it was a blast! It was a big, fun, popcorn-blockbuster, and the nostalgia was a bonus. It was a nice feeling to revisit that world!

The more things change…

I guess all I really hope for is that the revisitations are taken seriously. And I don't mean dark, gritty, and joyless. I mean that someone is behind the wheel of these projects who cares about what they're doing, and is not just operating from “the profit potential of brand recognition” or something.

Nostalgia has been described as a negative. It can be an unhealthy place to dwell in too much in life…and it can distort our memories of the stories we loved and create unrealistic expectations.

But the great thing about it is the feeling of weight. Of history that comes with seeing a middle aged Mulder and Scully, or a past-middle age Han Solo, when they've been away from us for so long.
This is powerful stuff as far as I'm concerned. An older character with more miles behind them has a naturally more compelling presence.

In my own comic, I'm pleased to be at a point where the characters have a tiny bit of history behind them. It sets the stage for more interesting, more emotional (not necessarily SAD, but more emotional) stories.



maskdt at 6:12PM, Jan. 28, 2016

As everyone has said, remakes and sequels have always been around. All that's changing is that 90's nostalgia is becoming really profitable, as opposed to the glut of 80's nostalgia that was "in" for the last decade or so. Before that? 70's nostalgia. It's nothing new, especially since 20-30 somethings tend to have enough time and expendable money to go to the movies. How do you hook them really easily? Remind them of their childhood.

Gunwallace at 2:36PM, Jan. 28, 2016

Remakes have always been a part of Hollywood. Often new technology is given as the reason. The 1928 remake of the 1914 'Battle of the Sexes' was redone, by the same director (D. W. Griffith) to use the new medium of sound. King Kong (1933) was remade in 1976, in a lighter tone, and again in 2005, each time using state-of-the-art SFX. No doubt it will be remade again whenever some new or trendy film-making style comes along (maybe when the first intelligent apes to direct movies decide to redo it with a pro-Kong angle). I'm more amazed at the holdouts that stop remakes and sequels from happening ... the current frenzy over a possible gathering of the Friends cast in the same room being an example (will they, won't they?)

Stellar at 9:28AM, Jan. 28, 2016

Not only are there reboots and remakes in the movie world there are many things in comics, cartoons and anime that are seeing sequels and remakes! Samurai Jack is suppose to come back this year on Adult Swim; new goddamn episodes! I'm so excited! Last year the mastermind Jhonen Vasques brought Invader Zim back in monthly comics! (I'm a terrible fan and haven't picked them up yet D=) And the anime community was just blown away recently by UFO Tables budgetless recreation of the visual novel Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (replacing Studio Deen's lackluster production several years earlier). Not to mention David Production just finished the Stardust Crusaders arc in Jojo's Bizarre Adventures; revamping the beautiful OVAs APPP made in the 90s. Maybe I'm just and optimist, but I like at least seeing different takes on stories. After all, we wouldn't have awesome parodies like Spaceballs if everything were always original.

PaulEberhardt at 8:58AM, Jan. 28, 2016

I'm sometimes tempted to think that remakes are just a cheap way for producers to get something to point the camera at, a bit like most of TV these days, and there are indeed some remakes that make you want to buy a 16mm copy just to strangle said producers with it. However, on some occasions they actually manage to be better than the original. I guess it's down to whether you think the technical limitations and peculiarities of the time add to the special atmosphere; it won't even matter if it's a copy, if only it's done right. That's why it worked a treat with, say, The Fog; but if they were to try the same with Forbidden Planet they'd just end up taking away everything that makes up its charm.

KimLuster at 4:20AM, Jan. 28, 2016

Excellent stuff Banes - I really do look forward to these articles of yours!! Remakes... Yeah it's a mixed bag. Sometimes they're fantastic (1983 The Thing), sometimes... meh (Colin Ferrell's Total Recall). All I know is I'm glad to find out the New Blade Runner will be a sequel, not a remake!! No one... I mean No One! - can do the 'Tears in the Rain' soliloquy like Rutger Hauer!! Probably my favorite single set of lines in all of cinema!!

Genejoke at 3:29AM, Jan. 28, 2016

The Gene Wilder movie is by far the better of the two. I have little issue with remakes, as long as they try and do something new and fresh. Like the Robocop remake. It wasn't a great remake, but it took a different approach to the film and I enjoyed it even though I didn't love it as much as the original.

jerrie at 1:28AM, Jan. 28, 2016

I'm glad to see the return of X-Files

bravo1102 at 12:47AM, Jan. 28, 2016

See the original Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder NOW! A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.

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