I am a sucker for nostalgia. Just this past weekend, in fact, I found a version of the old game, Lode Runner, for my phone and found it incredibly difficult to put it down. Well, it wasn’t actually the old Lode Runner game. It was a new version. Had the basic mechanics, but the puzzles weren’t quite the same. But still, it was the basic thing.
However, I kept finding myself wishing I were playing the original.
Then I found that they even had the classic levels on the mobile app, just reskinned with their new look. It still just didn’t quite feel that same, although I did smile at the memorable layouts of gold and bricks.
That is a 100% true story, but one which also does a perfect job of highlighting what I think is 100% wrong with the entertainment of today.
We keep asking for people to redo the things we used to love.
You know when you have that one amazing party. The one where you and your friends talk about it for years afterward. And then you decide to do it again, invite all the same people, make sure you have the same music, the same games, the same meal. You make certain that every single aspect of that party is the same as the first one you all have been dreaming about for years.
And it sucks.
It just doesn’t feel right.
The answer, of course, is because it isn’t right.
Now let’s look at recent entertainment. Since I’m a big fan of Superman, I’ll use the fantastic example of Superman Returns. At the time of commencement on filming for Superman Returns, Hollywood had been working on a new Superman movie for decades. It went through numerous directors, writers, actors, and all around concepts before we got Superman Returns. One of those versions even included Nicolas Cage as Superman. That one got far enough that we even have a documentary out about it.
But instead, the movie we got was Superman Returns. Brandon Routh looked almost exactly like Christopher Reeve, they even decided that it wouldn’t be a remake, or a reboot, that they would just ignore the most recent two movies and say this happened after the second Chris Reeve flick. By all means, it would appear that we were getting the Superman we all loved in our childhood back. Heck. they even had the guy who directed some amazing X-Men movies come around and take over the show. With a scene like the opening sequence in X2 with Nightcrawler, this movie should be freaking epic!
And it sucked.
Because it was like that party. Where we got together all the pieces, but ultimately, we just tried to force people to have a good time, instead of trying to do something legitimately unique and original and fun.
But that’s the problem with Hollywood today (as well as most other avenues of entertainment). Money is made by convincing people they can have the same fun they had before. And some folks are even getting good at making movies which make people think they are having the same fun (I’m looking at your Force Awakens and Civil War (yes…fun movies, but not nearly as fun as the movies they were trying to get you to remember)). What this means is we very rarely today find ourselves getting a truly new movie. Or even a truly new take on an old favorite.
I believe Batman v Superman gave us a new take, but I totally understand how people wouldn’t get behind it. I mean, the whole Martha thing is certainly a dealbreaker, but at the same time, it’s not the Batman and Superman people expect. And the motivations behind all that happened weren’t overtly played out, causing many to question why they were happening at all. BvS is a perfect example of a movie which tried to make a new party with some of the same pieces, while making people think they were going to the old party. And most of the people left thinking, “But last time we had popcorn!”.
But then we get Wonder Woman…
Now, I haven’t seen it yet. Life has just been too stupidly busy. But I trust my wife’s thoughts about flicks and she came out of it saying it is absolutely amazing. So did everyone else in the world. It has a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
And the source material was almost entirely unknown to a majority of its audience.
I mean, come on, we finally got a full fledged kick-ass female superhero movie. That’s amazing! We can ignore how it shares some incredible similarities to the basic premise behind the first Captain America movie (again, haven’t seen WW, just going of the basic concepts). And it was directed by a woman! And, from all I’ve heard, has a spectacular script with absolutely no Marthas.
I read one reviewer say something to the effect of “Wonder Woman was the best Superman movie I’ve ever seen!”.
Because it wasn’t a Superman movie.
That’s not to say that the movie wouldn’t be as beloved if it were the script for a Superman movie, I honestly couldn’t say. What I am saying is that there were very few expectations moviegoers had going in outside of wanting to see a woman kick some ass.
That’s a much easier expectation to cope with than someone who has spent their childhood watching Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, and Tom Welling take on the iconic red and blue.
I’m incredibly eager to see Wonder Woman, both because of wanting to see a female superhero finally get a good flick on the screen (because she’s not the first, it’s just that movies like Elektra and Catwoman were terrible), and also because of my absolute love of the comic book character. She stands toe to toe with the likes of Batman and Superman and has never gotten the attention she deserves in filmed entertainment. And I’m definitely happy to see her flick as the first DC movie people rally behind, even if I wish the others had seen some more love.
Or a better movie…I’m looking at you Suicide Squad…
Have fun out there!