Ninja Turtles. Beauty and the Beast. The Jungle Book. Independence Day. Tarzan. Pete’s Dragon. Ben-Hur. Dredd. Total Recall. Robo Cop. Terminator. Planet of the Apes. Jurassic Park. Ghostbusters.
What is going on? Why am I listing classic beloved movies and franchises? Because all of these have been rebooted, sequeled, or copied to some degree (or will be soon). And we find it most prominently in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now, I love episode 7 to an almost worrying degree, but even I notice the similarities between it and A New Hope. I’m not blind. Terminator Genisys was guilty of the same thing, going so far as practically lift the intro from the first movie and paste it in the beginning. Now, the Ghostbusters preview shows Slimer and the Stay Puft marshmallow man.
But Why? Why all the throwbacks to the originals?
I started thinking about this when I saw the Ghostbusters trailer for the first time. You see, I have two kids and we LOVE movies. I have a catalog of awesome films I want to watch with them someday and its constantly growing. And it includes the original Ghostbusters as well. The problem is that the list is, like, crazy long. It is literally a list of all the movies I’ve grown up with and loved my entire life. Literally, a lifetime of movies. The same applies to some of my younger coworkers who have never seen a lot of my favorites. When someone tells me they haven’t seen Back to the Future, a lightning bolt strikes a clock tower somewhere.
How can I reasonably expect them to watch all of the movies I consider great?
Casablanca. Sunset Boulevard. Psycho. Gone with the Wind. Citizen Kane. Singin’ in the Rain. Vertigo. Some Like it Hot.
Do you know what those movies have in common? A couple things: they are considered must watch classics and I’ve never seen any of them. And I don’t plan to. There are several reasons I lean toward movies released during my lifetime. I’ve talked about it before, but let’s discuss nostalgia once more.
You see, our brain has this funny way of remembering the good things and letting go of the bad things. Its why we love Star Wars: A New Hope even though the acting was subpar, the special effects are dated, and the entire story is a copy/paste of the hero’s journey. Its even obvious that George Lucas had no idea where to take the franchise in the following movies. We are able to look past that because of our nostalgic love for the movie (also space samurai and magic), myself included (This is an example. Put your pitchforks down.) The same applies to the original Ninja Turtles movie, and there’s probably no bigger Ninja Turtle fan that I used to be. Watching that movie now is… painful. But nostalgia keeps a special place for it in my heart.
The point is that these older movies aren’t going to have the same impact on the current generation, similar to how Casablanca or Sunset Boulevard would have no impact on me due to a general disinterest. We don’t spend a lot of time looking at death photos from the 1800’s (most of us anyway) because the times have changed and its not a thing we relate to quite as easily as we once did. That’s how art works. Seriously, if you are going to demand the younger generation to sit down and watch the original Ghostbusters movie because they need to be more cultured, please tell me the last time you put on music from Billie Holiday (not the Fallout soundtrack, you nerd). Jokes that used to work just don’t anymore. Film theory and story telling have evolved. Things have changed, as scary as that is for a lot of people, and you have to accept it or you’ll live in this little bubble consisting of only things from your nostalgic past.
Do you understand now why we have these reboots/remakes/sequels from some of our favorite franchises? The entertainment industry understands this, and you aren’t dumber than an entertainment exec are you? Are you?!
This is why they blew up a bigger Death Star in episode 7. Its why the ID4 aliens are coming back. Its the reason we are seeing how Earth became a planet of apes. These were great stories and retelling them for a new audience makes sense in two ways: It introduces these worlds we hold so dear to the younger generation by keeping the material fresh and current -AND- it makes money! It makes so much money! Money! Money! Money! If you want to know why nothing original comes to theatres these days, its because of money! You don’t think episode 7 fired up the sales of the first 6? Of course it did! And there’s nothing wrong with that! If you’ve ever thought “I’m not going to see this because its obviously a reboot cash grab,” then you know nothing about economics, generation gaps, or how art works. And yes, it is a cash grab. They don’t make movies out of the kindness of their hearts.
Things will never be what you think they should be ever again because what you think they should be are based solely on your past experiences and nostalgia. And you know what? If that’s how you feel, no one cares what you think anyway. The future belongs to those who want to participate in it, not criticize it for being too different from the past they love so much.
So let’s talk about this whole Ghostbusters thing. There are a few different camps people fall into when it comes to their refusal to see the movie. The Angry Video Game Nerd recently came out with a video saying that he wouldn’t be seeing it or reviewing it, primarily because he thought it would never live up to the original which he holds in such high regard. This is just… ignorant. And I love the AVGN, so its hard for me to say that. But to discredit a movie because you don’t THINK it’ll be what you want is ignorant. Of course, he isn’t really known for reviewing movies, especially new ones in theatre…. So… Why did he even come out with this if not for YouTube views? Hmm…
Another camp you could fall into, and I believe AVGN mentioned this as well, is refusing to see it because the trailer wasn’t funny. I can understand this. Don’t give the studio your money if you generally aren’t interested, but once you’ve made that choice, how about just moving on with your life instead of blasting it all over social media. I can judge whether or not something is funny to me. I don’t need your help. Oh, by the way, trying to make a statement about reboots by not seeing Ghostbusters isn’t going to stop the industry from making more reboots. Did you see what I said before? Reboots make money, even if it isn’t yours this one time.
You could be one of those idiots who won’t see it because the cast is all female. You’re stupid. Or maybe you just don’t like that the cast isn’t the same as the original. Hate to break it to you, but that’s true for a lot of reboots. Get over it.
I haven’t seen many complaints beyond this. I’m not in any of these camps and I will absolutely be seeing this. I found the jokes in all the trailers to be hit and miss, but I’ll give it a fair chance in theatres. And I won’t be watching it to compare it the original. I’ll be seeing it because I LOVE movies. I love the art form. I love the experience. I even love seeing beloved characters and franchises from different perspectives, and that’s what I’ll be getting here. Hey, I even love bad movies because of how bad they are.
So if you still have reservations, that’s fine. You do you. I can promise you this though; you will find a review for the movie right here on Ability Points within a few days of it opening. So if you want a legit, unbiased review before you check it out, check back or follow me here or on Twitter @RexisGamer.