Monday, 6 February 2017

How to turn Nostalgia into a good film.

So there is a lot of people currently talking about the upcoming Power Rangers film to be precise talking about its trailer and there opinion of it. Now I have watched the trailer a few times and there are bits of it that made me laugh and bits that made me smile and also things that made me cringe but I don't want to write the film off as a failure or herald it as a classic before I have seen it, I would say though that overall things look a little troubling at present.

So why is a Power Rangers film being made now? Well the simple answer is one of mathematics, people plus nostalgia equals money. This is not the first time that a studio has come up with this idea we have transformers movies and turtles movies, at one stage there was a He-Man movie, now some of them are good, some of them are bad but what is the difference between a good film based on something nostalgic and a bad film that drags its license down to depths that upset its fan-base? Well that's something I am going to try to look at here.

Now I don't plan on discussing every film that's based on an old kids show or comic book but I do want to talk about a few of them. To start with I would like to talk about Transformers. Now most people will have probably been attracted to the Michael Bay's Transformers films because they used to watch the old 80's cartoons, this is what drew me to giving them a try but I have to admit that I was very disappointed. I think that Michael Bay and the other people involved with this film had kind of misunderstood what it was people loved about the original transformers cartoon, they had decided that what we loved was explosions and giant robots fighting and sure yes there is an element of that but I think they had greatly underestimated the strength of the source material. Yes it was a story about good and evil but it was also a story with a lot of heart and depth, they were not just two unified forces who wanted to win, each and every robot was a fully fledged characters with there own thoughts and feelings they are not just cookie cutter good and bad robots. You have robots like StarScream one of the baddies but he is far from loyal to the leader he has ambitions of his own and a giant streak of cowardice and then robots like Mirage, yes he is one of the good guys but he is homesick and would rather return home than fight. The show had lots of quiet moments it wasn't just action orientated.

Now I fully admit that it must be complicated trying to make a film that the nostalgic fan-base will enjoy but doesn't exclude the casual audience from enjoying it, yes sometimes you might have to change a few things either simplify things or add more depth depending on the source material but what you need to do is stay true to the heart of the source material. Now its kind of important to say that everything in this post is based on my opinion and I admit different people will have different opinions on various films but all I can say is that I have given my own opinion 100% regardless if it is a popular and wildly held belief or if it goes against the status quo.

Tonight I watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out of the Shadow and like its prequel I enjoyed it no end and I think this is because it felt like it respected its source material, it had little nods to various versions of the turtles over the years, there van shot manhole covers just like one of the old turtle toys I had did, and at the end they did a rendition of the theme from the old cartoon series with a little bit of Go Ninja Go Ninja go from one of the earlier films spliced in to it. It gave you these bits and pieces but it also managed to tell a full and interesting story based around the characters.
Maybe the new Power Rangers film needs to be a little cheesy and goofy because the original show sure as heck was, lets face it the original was not exactly earth shattering high art it was a fun show for kids which was largely made up of scenes of American actors spliced into a Japanese show to re-purpose old footage for a new market, and when you look at how long it has lasted they did a pretty good job of it. So all I can do is once again say lets just wait and see.

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