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Nostalgia-focused media diminishes the quality of entertainment

NewViewNews · entertainment · prompt · 11/01/2020

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Background info:
To date, Disney has made over a dozen live-action remakes of its prior films, and it has the same amount in the works. Classic Nintendo characters constantly appear in sequels, remakes, and rereleases: most recently, they sold Super Mario 3D All-Stars on the Switch, a $60 package comprising 3 games from 1996, 2002, and 2007. And shows like Full House and Boy Meets World, from the 1990s have experienced a renaissance in the last decade with spin-offs and sequels like Fuller House and Girl Meets World.

Whether it’s a blockbuster remake or a retro resale, a significant market share of new media is somehow tied to the past. Media like this can prompt feelings of nostalgia in consumers, calling back to a simpler time; when you were young, happy, and free, Mario was along for the ride, and if he were here now, maybe those feelings of 6 year-old you sitting on the rug with an N64 controller in your hands would return. Also, reimaginings allow for technical advancements of today to apply to the media of yesterday; seeing real Lions sing Hakuna Matata probably wasn’t possible in 1994 when the hand-drawn images of Simba and friends were animated. Additionally, modern applications of equality and diversity can be applied to older projects where those principles weren't in mind; the 1989 film Heathers featured an almost entirely white cast while the cast of the 2018 TV reboot is more racially and sexually diverse.

Critics of nostalgia-fueled remakes, spinoffs, and repackaging argue they lack the creativity that drove the original iterations and rely too heavily on the existing love that fans had for the franchise. Perhaps, constantly reusing the same roster or plot is a sign that creators and companies are scared to take risks and instead opt for the safer ingredients. Also, specifically in regards to technically impressive remakes, the virtue of realism may carry with it an absence of style, liveliness and emotion; as the Boston Globe’s Nora Mcgreevy put it in her review of 2019’s Lion King, “You’ll find yourself longing for the freedom afforded by simple lines and pixels.” Many also criticize media remade with the purpose of a more diverse cast as a way to sell the same movie again with little change; they have also been criticized as a disservice to minorities who,instead of having their own original films, are secluded to remakes of existing ones.

Good or bad, nostalgia plays a big part in media consumption and creation.

For the Entertainment section’s NewViewNovember prompt, we ask you to respond to the following statement:

Nostalgia-focused media diminishes the quality of entertainment.

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Further reading for this prompt can be found in the sources section.

Sources

BBC: Mulan: Disney remakes and the power of nostalgia during coronavirus: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-47696220

The New York Times: Like Old Hollywood Movies, Video Games Get a Polish for New Audiences: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/01/business/video-game-remake-remaster-nostalgia.html

Insider:Why Disney keeps remaking so many of its animated movies: https://www.insider.com/why-disney-keeps-remaking-animated-movies-2020-5

Wikipedia: Lists of film remakes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_film_remakes

Wikipedia: List of television programs based on films: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_programs_based_on_films

Wikipedia: list of video game remakes and remastered ports https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_game_remakes_and_remastered_ports 

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