Why Nostalgia Still Matters In Today’s Movies

Why Nostalgia Still Matters In Today's Movies
Image Credits: dapsmagic.com & imdb.com

Nostalgia is one of the common things that all of us has gone through in various stages of life, and it doesn’t matter whether we come from the older or younger generation.

But first, what does nostalgia mean? Well, according to Collins English Dictionary, nostalgia refers to “an affectionate feeling you have for the past, especially for a particularly happy time”. It can be anything here, namely the one-time memorable trip that you used to have fun with your friends. Or the pre-pandemic-from-you-know-what era, where we don’t have to worry about, say going to crowded places.

And if you are a movie fan, nostalgia plays a big part as well. Let’s dig deeper into why nostalgia still matters in today’s movies.

Familiarity And Comfort Zone

You see, some people that I know love a good challenge. The kind that does not mind facing something new or uncharted territory such as a drastic career change. And some others, of course, prefer to stick to their comfort zone. The reason for the latter? It’s because a comfort zone is always associated with something safe and predictable.

The same also goes with today’s movies and you can see a lot of them do in Hollywood features. For instance, we have “The Matrix Resurrections” coming out this December, the fourth film in Warner Bros.’ once-lucrative franchise that used to dominate the box office in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) return in "The Matrix Resurrections"
Image Credit: tenor.com

Although the franchise has originally wrapped up its trilogy eighteen years ago, the studio chose to revive it anyway. The reason is usually plain and simple: “The Matrix” franchise has its own large fanbase and Keanu Reeves, the main star of the film, is on a roll these days, thanks to his career renaissance in “John Wick” films. I mean, he even sports the same hairstyle in both aforementioned films.

Whether “The Matrix Resurrections” can successfully revive the franchise in terms of box-office results is anybody’s guess at the moment. But one thing is for sure, the studio can at least take comfort because fans and audiences alike will show up in the cinemas anyway. Among various factors have to do with the familiarity of the character, given the iconic role of Neo played by Keanu Reeves. Those who used to adore the trilogy back in the day will be curious about how the filmmaker (director Lana Wachowski) is going to expand the storyline.

Back to The Matrix (Resurrections)!
Image Credit: tenor.com

The Power Of Easter Eggs

No, it has nothing to do with those literal Easter eggs. But more of the hidden meaning associated with the Easter eggs. It’s like those who celebrate Easter Day hide the Easter eggs for the children to find them a.k.a. egg hunt. Except in the case of Easter eggs found in the movie terms, they usually come in the form of visuals or messages. They can be in plain sight or something blink-and-you-miss-it that you need to pay attention to every scene of the movie.

"I understood that reference"
Image Credit: giphy.com

That being said, Easter eggs and nostalgia incorporated into movies go hand in hand. They are fun to spot and even made you happy, especially for fans and audiences who saw the original in the past.

Case in point, a supernatural comedy called “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (in our local cinemas from December 2 onwards), the long-awaited third “Ghostbusters” film to the 1989 sequel. Having seen the movie earlier in the press screening, I noticed there were a few media attendees and bloggers having a field day spotting plenty of Easter eggs. Easter eggs that are mostly referenced the beloved 1984 original. It’s like a fun, interactive game. But without the actual need of getting up and find the hidden visuals or messages.

The cute but mischievous Mini Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife"
Image Credit: giphy.com

Emotional Connection

Have you noticed that movies these days capitalises on the ’80s nostalgia? For instance, Steven Spielberg’s 2018 sci-fi adventure “Ready Player One” is full of ’80s popular movie references — “The Shining” (1980), “Back to the Future” (1985) and “Akira” (1988). Such a film can attract those who live through that decade before, say when they were children back then. Their good-old-day childhood, in turn, triggers a positive sense of nostalgia as they manage to relive the past through media consumption.

Hollywood’s particular fondness for ’80s nostalgia has to do with the decade of many classics. Or more specifically, timeless classics that many peoples are still talking about them. This, in turn, is good enough for the studios to greenlight a franchise revival that can attract both existing and new fans. This includes the likes of “Rambo”, “Die Hard”, “Indiana Jones”, “Predator” and “Top Gun”, just to name a few.

Like for example, Tom Cruise will be back in the fighter jet again in next year’s “Top Gun: Maverick”, the sequel to the iconic 1986 original. We even get to see soon-to-be octogenarian Harrison Ford returning to his signature adventurer title role in the still-untitled “Indiana Jones 5” due 2023.

Tom Cruise is back in "Top Gun: Maverick"
Image Credit: @topgun

So, what are your takes on nostalgia found in today’s movies these days?