Reconciling Nostalgia and Change

There has been a lot of upset in popular culture recently due to drastic changes in media that a lot of people are nostalgic about. Currently the millennial generation is starting to experience this, specifically referring to the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie, Spongebob Squarepants movie, Scooby Doo movie, and Pokemon games. Personally having been born in 2000, I grew up with these characters and franchises and they found a unique place in my heart and childhood. As time has gone on I’ve grown out of those interests, but I can still appreciate them for their quality and the importance they had on influencing me as a person. Even now I will testify that the first 4 generations of Pokemon games are timeless, and that the classic Scooby Doo movies are iconic due to their quality animation and plots. However, growing up means moving on, and as a result I haven’t kept up to date with a majority of the developments in those franchises. My attitude is simply this: I enjoyed them when I was young, and now it’s the younger generation’s turn to enjoy them, and I can’t blame the companies that have to change to fit this new demographic. However, I’ve recently given this change a lot of thought, and have come to a few conclusion about what it means for my nostalgia.

1st gen pokemon starters
1st Generation Pokemon
8th Generation Pokemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new 8th generation Pokemon games that came out earlier this month are especially interesting to me in exploring this question of reconciling change and nostalgia. Before it was released, it was announced that there would be no more National Pokedex, a staple in all of the previous games that allowed you to “catch them all”, the slogan of the entire franchise. The reason for its removal: they didn’t want to make models for all of the Pokemon. Obviously fans were disappointed and rightfully upset; like me, they had grown up playing these games and were used to this important feature of the game. Personally, I haven’t even played a Pokemon game since the 4th generation, and I’ve been a critic of the direction of the series for awhile.

Usually I criticize the declining creativity in creating new Pokemon; they have worse names, concepts, designs, and generally look more and more cartoonish and childish. People might rebuke me and argue that the original Pokemon were even less creative, specifically noting Rattata, a Pokemon that is essentially just a rat. However, I’m quick to point out that at least those designs were consistent and developed a believable and interesting world; compare the 1st generation Pokemon to the 8th generation Pokemon and you wouldn’t recognize them as both being from the same game. The reason for this is obvious to me, and it is simply that the series has aimed to cater to younger and younger children, not to the original fans like me who have grown out of playing the games. This trend is apparent in almost every other franchise that I remember from my childhood. I’ve come to the conclusion that change is inevitable, but I still don’t agree with how these companies tamper with my nostalgia. I wish the new media didn’t reflect so poorly on the franchises as a whole; it’s frankly embarrassing that something I hold in such high nostalgic regard is now ridiculous and childish. All I can really do is ignore the changes and focus on the original art that I fell in love with.

I think a lot of people from any generation can relate to these feelings; almost all franchises that endure undergo changes that break away from the original. A great example of this is the Star Wars movie franchise, which has been added on to drastically, more than 30 years after the original movies came out. It is not uncommon for those who saw the originals when they were young to be nostalgic for them and resent the new direction of the franchise. Many people boycott the new movies, or become harsh critics of them in a way that can ruin it for the younger generation that the new movies are targeted at. Personally, I think it’s unfair that those nostalgic people try to ruin it for everyone else, and that’s why I try to stay out of the debates over my favorite franchises changing. In the end, I’m just happy that I got to experience the golden age of entertainment in my childhood, and I’ll always appreciate the originals and my memories of them.

Endgame

On April 26th the last movie of the Avengers franchise will be released.  This movie has been highly anticipated since the shocking end to the last Avengers movie, and fans cannot wait to see who will be left standing at the end of Avengers: Endgame.

While this is the last Avengers movie, it is not the last Marvel superhero movie.  There are other Marvel movies already being cued up with everyone’s favorite characters from the Marvel Universe.  One movie that has been talked about for some time now, and that has been confirmed is coming out in 2020 is “Black Widow”.  Black Widow first made her appearance in Avengers and has been in other Marvel movies but has not had a solo film. Fans will be excited to get to know more about her and her backstory.  Another film set to release is the Black Panther sequel. The first film broke many records and was nominated for an oscar for best film. The sequel has been highly anticipated since the release of the first movie.  Two more sequels are also already confirmed to be coming out in the coming years: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and a Doctor Strange Sequel. Both of these movies joined the franchise later and made their first group appearance in the previous Avengers movie.

Not only are there many movies still in the works to continue to build on the Marvel Universe, but there are also TV shows that are being made.  A confirmed show that is being made is “Falcon and Winter Soldier”, as well as “Hawkeye”. These two shows in particular, similar to the Black Widow movie, will be the first solo project for these Avenger members.

While the group movies of the Avengers will be over soon, over the past several years every movie seems to feature at least two or three Avengers.  This means that as the Marvel Universe moves forward we will most likely still see the characters that we have fallen in love with since 2010. While Thor doesn’t have his own movie or TV show, there is a good chance that he will make at least one appearance in at least one of these sequels and Television shows.

Live Action Disney Movies

There has been a new trend over the past couple of years in the Disney movies that have been released.  Live action Disney movies started with the live action Cinderella and are still continuing now. There are three that are being advertised right now: Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King.

The trend started with Cinderella.  The movie was almost an exact replica of the animated version.  They had tweaked a couple of things and made the movie as beautiful as possible.  This movie was beautiful to watch, and gave you the same magic as the animated version.  Beauty and the Beast was similar to Cinderella in the fact that it was very similar to the animated version.  Both movies included the most popular songs and followed the plot very closely.

For some of the movies Disney has changed the formula a little bit.  The live action version of the Jungle Book was very different from the animated version.  In the live action they only include the most popular songs and they add more to the movie to make it more cohesive and have more substance.  The live action Jungle Book improved upon the original animated version of the movie. The movie Maleficent also didn’t just recreate a past movie.  But this is because there was no Maleficent movie before this one. This entire live action movie was based off of Maleficent’s part in Sleeping Beauty.

The new Disney live action movies are coming out throughout the rest of this year.  Based on the trailers for the movies, we cannot tell if they movies will follow the plot lines to a T like they had for Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.  I think that The Lion King and Aladdin will follow the original’s plot very closely but Dumbo might stray from it a little more. Dumbo might not follow the movie exactly because the original is not as popular with children now.  The animated version of Dumbo was also a little darker than most Disney movies are now, so I think that it might have a more happy and positive tone than the original.

2019 Oscars

The beginning of the year is known in Hollywood as the award season.  Where is seems like every week there is a new award show on TV. The most popular being the Emmys, Tony’s, Grammy’s, and the Oscars.  Each of these four popular award shows are based on a different category of entertainment: Television, Broadway, Music, and Movies. There is more than one award show for each category, these are just the most popular and seen as the most prestigious.

The Oscars seems to be the biggest award show out of the four, with movie stars coming from all over just to be at movies biggest night.  The Oscars gives awards for a large variety of categories from movie scores, to costumes, to the more common categories like best actress and actor.  Most people only seem to know about the “bigger” categories because those are the only ones broadcasted on television. Most of the other awards are done beforehand and are not shown.

The Oscars also has awards for different types of films.  There is the biggest award of the night, “Best Feature”, and there are also best animated film, best short, and best documentary just to name some examples.  

Generally the public has not seen the majority of the films nominated for Oscars, but it seems that this has changed a little in recent years.  For example “Black Panther” and “A Star is Born” are both nominated for best picture. “Black Panther” was one of the most successful movies of 2018.  Most people still have not seen the best documentaries or the best shorts nominations. However, the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor is playing all of the Oscar nominated best shorts and best documentaries.  This can give people a chance to go and see them before the Oscars, and it gives the opportunity to see something that most people would not have the chance to see otherwise.

What to do on a snowday?

Once the University of Michigan cancelling classes for two days in a row, I thought to myself “Hooray!  I’m going to catch up on sleep for the next two days!” Then I tried to remember what I did on snow days during elementary and high school.  I would play outside for the day, or have friends over to play inside. So I decided that maybe instead of sleeping for the next two days I could do something else.  So here is a list of things that I might do during our snow-days.

Movie Marathons!  I am a huge fan of movies, my favorite genres are romcoms, sci-fi, and thrillers.  When creating a movie marathon you have the choice of watching a bunch or random movies, movies with the same theme, or a movie series.  Watching random movies is good so that you do not get too bored when watching a couple movies in one sitting. This way you can laugh, cry, and get scared in one day; which can be more exciting.  Watching movies from the same genre, or with the same theme can give you an extra dose of whatever feeling you want. Watching a movie series gives you purpose when you are sitting watching a movie, because you now have to finish the series.  I personally like watching movie series. You can always re-watch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.

Read!  As a college student, I never do any reading for pleasure during the school year because I am constantly reading for my classes.  Taking two days to start and possibly finish a book that has been sitting unread in my bookshelf would be great. Cold weather is also the perfect reading conditions because then you are incentivized to sit in a chair curled up with a blanket and a book and are able to read for hours.  It’s also nice when you are sitting by a window that brings in natural light and so that you can look outside but you do not have to go outside.

Game night!  The last activity is better if there is someone else with you.  A game night or afternoon is always fun and relaxing, depending on the game.  I used to play a lot of board games growing up with my family, and I have not played them much since going to college.  I love when an opportunity comes up and I can play them again. The best games to play during snow days are games that take a long time because you have all of the time in the world.  I personally like to play Risk when I have a couple of hours to spend on a game.