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Enjoying entertainment relative to its time...


#1

I used to call threads like this “Classic vs. dated” but that is somewhat limiting in scope so I will give it another spin…

The other day, a work colleague in his late 20’s asked me if I was going to check out Jurassic World. I said no because I saw Jurassic Park 20 years ago and so on. He went on to say that the effects are better so therefore it is a better movie. I said I wasn’t interested in going and stuff, and somehow we got to talking about the Star Wars movies and he said something that the prequel movies were better than episodes 4-6. I was floored. He went on to say that 4-6 were boring because they are old and dated with bad effects etc. I didn’t want to argue loudly over it because we were in the office but two other guys about my age overheard us and said No way. The young guy didn’t like Christopher Reeve as Superman because it was an old movie and said Man of Steel was better etc. I just told him that the older movies are great relative to their time and eventually he understood.

Back in the day, we only had Star Wars (and Superman later on) and when they came out there was nothing like it. Now, to a younger generation who did not have that experience, those movies come across as second rate, especially in this era of reboots, remakes, etc. It is a shame that some don’t appreciate what came before. I mean, Star Wars practically started the whole summer blockbuster movie thing.

I don’t want to start a Star Wars or Superman debate here or a classic vs. dated thing either. I am aiming more at a “generation gap” thing.

This could be applied to all entertainment, TV, comics, music, etc…

Thoughts? Opinions?


#2

I’d love you to start a Superman debate though. :wink:


#3

To be honest Al, your colleague sounds like an idiot.

I’ve seen both versions of this tendency:

  • Any old movie (before date X) is rubbish
  • Any new movie (after date X) is rubbish

It’s utter crap in either form. Every generation has its fools, but also has more discerning members who are indeed capable of a deeper appreciation for stories past and present.


#4

My biggest gripe is when they specifically slam the effects in say, Star Wars or even more recent stuff like Raimi Spider-man. At the time the effects were pretty much the pinnacle. It’s stupid.
Feel free to criticise bad effects that were considered bad at the time of release though, like those dodgy moments in The Amazing Spider-man or other stuff.


#5

See Aliens is a great film, but when a load of guys decked out as Colonial Marines for the launch of an Alien game ended up in a coffee shop… Damn, the tech looked crap! For 1986 it was sci-fi, for just under 30 years later it was no longer that!

When I get around to re-watching DS9 or B5, the amount of tech development in the last 15 years is really going to influence how I see them as we have some of that technology now in the form of mobiles and tablets - arguably in more advanced form that the stories had!


#6

Yeah, I have a friend who always feels the need to comment on how silly the computers look in Alien and other tech things but for me it’s part of the charm, like the hoverboards in Back to the Future 2.

Edit: I dare you to find me one person who thinks the first Back to the Future is dated and not worth their time.


#7

If you’re talking about effects-heavy movies, then OF COURSE a modern movie (with decent budget) is going to have better effects, in absolute terms. Technology moves on and what visuals you can put on the screen is going to move on because of that.

But is a modern movie going to have a better story? Better acting? Better dialogue? Better ideas? These are things that aren’t influenced by technology, so there’s no way you can answer “yes” to that. A modern movie might be better in those respects, or it might not. You can only decide that on a case-by-case basis, and anyone who assumes a modern movie is automatically going to have better script, acting and directing just because it’s modern is frankly and obviously an idiot.

So, is a modern movie automatically better than an old movie? Only if you think the only thing that matters in a movie is the visual effects. (And I am sure there are people who think that.)


#8

I can understand some audiences (particularly young audiences) being turned off by surface details that seem old-fashioned, or effects work that seems primitive compared to today. As a teenager I probably would have been unlikely to watch much stuff that was made in the '50s or '60s, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect today’s young audiences to be particularly interested in stuff from the '80s or '90s.

But I think that as you get older, you realise that those surface details are less important than other aspects of a movie, and you become more receptive to stuff that’s done differently, even if it wouldn’t meet modern expectations.


#9

You leave it alone. Some of the equipment is in sickbay is transformer shockwave. The Drop ship is two apache model kits combined. The smart guns are Tommy guns on camera mounts and bike parts.
IT’S FUTURE RETRO. Not crap.

On the topic at hand folks are always going to rag on stuff outside their generation. Ask folks which King Kong is best and most under 20 will say Jacksonsomething visual fest.
Older folks will side with Jeff Bridges.
And we’ll all agree '33 was worth a watch but looks silly.

I’m lucky to be a generation who’s seen effects grown from clamation, to life size models all the way to CGI wonders. And I’ve been entertained and frightened by all 3.


#10

Either you’re playing around or you’ve missed the point.


#11

I think you got those two reversed.


#12

Yeah the 70s King Kong is the only one I gave up on. The original was good. The Jackson one too.


#13

‘Aliens’ was done on the cheap, for half the original budget estimate, through connections that Cameron had made working on B-Movies for Roger Corman.

Some of it, inevitably, looks like it.

But it’s a great bit of storytelling. I posted an article recently of a parent showing their 11 year old son and his friends the film and it really worked for them, despite them growing up in a world pop of culture that had been recycling/homaging/ripping off ‘Aliens’ for decades.


#14

[Quote]‘Aliens’ was done on the cheap, for half the original budget estimate, through connections that Cameron had made working on B-Movies for Roger Corman.

Some of it, inevitably, looks like it.[/quote]
I never knew that. I’m sure I’d see it if I looked for it, but it’s always looked great to me, presumably because I’m always just so swept up in the story as you say.


#15

Don’t do it mate. You have so much to live for :wink:

Seriously, look at all of the war and injustice in this world and nothing gets tempers flaring on these boards like a Man of Steel debate.

Totally agree with you on that one.


#16

I remember some young MWer here posting that he saw Superman 1 and 2 with Chris Reeve on DVD and gave them both a C. It is clearly a generational thing that he posted that.

Oh, and as for ANYONE who says that the Robocop remake was better than the original… just stop please.

Thing is some forms of entertainment don’t stand the test of time when presented to a later generation.

The early 70’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow run that touched heavily on social issues at the time seem so dated now but then it was great ground breaking stuff.

As for music… anyone care to comment on it?


#17

I watched Aliens again last week. What really struck me was how everyone sits around having a cigarette at breakfast after coming out of life support. That really dated it - watching people smoke on a spaceship. :slight_smile:

As well as effects, I think that the writing has evolved in movies too during my lifetime. For example, we now have mainstream movies that deal with “is this real or not” stories, starting with the Matrix, but also Existenz, Truman Show, The Nines, Source Code and so on. This wouldn’t have happened when i was a kid - this type of subject matter was regarded as too much for the mainstream, and was just the preserve of science fiction books for geeks.

I think music has got better, more layered and complex, like a conversation between artists that’s been refining itself over time as more techniques/styles/tricks are added to the mix.


#18

I will always defend the Beatles as the greatest band of the rock-n-roll era. There may be better musicians today, and certainly sound quality, production values, and technology has improved since the state-of-the-art in the 1960s, but the Fab Four and their producer George Martin were ground-breakers in so many ways, from writing their own songs and playing their own instruments, to putting as much emphasis on albums as on singles, to experimenting with new techniques in the studio. They did things no one in the rock genre had done before, and did it well.

In the same vein, Lucas’ first STAR WARS film was groundbreaking because he did things that hadn’t been done previously in the science fiction/fantasy genre, and did it well. From the “lived in” look of the vehicles, weapons and droids, to the variety of alien species, to the multi-layered space battles, Lucas created a universe unlike anything we had seen before. Yeah, CGI and film technique have improved by leaps and bounds since the mid-70s, but nothing that comes after can take away from the uniqueness of that film and the new playing field it established.

Does anyone dispute that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are two of the most important innovators in comics, even though the books they created are primitive compared to the improvements in coloring, printing, etc., today?

I love today’s rock music, just as I love today’s movies, and comics. but I can’t do it without acknowledging the importance and greatness of the Sgt Pepper album, the WOW factor of the Fantastic Four series of the 60s, and the brilliance of A NEW HOPE, at the times they were created.


#19

One vital lack of required information to today’s youth (0-15 years old, as of now) is a more nuanced timeline. I think it’s up to parents and caregivers to educate the young about why a grainy black-and-white movie is just as good as last week’s blockbuster. One might start by noting the child is still fascinated by bright sparkly colors and whether they “like” it or not has no effect on its value.

Media Education really should be a required course for parents and grandparents and children. Each group has its own lessons to learn!

We’re becoming a more adult society. Acknowledging history is crucial. Learning to enjoy movies and books and music in their own context as well as the current context is a great way of enriching the experience! Look how deeply we comics fans can enjoy a well-made cape movie or TV show! We know decades of history and alternate tellings and have opinions about which are “canon” or not! What we “like” and “dislike” is based on a mountain of reading, viewing and thinking experience.

Each of the above groups reacts to media with a crude knee-jerk response, “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. How have we allowed this? Some form of nutty self-appreciation? Trophies for everybody? Artificially inflated self-esteem? Whatever, the reality needs to strike that unless you have something better to cite than a Babinski reflex, shut up. We don’t care. Just pay your money at the box office, buy the album, buy the comic then shut up. I have no fear of saying this here, 'cause these sorts do not read! Especially long wordy posts. They do not realize they denigrate themselves and sound really stupid. I’m sure that is not their intent! But getting to a certain age - say, 13 - one is expected to be able to express thoughts and feelings with some measure of eloquence. If it is not there, what exists is a Problem. School and/or parents have free-ranged a child without proper training as to thought and language. Here’s a kid (or adult, or likely a grandparent with obsolete information) needing some education.

It is tremendous fun to educate kids this way! My “Li’l sis” - my best friend’s sister born when we were 14, shows superb knowledge of music due in large part to Mom and Tim and my influences on her when she was a baby, and now she’s a pro singer with her own band. I know good and well where she got her country roots and love of John Fogerty! Yours truly! Classic rock, me and Tim and Neil and everybody else who got their hands on the radio or stereo. Broadway music? It’s not my fault! Syrupy romantic tunes? Hey, she’s a woman, through and through. Deep blues with a bayou groove? Dear ol’ Uncle Miqque again. Maybe she was a wee kid who slept with the radio on and Maybe it was during the summer I had a late night blues show on the 15-watt college AM station and Maybe she heard some of it and Maybe it later influenced listening selections, I don’t know. When one is a parent, one can pick out influences and traits pretty well in an offspring. The occasional visiting friend is probably not much of an influence, but decades later we rediscovered how much of our mutual musical tastes and such were decidedly in synch.

And, yeah, that is a trend of mine. My pastor has noted that I much prefer to “plant seeds” rather than “preach”. Okay, on occasion because circumstances demanded it I’ve preached from the pulpit with Official Approval. Would NOT like to do so on a regular basis! I guess this has always been a tendency of mine. After I got degrees and such was when I started being accused of “playing games” because it was the same deal, sharing my influences and things I enjoyed and valued, but sounded awkward and manipulative because I was learning psychology on a much deeper level, and there were definite plateaus between Knowing What I Was Doing and Not Having A Clue About What I Was Doing. That type of self-doubt needs to be common in wannabe clinicians, so it can be examined and dealt with.

It does go that deep. Media and entertainment has become a dominant feature of “the first-world lifestyle”. We use it as babysitters, so that repetitive stuff just drills its way into those happy little heads without any guidance at all. Except, maybe, a parent going ballistic if there is a word like “shit” uttered, which will forever ruin little baby-boo.

Since media has become that important, it has become equally important that parents and any caregivers or teachers provide realistic guidance to this big part of children’s lives.

And, as always, it seems, I’ve run on forever. Dang.


#20

I find that even the most personal films seem reluctant to take a radical point of view that was common in 80s and 90s films. Take LOST BOYS by Schumacher. It exists in a timeless world that has no real connection to real teenagers or any actual beach town. It uses stereotypes to tell a very fable like story, in the same way that BACK TO THE FUTURE or GREMLINS did, but today that is seen as a limitation of budget and effects capability.