Nostalgia is a sentimental yearning for the past. It’s a powerful force that can make us feel all warm and fuzzy as we recollect fond memories from our past. In recent times it feels as though nostalgia has become more prevalent in the entertainment industry as they peddle their wares with little thought or consideration. Yet, creations with a focus on using nostalgia to appeal to us needn’t be lousy, they just need a little more consideration.
There have been many movies seeking to capitalize on our appetite for nostalgia and while it might appear a new trend, it’s been happening for a while. The George Lucas 1973 stroll down memory lane American Graffiti featured the tagline “Where were you in ’62?”.
It’s not just prevalent in the movie industry because if you look at a casino online you will find that they produce titles that have a nostalgic pull. The Rainbow Riches slot game is a prime example that remains popular even though it’s one of the original slots with the classic use of leprechauns and symbols and sounds that hark back to the days of people playing physical slot machines. The small screen has also realized the potential benefits of shows that take us back in time through established franchises, with the upcoming Lord of the Rings show being a prime example.
It’s not just our fond memories that can be used to sell us entertainment options with creatives also building on anemoia, a feeling of nostalgia for a time one has never known. Films like Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous let us, tagalong, with a 1970s up-and-coming rock band and even though that wasn’t an experience for most of us, we felt it.
Reboot & reimagine
While the titles mentioned so far have been well received, people are becoming tired of the tsunami of reboots, reimaginings, sequels, and prequels. It does appear that Hollywood is reluctant to take a chance on something new and simply looks for anything that worked once and tries to capture the magic again, often with disastrous results. The logic is sound, as familiar movies already have established fans and are presumed to be a guaranteed profit in a time when financial success is far more desirable than creative acknowledgment. It seems inevitably we’ll be provided with more uninspired reboot films, even after Tom Cruise’s disastrous crack at The Mummy sunk plans for a Dark Universe and many more examples that audiences rejected.
Yet, it does seem that things could be improving as studios start to learn their lessons. The key element is implementing nostalgia in the right way by giving us elements from previous films that we remember fondly, but also providing us with substantial new material that would allow the film to still be great without the blasts from the past.
Nostalgia entertainment can be great when done correctly, but creatives need to understand their audience, time it right, and set the right tone by providing flashbacks within great creations.
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