What’s Wrong with Watching Movies from the Past?

What’s Wrong with Watching Movies from the Past?

Last week I went to the Prince Charles cinema, in Soho to watch a screening of Blade Runner. As a person who claims to be a movie buff, I was ashamed to admit to my friend that I hadn’t seen it.

Blade Runner was a film that was really part of the cultural zeitgeist. The early 80’s were a great time for sci-fi (e.g. the thing, Terminator and Star Wars) and also a particularly great time for Ridley Scott who was riding the success wave of the first Alien movie, so I think people were more receptive to it then. The early 2000on the other hand was when fantasies were having a bit of a comeback, for my age group anyway, with the release of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

To be fair to myself, Blade Runner was released in 1982, which is almost 10 years before I was born, so by the time I was 12 (the legal age to watch Blade Runner), the film would have been out for  22 years. It was 2002 by the time I was 12 years old, which was right bang in the middle of the Lord of the Rings hysteria, so I forgive myself for not knowing Blade Runner existed.Ringstrilogyposter

This is one of the issues with watching movies from the past; their impact won’t be the same if you watch them 22 years after their release, the movie always  seems a tiny bit out of reach for the tainted modern mind which is used to Flats screen TVs and Iphone’s,  which adds to  the difficulty in seeing past the 1980’s Graphics,(just to note: Blade Runner was set in the year 2019, that would technically make us  three years away from flying cars and humanoid robots, I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind the whole time I was watching it).

I know I shouldn’t be a graphics snob and I should be able to use my Imagination, but watching Blade Runner just proved to me how much of a product of my generation I truly am. You just can’t go back to reading magazines the same way after you’ve experienced the clickable format of the internet, the same goes with movies, when you’ve been exposed to the motion graphics of Avatar  it’s hard to transfer yourself back to the days before.

This is why I am a proponent of using as little special effects as possible,as I believe less  CGI has the ability to make the movie timeless, for example, In Lord of the Rings they  actually built a lot of the sets, used real people as orcs and then duplicated them , obviously, for the battle scenes, but I believe the minimal use of CGI in those films make it  a timeless and visually delicious treat that every generation can enjoy ( I am sure the amazing story didn’t hurt its chances of being a timeless movie  either). Unlike, The Hobbit which used so much CGI it was basically one of those annoying extended story videos you have to watch in-between levels of your PS4 game.

In saying all of this, some movies from the past, that do use effects for example, Mary Poppins can still have the same effect as they did, when they were first released, films like these which are supported by a great story are usually able to transcend the ages. I think it’s something to do with kid’s films in particular, or rather, watching films when you are young. The first films I can really remember watching, excluding  the avant-garde Barney and Teletubies were old Disney films such as Alice in Wonderland, Aristocats, Snow white & Fantasia; at the time of watching them I couldn’t tell what year they were made.marypoppins.jpg

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare live action to animation, because usually animations have their own individual artistic style that suits the story. It seems that when you’re younger you haven’t been exposed to that many films so no matter what, the first films you watch are always going to seem good to you, you haven’t been exposed to that many films so you have nothing to compare the film you are watching to.  That is why people should be indoctrinated young, before they develop their inner critique, the first movie my kids will be watching will obviously be Lord Of The Rings, they might  become little servants of Sauron, but i’d rather have that,  than them be one of those “I hate Lord of the rings /Harry potter” people

In  an  age where we exposed to so many films, everyone has a film to compare the films they watch to, for instance with me while watching Blade Runner, I compared it to films such as I Robot (which is basically a modern, more action filled, less artistically driven version of Blade Runner) and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, which have similar philosophical themes of man and machine.

Blade Runner Influenced movies such as I Robot, which I am grateful for, but it is a shame that as I wasn’t able to appreciate it, the same way as someone who watched it when it came out.

The answer to the question, what’s wrong with watching movies from the past is that your ability to fully appreciate the film is diminished, because as time goes by films recycle similar ideas, so therefore the original film which first purported the idea won’t be as fascinating, because you’ve seen the ideas reflected in films you have watched before.It is important to state , however, that films from the past inspire what we are watching today and as such are still worth their two cents.


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