Everyone is talking about the new show Stranger Things, bringing back that eighties nostalgia we miss in many of the movies today. What was it that made films so different back then? I have some theories that could shed some light onto the possibilities of why we believe the eighties were better.
The eighties seemed like a decade full of films that were new and exciting, seeing stories, effects, and ground breaking visuals we haven't seen before. There were new and different stories coming out of the seventies, kicking off the era when Spielberg and Lucas ruled the film landscape. Those two men produced, wrote, and directed many of the films that made the eighties so memorable. Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, and Back to the Future are films that still excite movie fans and brings you back to a time when what you were watching wasn't a remake or reboot.
We didn't see many stories being retold on the silver screen thirty years ago, unlike today where the majority of what plays in the theater is a rehash of classic films. Ghostbusters, Robocop, and Poltergeist, all films that have been remade and failed in comparison to the movies that changed the way we see motion pictures. Why remake movies that we hold in such high regard? Because they are a known property, brought back to be remade in order for studios to make a quick buck off a brand that did so well for them decades before. All the remakes now are a watered down version of some of our favorite films, a duplicate that can't live up to the memories we hold so dearly in our minds. If you're going to remake anything from that era, it should be films that had an original concept but was executed poorly, or just wasn't ready since technology hadn't caught up with the vision the creators had for that film.
Many films weren't filled with CGI then, instead we had practical effects and makeup that still hold up today. The films that had CGI abundantly are dated now, but they were at least original ideas. Computer graphics were just coming into the fold in such films as Tron, The Last Starfighter, and the first computer animated character in The Young Sherlock Holmes. Of course films like Tron and Starfighter don't quite hold up in today's terms, films that could actually use a reboot like Tron received a few years ago with positive reviews.
Are the films that much better in the eighties, or is it the nostalgia that makes them seem that way? I was born in the mid-eighties, raised up on the films I've been discussing. Every time I watch something from that era I feel like a child again. Is it just the memory of them and the way they made us feel as children that gives us the impression of better films? As I said in the beginning of this article, Stranger Things has given us something that reminds us of a time when originality and new ideas came to the screen more abundantly in big budget ventures compared to today. Everything about that show was pulled from some sort of eighties film in order to create an original concept. Stranger Things reminded me that originality still exists, we just receive it in smaller quantities today compared to the eighties, it mostly appears in independent films and television shows. I just miss the days when originality existed in the mainstream as well. Maybe one day we'll get back to there being fresh content to excite our imaginations once more on the big screen. While we wait for that day we can at least enjoy the independent and television content that still gives us hope for that possibility.
Whats your favorite eighties film? Let me know by commenting below.