As a kid, I remember going to the movies and experiencing a new movie for the first time. I came from an era where Independence Day and Lion King were first being introduced to the world. When I saw these movies for the first time, it nourished my imagination to allow me to be the person I am today. As an adult, I look at these films and it seems as if it’s a rip off of what I consider to be the best era in film. Sure, I didn’t grow up with some of the original movies that came out and I wasn’t aware they existed until I was a bit old
er, but going back in cinema history and comparing it to todays cinema, the only the the future has that the past doesn’t is special effects.
Today, movies rely on slow motion and complicated special effects to bring in millions of dollars of revenue. It’s rare to see a movie succeed without these elements and it usually gets buried underneath the 8th edition of Transformers or the first movie of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”. Of course, those don’t exist, but give it time and it will if we let cinema keep going in the direction it’s going. If you look back in time, a movie like Tombstone was a semi-box office success where as Titanic garnered even more success. Men in Black was an original story that included some of the top names in the business for the time and Disney was still putting out films that included hand drawn artwork and original and powerful films. Eventually, the times changed and hand drawn films weren’t in style anymore. Boring old stories about the west and real life situations were no longer interesting. The only thing that Hollywood and big executives of major companies like Disney wanted to go another direction in cinema and introduced us to all animated films. Toy Story was the first of it’s kind and it opened the door wide open for major possibilities and new worlds. One of the most prominent films of its time, Toy Story was and still is a huge success. Little did we know, that direction would be taking us to places that would force us to say goodbye to old ways of cinema.
Of course, we all have to evolve with the times and it isn’t progress unless we do something new, but we could have kept the small things like hand drawn movies instead of getting rid of it all together. It’s almost as if they want us to forget that it even existed. Now, Disney is re-releasing Lion King and it is 100% CGI. Of course, you can’t have mufasa without James Earl Jones, but everything else is so much different that I more than likely won’t want to watch it. If I had kids and they wanted to see it, I’d show them my version of the film, the original. There’s no good reason to do a remake like this unless they want to do it for a specific reason. One obvious reason is they want to make money by invoking emotional memories associated with our childhood’s and subconsciously telling us to give this next generation a taste of what we felt as a kid. That’s great, but there’s one problem. We could easily show our kids what we already have instead of recreating it and hoping they feel what we felt. Which brings me to another problem I have with today’s cinema.
I guarantee that the only reason they’re re-introducing this film to this generation is because they need to update the message to fit this generation. Our generation has become so desensitized in some areas and over-sensitive in other areas that most of what we grew up with as kids is no longer morally correct or is scrutinized over todays’ interpretations instead of realizing that the times were different back then. I come from an era that was right smack in the middle of the technological transition. I remember what it was like to beg to go outside to play and grabbing sticks to pretend they were swords, guns, bow and arrows, and animals we wanted to pretend to ride on. I remember flying kites in stormy weather (yeah I know, that was dumb) and I remember scrapping my body when I would fall or trip while I was playing. I also remember being introduced to the internet for the first time and learning to how to play DOOM for the first time on Windows 95. I remember playing Oregon Trail on the school’s brand new Macintosh computer during computer class. I even remember my very first presentation I had to make on the computer in Elementary school about the Egyptians and their culture. Fast forward to todays world, kids don’t have the same sense of adventure. They only really know Fortnite and other things that keep them glued to the TV. Granted, I love my games too, but even I know when it’s time to get away from the screen and do something else fun.
You may be asking, “What does this have to do with cinema?” The answer is, everything. You see the reason I tell you my experience as a kid is because it ties back to what I watched as a kid. When I saw Independence Day, I imagined myself fighting aliens in my front yard with my friends and we would pretend to have our own emotional goodbye’s when one of us would get shot down by aliens (which basically meant if we tripped, we were out). I remember pretending I was a whale that wanted to be set free like in Free Willy. I remember trying to make funny jokes when I saw Ace Ventura and trying to out joke my friends on the block. Cinema in the 90’s influenced me as a kid, and today’s cinema influences your kids today.
With today’s movies, even horror movies, do you think today’s generation will be able to create amazing cinema for the next generation? We already have tons of remakes and reboots of the same story every other year, what’s going to be left for the next generation? I don’t believe that we are setting the bar high enough for our kids to do better for the future and we have ourselves to blame. Don’t get me wrong, I love what Marvel is doing and I’m going to be sad when this era of superhero movies is over, but if this is the bar we set for the future, then we are going to be in trouble. We won’t be able to tell any of the movies apart because they’re all going to follow the same style because it was once successful. I promise, you will see a major motion picture be done with iPhones because we’re going to be reduced to watch a movie because of a small little niche instead of telling an amazing story.
Those are my honest opinions. You may agree with me and you may not. What I know for sure, is that something needs to change in cinema to keep the audience coming back after the opening day. You can have a great opening weekend, but is your movie worth coming back to the theater over and over to watch in the weeks after it’s release? Remember the first Fast and the Furious? That movie was played in some theaters well after the release of the DVD because people wanted to watch it. People want an experience like no other when they pay $30+ to watch a movie and eat popcorn. Make sure you give them an experience of a lifetime, because people want to look back on their lives and say, “I remember..” with a smile and some fond memories connected to it. I know I do.