In case you haven’t heard, the summer movie season has officially begun.
Many of the current releases are either some version of a franchise, a re-make or an adaptation. And, for some, this trend is a veritable assault on adulthood.
Dennis Palumbo of Huffington Post bemoaned the current dearth of movies for adults, urging those of us who go in for more serious cinematic fare to “get off the couch” as it were (he’s also a psychotherapist). His point: no one’s going to make movies for adults if we don’t actually go see them.
Another blogger, Lorrie Lynch, made a list of the serious Indie films coming out this summer and then wrote “Grown ups, read on.” (True confessions: I bookmarked the page post haste. I mean, c’mon. Atom Egoyan? In the summertime? Sign me up…)
I must say that I’m sympathetic to some of these concerns. The sight of grown men and women parading around theatres in their velour-insigniad Starship Enterprise tunics and Vulcan ears does give one pause. (For a particularly thoughtful review of the entire Star Trek franchise, read this article by Chicago Reader critic J.R. Jones. He argues that the original TV show was actually quite mature in its subject matter – with its mixed-gender, multiracial crew and Cold War overtones. Over time, however, the series – and movies it spawned – were dumbed down considerably to appeal to kids.)
But for me, the most interesting analysis of this trend was an article in the Washington Post by Hank Stuever examining the effect of extreme fans (of the lightsaber bearing sort) on the making and marketing of these blockbuster-type movies.
The central question he asks – and I paraphrase here – is why we feel compelled, as a society, to compulsively remake The Dukes of Hazard or our favorite books from fourth grade. Is it a lack of creativity? Nostalgia? Escape?
I don’t have an answer to that question. But as someone who’s quite prone to nostalgia myself, I can say that I, too, find it moving to revisit signature cultural artifacts – books, movies – from my childhood. I don’t necessarily need to don Lieutenant O’hura’s mini-dress in order to do so. But I understand the impulse.
So go ahead and beam me up, Scotty. But be warned: I’ll be looking for the Indie screening room on the Starship Enterprise when I get there.
Image: Trekkies by San Diego Shooter via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.