1980s movies bring originality to cinema

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1980s movies bring originality to cinema

The possibilities of 80's movies premises were endless.

The possibilities of 80's movies premises were endless.

Claire Meyer

The possibilities of 80's movies premises were endless.

Claire Meyer

Claire Meyer

The possibilities of 80's movies premises were endless.

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Reboots. Sequels. Prequels. Spin-offs. Adaptation. Repeat.

Today, a large majority of our movie intake is, to put it frankly, unoriginal. They are, in some way, based on another idea. Take 2017, for instance. “Kong Skull Island” was captivating, but a reboot. “Spiderman: Homecoming” was wonderful, but a remake. “The Lego Batman Movie” is all of the above?

This isn’t to say current movies aren’t entertaining because they most definitely are. They just lack a certain innovative quality. We’ll call this the add-on effect.

This isn’t to say current movies aren’t entertaining because they most definitely are. They just lack a certain innovative quality.”

— Claire Meyer, 11

However, it wasn’t always this way. The ’80s hold a plethora of original screenplays still revered to this day. “Back to the Future.” “Footloose.” “The Goonies.” “Top Gun.” “Adventures in Babysitting.” These movies, along with many others, used their authentic plots, characters and tones to create the best cinematic era in history.

The add-on effect is by no means a bad thing, and, in some cases, is even necessary. For a more recent example, “The Dark Knight” is the best of its trilogy by far. One of the most iconic DC characters is introduced, and the plot is darker and more intense than the first without going overboard. However, it’s a pretty close call between watching that, or the 1989 “Batman,” starring one of the most dynamic acting duos ever, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

Speaking of, no actors quite brought their characters to life as they did back then. Kurt Russell in “Big Trouble in Little China” made viewers believe the fantastical world he was pulled into. All three of the stars in “Ferris Buller’s Day Off,” Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara, had amazing chemistry which led viewers on an adventure every high schooler dreams of having. Without these astounding actors, the era may not have reached its current level of iconicity.

Star Wars,” for instance, has one of the most recognizable and complex soundtracks of all time. Each character has a specific theme. Not only that, most people would be able to identify the opening crawl with yellow text against a star-spotted sky. Directors and producers in the ’80s weren’t afraid to step out of the box and make their movies unique.

Not only that, most anyone would be able to identify the opening crawl with yellow text against a star spotted sky.”

— Claire Meyer, 11

Even movies which now have suffered the add-on effect, such as “Star Wars” or “Karate Kid,” had their best run in the ’80s. As much as I love the all-female reboot of “Ghostbusters” and its quirky humor, nothing can top the pure fun of the original. Some people would say that a giant Stay Puff Marshmallow Man threatening to destroy the city is kitschy at best, but I find it endearing. Again, movies like this one were creative, different and pushed the limits. Movies then were made to entertain people, to give them heroes to root for. It was important to enjoy what you were watching and to have a full cinematic experience.

Altogether, these movies have a rewatchability factor that simply cannot be beaten. In my lifetime, I’ve seen “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” enough to quote almost the entire film. While this isn’t unusual for me, it does go to show just exactly how lovable these films are. They set the stage for future movies of their genre, whether horror or action. You can see the tropes and themes in movies today, that began in the ’80s.

In short, we too often see the cinematic industry as a money-making scheme, but it is so much more. It’s an art form and must be treated as one. The most amazing thing about cinema is the ability to bring something entirely new to life. ’80s movies did just that, and we’ll forever remember them for it.

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