Social Question

J0E's avatar

Do you appreciate a movie less because you weren't alive when it was released?

Asked by J0E (13136points) December 22nd, 2009

I’ve been having a discussion with some users (you know who you are) about Star Wars and how my age makes me appreciate the newer films rather than the older ones. I don’t see it like this at all. I am a huge Star Wars fan, but because I happened to be born after their creation I will never be as big a fan as others who were? I don’t buy it.

What’s your opinion Fluther? Have you ever been accused of this? Does this even make sense?

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45 Answers

Snarp's avatar

Now Joe, I never said you weren’t as big a fan as I was. You said I wasn’t as big a fan as you. What I said was that you can’t understand the relationship with the movies that my generation has. I do think that the different relationship you have with the movies affects your opinion of the more recent ones.

OK, having clarified that, I’ll let Fluther discuss it.

J0E's avatar

The only difference is when we saw the movies. That’s it.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think it really matters how “big” of a fan anyone thinks you are, that’s only something you can know.

Just because I wasn’t around in 1642 to hear Uccellini’s music when it was brand new, I’m still a gigantic-ass fan of it. :)

Haleth's avatar

I can kind of get what you’re saying, @Snarp. You’re saying that people who weren’t around for Star Wars the first time missed out on a big cultural experience that you guys shared as part of that generation. Right? That doesn’t make @J0E‘s appreciation or understanding of Star Wars any less. Without the movie, you couldn’t have all been fans of it. Fans make an experience around the movie, but not the movie itself.

Snarp's avatar

@Haleth Exactly. And I never said he was less of a fan. I am not about to argue about who likes something more, there’s just no way to quantify that, and I’m not interested in it.

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

It is more cool watching a movie’s debut at a theater than it is watching the old rental at home.

Tink's avatar

Some movies just don’t interest me. It doesn’t matter if I was born when they came out or not. Star Wars is one of them.

zephyr826's avatar

I agree with not being present for the debut. However, because @Joe and I are younger, we were able to grow up on those movies. I was Princess Leia for Halloween when I was 3. I saw them dozens of times before I could read. We have a different understanding and love for a certain movie, but it may not be less than others.

J0E's avatar

@Tink1113 This is not a Star Wars question, I just used that as an example.

baileysmom12's avatar

I think those of us who saw the movie when it first came out, can appreciate it more than the newer generation of fans. What you younger fans don’t realize is how spectacular the visual effects were for us. It was something brand new and very exciting. It’s kinda like space invaders v/s mortal warcraft. That being said, I think the younger generation can love the movie just as much as us old codgers do.

MrItty's avatar

Absolutely not. I love Star Wars, Singing in the Rain, Roman Holiday, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and a whole host of other movies that came out before I was born.

Tink's avatar

@J0E I know, I just used it as an example.

jaytkay's avatar

Using Star Wars as an example, these things could make a difference:

1) We had no idea what to expect when we entered the theater. We hadn’t heard of Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, etc.
2) The special effects and costumes were state-of-the-art for 1977. It was literally unlike anything we had seen before.
3) I saw it in a big-screen theater. Really big screens hardly exist today. I don’t know of any in my city Maybe IMax, but that’s different.

That said, I love old movies. You know the old 80/20 rule – probably 20% of movies are worthwhile, so watch the best 20% regardless of their age.

erichw1504's avatar

No, I appreciate the movie for what it is, not when it was released. I know some people who don’t think this, but I sure as hell don’t. If you like the movie enough to appreciate it, then that is it, no matter when it came out.

Snarp's avatar

And to answer the root question, no, when you saw a movie or how old you are has nothing to do with how much you love it.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I love watching movies from before I was born… I just look at everything and wonder what it was like living back (and I mean waaaaaaaay back) then. I think I might even “appreciate” those movies more since they’re more “mysterious” to me.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think I understand where you are coming from.

Let’s take Jurrasic Park, for instance. Sure, anyone who has seen can appreciate it, but those of us who saw the amazing special effects, who saw dinosaurs come to life like we never saw before, probably have a different perspective about the place of that movie in screen and cultural history.

That’s not to say someone who saw the movie in 2002 can’t appreciate what Jurassic Park did to movies, but they will never have the first hand experience of being there at that point in time and history.

CMaz's avatar

Using Star Wars as an example.

It was a cinematic first. The visual effects were new and different. It had a feeling to it. Like a blast of wind to the face. It was exciting!
Princess Leia’s ship being chased. Then all of a sudden here comes the Battlecruiser! Wholly Shit! The sound of the blasters, and the way the energy flew across.
For the generations that were born after it. It is just another day. Even the movie Avitar, as great as it looks. It is not a “night and day” experience as Star Wars was for cinematography and the viewer.You just had to be there.

Look at Flash Gordon of the 1930’s. That cheesy rocket with the smoke and sparks shooting out the back.
That was captivating an audience. Kids went home and dreamed of being on the deck of that spaceship.

I have a special place for Fiddler on the Roof too. I was 7.

J0E's avatar

Seeing a movie in theatres is just a whole other experience, but does it change the movie?

SheWasAll_'s avatar

I wasn’t alive for the original Star Wars, but I looooooove them. The newer ones, not so much. But I suppose being able to see such films when they’re first released is an experience you can’t compare, just like seeing the Lord of the Rings when I was in middle and high school. yes, I’m a total Tolkien geek.

Snarp's avatar

But for the record, I was a small child when I sat down in that theater. No one knew what was about to happen. No one knew they were about to watch something that would fundamentally alter the way films were made. No one knew they were about to see that huge Star Destroyer block out the stars. No one knew they were about to meet Luke Skywalker, who would become their hero from that moment on.

And then I got to grow up with it. I waited for Empire Strikes Back. The anticipation from first hearing it would be released was stunning. Then to see how the world of Star Wars was expanded was amazing. And we had no novels, no other stories, only our action figures and our imaginations to build on between films.

It has only a little to do with where you first saw it, and a little to do with how old you were, but what it is really about is the total context of when you saw it, the total experience. If you saw it after 1977 you knew what you were about to see. You knew the characters, you knew the special effects were revolutionary (except that to you they weren’t so revolutionary anymore).

bunnygrl's avatar

Hi Joe <waves> I’m so sorry honey, thats not what I meant at all. What I meant was that they’re tied into all kinds of memories, you know? first time I was ever allowed out late was to a screening of all 3 movies back to back at our local Odeon cinema with friends (one of whom is now my hubby) that was the year Jedi was released (being flooded with memories again) I didn’t say I was a bigger fan either honey, you said you were a bigger fan :-) Honestly honey if you enjoy them thats great it was only a silly opinion, I shouldn’t have said anything, its my fault.

What I tried to say was that the latest trilogy was made for your generation honey, but not for ours, thats not to say older fans don’t like them, my friend, as I said, won’t hear a word against themand he’s way into his late 40’s :-)

To answer your question though, I love old movies. I was raised by my Grandmother so my fave actors are from movies I watched with her growing up. Hubby got me a boxed set of the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies for our aniversary this year I LOVE those movies but I wasn’t here when they were made (although some days I do feel that old lol) I love Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe and Cagney and…. well I could go on for ever lol. Once again honey, I’m so sorry that I seem to have offended you, I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry <hugs>

Snarp's avatar

@bunnygrl I’m pretty sure it was more about me than you.

After all, it’s all about me!~

J0E's avatar

@Snarp @bunnygrl
Don’t worry about it, I’m not mad. Plus it sparked a good question. I should be thanking you.

Snarp's avatar

@SheWasAll_ See, my generation had this weird animated Lord of the Rings. I still get the “Frodo of the Nine Fingers” song stuck in my head. But only total geeks have ever seen it. Damn, now it’s in my head again.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@J0E, to answer the first pair of comments first, you said:
The only difference is when we saw the movies. That’s it.

That’s not entirely true. Context matters (more, maybe, with some media—and movies—than with others) and can’t be ignored.

When my dad went to see WW II films in theaters, we were still fighting that war. He might watch the movie with every expectation that “the good guys will win”, but overriding that, he had next to no real idea how the war itself—a hugely more important event!—would turn out.

When I watch a WW II movie, I might hope from an entertainment / emotional point of view that “the good guys” in the movie come out on top, but more important than that, the war itself was won by “the good guys”. So the context is turned around; the ‘context’ in which a WW II movie (from before 1945) mattered a whole lot more than the movie itself, because that ‘context’ was—my Dad’s own life. When I watch the same movie, thirty or more years later, it’s pure entertainment, and nothing more.

I’m not saying that Star Wars, or any movie, really, has great significance all by itself, but you should attempt to understand the context that made those movies so popular at the time. Just as I might watch a WW II movie right now and see “pure propaganda” (and you could watch Star Wars and see elements of the same), it’s the context that makes those films relevant.

Most WW II movies—and Star Wars—today are no more than moderately entertaining without their cultural context.

I’m not going to—can’t even try to—judge “how big a fan” you are, but unless you either lived through the time (and paid attention then) or can grasp the relevance that the movies, or books, radio shows, plays, etc. had for our lives at the time, then you’ll be missing something.

To put this into more perspective, read or watch a production of The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. Here’s a play that is set hundreds of years ago. It’s pretty much just entertainment, with a message, yes. But when you examine the history of the USA at the time this was written, it carries a whole new import that today’s viewer probably doesn’t get. (Though maybe a bit, since the PATRIOT Act and other such foolishness. One can only hope.)

What you might view from the past as “cool; very entertaining” ... was our lives.

bunnygrl's avatar

@Snarp LOL LOL and @Joe
<hugs> to you both, thank you for making me smile, its not been such a good day <throws more hugs>
ps: this also made me think about the day I went to see Close Encounters of the First Kind, OMG that movie floored me. To this day it gives me goose bumps, LOVE it. I remember I’d been so desperate to see it and when it opened I went with my two cousins and we all sat in the cinema freezing because it was frozen outside and the heating in the cinema wasn’t working lol like I said memories :-)
hugs all xx

Snarp's avatar

You wouldn’t believe the relationship I have with “Howard the Duck” from having seen it in the theater. No really, I don’t even remember the movie, but the power kept going out in the theater, and we were sitting there in the dark, and we were the only ones there, and I think it was the first movie I saw without an accompanying adult.

Then there was Dracula: Dead and Loving it. I don’t remember that one either because I was totally making out with my girlfriend in the back row.

Now that’s context.

bunnygrl's avatar

@Snarp brilliant!!! thats exactly what I’m talking about!! all the wonderful memories you can’t put a price on :-)
hugs xx

filmfann's avatar

Only one of my 5 favorite films were released while I was alive, so for me the answer is no.

I remember being in a theater, about to watch the movie “Voyage of the Damned”, when the preview of the movie Star Wars came on.
This was long before the internet, so I had no clue this movie was being made.
The big screen was full of spaceship! It was remarkable!
I went home, and talked to my friends about what I had seen, and they laughed at how I can be so captivated by crap movies.
When the film came out (6 months later), it was an event. Nothing like this had been done on this scale before. No one was prepared for it.
Now days, everyone has seen big special effects movies, and it won’t make the kind of impact it did then.

Rarebear's avatar

I vivdly remember when the first Star Wars came out. I was 13 at the time, and I remember the commercials, which were pretty awful. Think of the Star Wars Christmas Special, if you’ve ever seen that. Even back then, I was a geek, had seen every Star Trek episode at least 10 times, and had the names of the shows memorized.

But I saw the commercials, and wasn’t going to see the movie, because I thought they were stupid. But a friend of mine dragged me to see it. We went to the only theatre in San Diego that was showing it, a 1000 seat theatre with a huge mega screen. We stood in line for 5 hours.

What I saw was piss in my pants jaw dropping. I still get chills thinking about it. I ended up seeing it at least 10 more times, and stood in line for hours each time. The movie played for over a year in that one theatre and sold out pretty much every show.

There is nothing like that experience nowadays.

CMaz's avatar

I liked the commercials. But they confused the hell out of me.

They were nothing like the movie. I thought the the Tie fighters were what Luke was in when him and Han Solo were firing back on the Millennium Falcon.

Berserker's avatar

Movies may often cater to their current generation and therefore, to the people within it, but that’s only on a mainstream line.
I think that’s bull, I totally love plenty of ancient horror movies that were made long before I was born, as one example.

Naked_Homer's avatar

@J0E – I think it matters, but I also think it depends. I think there are movies from an era like the 40’s where I can’t really appreciate what it meant to say, sneak out and meet under the tree, or sneak your pops car out.

I am also curious, when you watched the Starwars movies did you watch them in the order they were made? The order they were made then re-edited with updated effects? Or the order they take place chronologically in the “Starwars” universe?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Gosh, no. I was born in the late 1950’s, but I so appreciate films like Now, Voyager, Rear Window, Rebecca, High Noon, Citizen Kane, and scores of others. The feelings that movies evoke transcend time, and are the melding of not only the story, but the talent of the actors and the directors, but also the artistry of wardrobe, the art direction, the lighting, camera, props and post-production. If it’s right, it’s seamless.

I love watching The Girl With the Pearl Earring, and frame-stopping. Each stopped frame looks like a Vermeer painting. It’s breathtaking.

filmfann's avatar

@Naked_Homer Good question! The correct sequence to show the Star Wars films would be:
Star Wars (A New Hope)
The Empire Strikes Back!
The Phantom Menace
The Attack Of The Clones
The Clone Wars animated series
Revenge of the Sith
and firnally
Return of the Jedi.

You need to start with Luke. He see’s what the Empire is, and the Villian Darth Vader is. By showing episodes 4 and 5 first, you preserve the surprise of who his father is, and who the “other” Skywalker is.
At the end of 5, Han is encased in the carbonite, and Luke is shocked by the relevation of his father. To maintain suspense, you then show 1, 2, the cartoons, then 3, showing how his father was turned, but also showing how much good was in him at first.
Finally, you show 6. You now understand why Luke senses some good left in Vader, and see the danger of the evil that is in Luke.

Rarebear's avatar

@filmfann Not according to George Lucas. George says you need to see it in order, 1–2-3–4-5–6. Of course, I agree with you.

I’ve never seen the Clone Wars, though. Looked kind of silly. I have a friend who works at ILM and said that ILM didn’t produce the Clone Wars, but some Asian animation company.

Naked_Homer's avatar

@Rarebear and @filmfann see, it was a totally different experience seeing them with starwars first then empire then jedi then the rest.

ratboy's avatar

No movies were released before I was alive.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Rarebear you should watch the clone wars series. Its actually quite amazing. Only problem i have with it is how long you have to wait between episodes. Last new ep was dec 1. Next one comes out on jan 1st. WTF is that shit.

Also, fuck ahsoka. She is such a pointless character, im happy knowing she must eventually die though :P

J0E's avatar

@uberbatman Clone Wars series is definitely worth a watch, if you like Star Wars.

Only138's avatar

No, either I like a movie or I don’t. When it was made is irrelevant. As for the Star Wars movies goes, I also am a huge fan..but I tend to like the older ones, because I was a child when they came out. It reminds me of a very happy, care-free time of my life. I do like them all though.

Snarp's avatar

@filmfann I have to say, maybe the clone wars T.V. shows do, but episodes 1, 2, and 3 do not for me establish how much good there was in Anakin. Essentially what we see is a little kid who is a selfish, obnoxious brat who is never called on it in any real fashion. What we see in the movies is a kid who is willing to commit unspeakable acts just because he doesn’t get his way. I think it’s one of the fundamental flaws of the new films. Anakin is two dimensional and not the least believable. If he goes to the dark side so easily, it’s hard to imagine there was much good in him for Luke to find. It’s also hard to believe he was anything but a sociopath. Now maybe if the other Jedi had seen his lack of discipline and self centered nature earlier and come down too hard on him early on, then maybe you could build the case for why he turned without him just being a petulant child. Unfortunately George Lucas has a real problem with constructing a believable narrative of human emotion without a little help.

Rarebear's avatar

@uberbatman I’ll check out clone wars on DVD, one of these days, thanks.

zephyr826's avatar

@Snarp “Frodo of the Nine Fingers, and the ring of doom!” I’ve seen it too!

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