I'm as old-school as they come. So, if anyone has struggled with this, I have.
The first time I had to REALLY deal with it was when the remake of WILD, WILD WEST came out with Will Smith as the lead. It is also the first time I dealt with a race switch in one of my fandoms. I was freakin' out because a show I had watched as a kid was being twisted into something different. Or was it? True, in lots of ways, the movie departed far from the original 60's tv show. But, once I calmed down and sat down and gave it a honest look, I saw so much that was reminiscent of the 'scifi induced western' I had loved.
Now, I'm still not a big fan of the movie, but I can watch it for what it is: a retelling.
Before that, I remember them remaking THE BEVERLY HILLBILLYS and THE BRADY BUNCH into movies that were more spoofs than homages. WILD, WILD WEST was much like this in that it tended to go for the laugh more than the amazing tech and high flying adventure (although it had plenty of that too). All in all it was caught in the 'let's poke fun' genre of remakes.
But what about when they honestly try to make a serious remake? Does it fare any better? Usually, no matter how good the content, a remake of something we remember from our childhood (especially) is always looked upon with suspicion if not outright venom. Movie franchises like TRANSFORMERS, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, GHOSTBUSTERS and the sort will always get a lot of hate no matter how well they're produced. Not to say that all of the above were hits, not by any means. The point is that there will always be a problem with fans and their nostalgia.
And NOSTALGIA has become a big industry. Why pour millions into a project that is new and a gamble at best when you know you can make easy money by using people's childhoods against them? And, face it, we pour big money into industries that celebrate our fondest memories. Why else would the comic industry be the hub of today's most lucrative content? We want to pass the things we enjoyed to our kids. Heck, we just want to sit in a theater and relive the greatness that we absorbed into our young little minds which molded us and fueled our imagination throughout most our lives. The Convention circuits are testaments to the fact that we will pay big money to relive our nostalgia and meet our childhood heroes.
This year is no different than any other. A portion of our major motion pictures coming out this year are directly out of our past fandoms. Even forgetting the long list of Marvel and DC movies coming out, the theaters are still full of the things we loved from years past. But taking DC for example, there is no end to hate and ridicule that the heroes of the Justice League will get for the serious and sometimes dark movies of their past. Marvel gets a pass because they have learned to lean on family entertainment; keeping things light and never delving too deep into our darker natures. That may be why Marvel's villains get so much flack. They are not allowed to go but just so far. Has any of Marvel's baddies ever tried to directly attack innocents like Zod did at the end of MAN OF STEEL? Of course not. So DC/WARNER gets lambasted for daring to take its universe too seriously and try to pry into the dark places of our nostalgia. If anything, they suffer from indecision and an inability to edit properly. But, that doesn't keep me from enjoying what they have to offer.
Stepping past the parade of super-hero movies and television shows, Nostalgia is still for sale all year long. Up first is the remake of the long running television show that has touched about as many generations as the TURTLES, MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS.
I remember when I watched the first episode. I was an adult looking for something new for my young child to watch. The strange opening caught my attention and mesmerized me through and through. Now, after the second or third rendition of this weekday afternoon phenomenon, I grew tired of it. But, I was on board when they took it to the big screen. Funny, but the very things that made the television show a hit (their campy script and the weird, badly produced alien protagonists) didn't play well with the fans. Although it was a step above what we had watched just a few years ago, the majority of us spilled hate on it.
Well, the more things change....
In March, we get a serious reboot of the RANGERS given the Hollywood treatment and all the technical special effects this age can muster...and still we hate. Although I have seen a good number of you getting excited with every trailer, there are still those who spew internet bile upon it. It may be because there will always be that percentage that will not like it no matter how good it is. I haven't seen much (although I'm skeptical of Goldar's appearance) that I hate. Of course, as I've said before, I'm easy.
On top of this, we have a KING KONG, BLADERUNNER, FLATLINERS, JUMANJI and THE MUMMY reboot along with a live action GHOST IN THE SHELL movie that has already drawn much criticism for its supposed 'white washing' of the main character although most anime does this themselves making their characters as race neutral as possible. The level of venom that we spew this year on the internet will be in direct relation to the age and popularity of the nostalgia. Using this formula, expect BLADERUNNER to be the center of the most hate this year, second only to POWER RANGERS.
But the purpose of this article is not prepare us for the flow of negative that we usually get from the internet concerning our fandoms. No, I'm here to ask us all to calm the hell down. Have patience. Like much of what is going on today, it's best to wait and see. We spend too much time talking about how bad a movie is going to be long before any of us see it. In fact, most publishing these criticizing rants will probably never see the movie in question. How about we keep the hate till at least after we see the movie? Publish your misgivings and concerns, but none of this 'blank is going to blow!'. Of course, negative gets more press. Nobody wants to publish an article that says that people who have seen previews of any given movie think it's great, do they? If gets much more attention to publish the opposite about how they've seen it and it's going to be bad.
So, a second thing we, as decent human beings, can do is be discerning about what online articles we click on. Don't feed the wrong wolf as a friend of mine puts it. Don't give them reason to continue cranking out this horrible click-bait by adding to their numbers. Don't gravitate to the negative. It's hard, I know. I have found myself clicking the bait just to see the sheer stupidity of the rant. We have to stop it. And the only way to stop that kind of thing is to not click it in the first place.
Finally, we as fans of a particular nostalgia can approach the new material as new. Let it stand on its own, if it can. Also that means letting it fall on its own. Take in the reboot as something completely new. And that's the hardest thing for us to do as fans. We love a given fandom or franchise for a myriad of reasons. But we must not approach it through the eyes of our childhood. For the most part, we should give it chance to be what it is: a NEW rendition of an old, and dearly loved story. So give it a chance like any new unknown story that comes around.
But, that doesn't mean you check your nostalgia at the door. Let the new story stand on its own, but celebrate with the movie the things that drew us into the fold in the first place. Geek out with the rest of us when they morph or the first appearance of the Zords. Enjoy Bryan Cranston as Zordon or the high paced action scenes with martial arts that we loved. Relive your fandom without destroying this new product.
Now, I'm not saying MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS or any of the other reboots or remakes this year will be good. After viewing, give it a fitting review. Just don't let it be misunderstood hate. Let it be an understanding and level headed assessment.
And remember, you're getting a POWER RANGERS movie that's been taken seriously and given a big bucks send off. At times, we are very lucky to live in a time when the things we love are treated with such care and thought of so much.
IT'S MORPHIN TIME!