Maybe I’m just too old and cranky to enjoy them anymore, but there are a few movies I watched often when I was younger and when I try to watch them now… I just can’t.
When it first came out, I fell in love with the atmosphere of this movie. Dark and moody, it was almost black and white the color palette was so monochromatic. A violent tale about a musician resurrected as a spirit of vengeance to repay the men who murdered him and his wife. Awesome premise and it was cool to watch when I was a twenty, but when I watch it now, I realize atmosphere is the only thing it had going for it. The acting just isn’t strong enough to make up for the corny dialog and non-existant plot, and the action scenes are almost boring compared to what we get today in movies like John Wick, or even The Matrix that came out just five years after The Crow. It plays more like a horror movie where we are rooting for the killer. It’s just death scenes chained together. Maybe if it had a cool soundtrack.
Highlander had an AWESOME soundtrack. The music of Queen was one of the best things about the movie and upon re-watching it not too long ago… that’s about all it really had going for it. I always loved sword fights in movies and maybe back in ’86 the action was great, but for a movie that is all about sword fights, it just doesn’t hold up against movies that came after, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Kill Bill. No, you know what, even The Princes Bride, which came out a year later had more entertaining swordplay and I still enjoy watching Conan the Barbarian, which is four years older than Highlander.
The premise is still good though. I mean it obviously still attracts people since it spawned numerous sequels and TWO television series. This is actually a property I would like to see get a reboot. Better acting, dialog and modern fight choreography has the potential to breathe new life into this franchise.
The Last Starfighter
A video game that was secretly a test to a new life where you’re a Starship pilot and galactic hero, was a dream to eleven year old me. Watching it again over thirty years later and the computer graphics are painful to watch. That’s understandable, but I can still appreciate the animation in Tron, which came out two years earlier. I realize I am no longer the target audience for this movie. I’m just too old and expect more from a movie than some funny dialog and alien costumes. The story essentially has the main character going to space, coming back home, going back to space, one brief fight which he wins by pressing a button, he goes home again, credits roll. Ready Player One did well in the theatres, so maybe Hollywood will turn Ernest Clines other novel Armada into a movie. It’s story is pretty similar to Starfighter.
Yeah, I know, I loved it too but seriously, go watch The Dark Knight Rises and then try and watch Tim Burtons take on the worlds greatest detective. Nicholson’s performance is only a slight step above Cesar Romero, and I don’t know how I ever thought Michael Keaton was a credible action hero.
Now, none of this is to say that old movies are bad. I still love watching Willow, The Goonies, the original Star Wars trilogy (wish they had the non-special edition on Blueray). The Shinning and John Carpenters The Thing are still scary as hell. I just watched Robocop again last night and it was still awesome. I think I just had lower standards when I was younger, or maybe it was just easier to suspend my disbelief. For whatever reason though, I’ve fallen out of love with some of my favorite films. Maybe reboots aren’t all that bad.