Steam and fire rises from spires that would induce envy in the Tower of Babel. A world bathed in cold electric light drenched in rain. Humanity has had its meaning challenged and a whole system has risen to maintain the traditional world and meanings. It’s a time that feels all too familiar and yet so far flung.
I wrote pretty much everything I need to write about the long-gestating (and long-feared) Ghostbusters adaptation when I reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the end of last year. And I thought everything I need to think as I came to grips with that movie in the repeat viewings to follow.
Does it excel? No, there’s too many storytelling problems and cut corners to make it perfect. It’s also far too beholden to the stories that have come before it to truly strike out on its own, feeling as though it’s dancing on the eggshells of decades of expectations.
But there’s something fundamentally good at its core. Not only an abiding admiration for the mythos on screen, but a deep desire that they carry on beyond the first generation that loved them. To that end, this film has created some fantastic new characters that connect with a new generation and sensibility of film lovers and future nerds and is composed with such a sense of propulsive fun that it almost doesn’t matter that scotch tape holds it together.
Am I talking about Force Awakens or Ghostbusters? Both, but check the headline to find out where this is gonna go.
Just so you know, I like a lot of things. While I’ve written and will continue to write about film and television, I also love music. And as with all thing I love, I have a lot to say. So, from time to time, when the muse strikes me, I’ll write here about the albums I love with WagTunes.
As time moves forward, so ever does our nostalgia move along with it. America loves to live with one eye looking back, pop culture is guilty of this in particular. Perhaps it’s due to the nature of the creative, drawing from one’s own experiences is going to induce a certain amount of mythologizing of your own history, and we’re now in the era where the children of the 80s are the creatives with power.
I also think that we tend to look back at eras that feel remarkably similar to our own, out of a need to feel that we survived it and that we can turn their art and culture and history into a mythology that makes us feel better about our own. The 80s feel remarkably resonant to an era where the threat of apocalypse looms large and where the men of power feel insular and arrogant in a way that induces a begging for them to come crashing down. So we take a little neon and some synths and hope that reflects a world we’ll make it through.
This looms large to me right now thanks to the recent rediscovery of Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime.
You know, I really never thought
ZAC EFRON WOULD BE A REASON TO GO WATCH A MOVIE.
THIS ARTICLE ASSUMES YOU’VE SEEN THE THEATRICAL CUT
Before one frame of Zack Snyder’s coup de grace to the potential of a completely loved DC Extended Universe had graced our eyeballs, we already knew that there would be a Director’s Cut coming with footage cut from the original film and an R-rating. It was immediately leaped on as the ultimate salvation of this film by the fans, which to be fair has some precedent.
This would, after all, be Zack Snyder’s second major Director’s Cut after Watchmen (third if you count Sucker Punch) and the director’s cut on Watchmen was an actual marked improvement, vaulting it into the realm of great.
The cut became doubly important when Batman v Superman: Jesus and Jesse Eisenberg came out something rather like a wet fart, unpleasant for most everyone around. The cut would apparently add back in the necessary connective tissue and make it clear a lot of what the film was trying to do, in addition to adding a little bit of extra connection to the past and the future of the DCEU. Essentially, it was going to make it a better film. Does it?
The Golden Age of Television Drama is dead. Long live the Golden Age of Television Comedy.
But seriously folks, for all intents and purposes, the era we once knew as the Golden Age of Television is over. The epoch of dark, morally complex television with cinema-grade filmmaking driven by a series of often closely-examined masculine antiheroes ended with the series finale of Mad Men after attracting so much attention and love and reexamination of television as an artistic medium.
Look, not every big animated film needs to be Pixar. I think we string the CGI-animated films along by expecting everyone to be super deep and insightful and innovative. I swear this is not an anti-intellectual thing.
I mean, even Chuck Jones wasn’t always Duck Amuck! And What’s Opera, Doc. Sometimes he just made Tom and Jerry cartoons. Simple fun can be just as important in the medium of animation, and that’s where The Secret Life of Pets really excels. It’s pretty simple, but it does pretty simple well.