Friday, March 4, 2016

Nostalgia and New Blood

It's interesting, sometimes, being a fan of SF/F/H, but not being especially connected to a particular fandom. Among other things, it allows me to have a different perspective on things that are being remade, rebooted, or transferred from one medium to another. It means that I can usually approach those works from a place of "What story are they telling this time?" and less of a place of "OMG! They are so gonna fuck this up."

I dunno. Maybe this is where eight years of classical piano studies comes in handy. See, in classical music each performer has the opportunity to massage the original work into something special. Maybe not unique - in the sense that they still play all the same notes - but still different. Because each performer brings something new to the table. Their education, their own love of certain types of music, their emotional awareness, their technical skill. All of these things effecting minute changes. [For a concrete example you can check out this video on YouTube which compares five different pianists versions of Bach's Invention #1. Although I suggest stopping after the first four and listening to Gould's version here - he hums along as he plays.]

The point being that the same source can produce vastly different end results depending on the individual bringing it to life. And this is not necessarily a bad thing because it gives us a chance to see (or hear or read or whatever) something from a new perspective.

Does that mean it's always going to be good? No.
Does that mean every person has to like every version? No.
Does that mean that there aren't certain standards of quality to be applied? No.

What it does mean is that clinging to a single version of a song or type of story can mean you miss out on something else good.

Why am I mentioning this? Because yesterday the trailer for the new Ghostbusters movie came out. And there is a lot of hate for it. Some of it centers around the fact that the new team is all-female. Some of it centers around the fact that the sense of humor is different. But most of it boils down to "But I liked the original and this is different. Boohoo." (Seriously, the number of folks talking about how the new movie is ruining their (already in the past) childhood is just... stunning. Like the new movie is going to erase the old one.)

Remember when I mentioned being a fan, but not so much a member of particular fandoms? Here's where that becomes relevant.

I first saw Ghostbusters in my early teens (well, after it had first come out, although we were still using VHS tapes) and I loved it. I even daydreamed about what it would be like to be a Ghostbuster. I'm still a fan of the original movie. But here's the thing.

Yesterday, as the trailer was being rapidly disliked on YouTube by a bunch of butt-hurt older fans, I went and looked up the trailer for the 1984 movie - just by way of comparison. And... it's not great. (Partly because, you know, the 80s.) It's not terrible either. It's the sort of thing that will immediately appeal to some folks and not to others. The humor will make some people laugh, and miss completely with others.

Does the trailer for the new Ghostbusters make me dance around the room with excitement? No.
Are all of the jokes laugh out loud funny (to me)? No.
Do I think it looks like a complex and nuanced plot? No.

But it is going to be new riff on a story and world I like. And if it turns out to be awful it won't change the story and world I like. (Again. New versions of old movies are not like the Terminator - they don't travel back and change the past.) And if it turns out to be good, then all the more to love.

I won't let my nostalgia get in the way of enjoying something different.

No comments: