Leave the Past Behind...Hollywood

(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

I’d like to tell you that all the remakes and reboots are really just an easy way for Hollywood to make money, but as I’ve been pointing out for some time, taking something that was once beloved and remaking it for “modern audiences” is a way for the ideological activists who’ve taken Tinseltown to effectively rewrite history.

It rarely ever works. The spirit of the film in its originality was made with passion, skill, and most importantly, without a thought about the social justice we now find our society mired in.

Recently, Steven Spielberg voiced his regret for taking E.T., the classic film about a boy who befriends a wayward alien, and “updating it” so that it vibed more with the sentiments of the modern era.

Speaking to the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday, the legendary director said he wished he hadn’t removed the guns from the agents’ hands, in that immortal scene where Elliot and E.T. take off into the air on a bicycle.

“That was a mistake. That was a mistake,” said Spielberg. “I never should have done that because ‘E.T.’ was a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily or being forced to peer through.”

“‘E.T.’ was a film that I was sensitive to the fact that the federal agents were approaching kids with firearms exposed and I thought I would change the guns into walkie-talkies,” he continued. “Years went by and I changed my own views.”

“I should never have messed with the archive of my own work, and I don’t recommend anybody really do that,” he said.

Spielberg then put this feeling very succinctly, and every filmmaker should take note of it.

“All our movies are a kind of measuring – a signpost of where we were when we made them, what the world was like, and what the world was receiving when we got those stories out there,” he said. “So I really regret having that out there.”

He’s not at all wrong.

The way movies were made back then was done with the times infused. The stories told in the ’80s and ’90s cannot be properly retold through a modern lens and achieve the same feel because where we currently sit is far down the road directly from that original feel.

A son cannot relive the events of his father or grandfather in the same way. The event happened to someone else, and the current state of his own life is a result of those events having already happened. If the son attempted to retell the events with himself as the central character, the story wouldn’t ring as true. It’d be a hollow retelling of a much more harrowing experience.

The same can be said of modernized retellings of classic tales.

Disney has been attempting to do this for some time, but modern sentiments don’t fit into classic tales of heroism, intrigue, and even love. The values of mainstream culture have changed, and it doesn’t jive with these older tales. It’s like a pretender trying to wear the clothes of greater heroes.

We should be less concerned with looking back at what was and trying to dredge it back up for any reason, and look more into what new stories we can create based on the times we live in now. So long as humans exist, there’s a new story to tell and a new way to inspire generations.

It’s time to leave the past behind, and in order to do that we’re going to have to ditch those who think the past needs to be dug up and made “better.”

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