The fashion! The hair! The cars! The music! Ah, the 1980s. Many others, myself included, have a tinge of nostalgia linked to that era even though I was born over a decade after. But somehow a fondness has developed. Or perhaps, an obsession? Particularly in the film and television industry, a slew of productions has been hitting our screens all inspired or based in the 1980s. From original stories like Stranger Things and Ready Player One, or reboots like Mad Max: Fury Road and Blade Runner 2049, these remakes, rehashes, and re-dos have a keen finger for tickling the nostalgia gland and squeezing out that potential viewership to increase the revenue gross. And the latest ‘victim’ of the ’80s deluge is the Transformers franchise, which is in dire need of a nostalgia remedy.
Bumblebee, as the title suggests, is a solo picture revolving around everyone’s favourite yellow and black transforming Camaro but, and in true ’80s fashion I implore, has had a makeover into an adorable yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Also starring Hailee Steinfeld, whilst isn’t an ’80s icon, recently portrayed a troubled teen in The Edge of Seventeen which is eerily reminiscent of coming-of-age classics of John Hughes. As stated before, the Transformers franchise is desperately due for rejuvenation as the financial and critical performances have decreased as they continue to release films.
Here at Much Ado About Cinema, the focus tends to be on films – which is great, but that’s not all cinema amounts to. 2017 was also a great year for television, and there’s a lot of arguments to be made concerning the prestige of the format; with the popularity of netflix and the prominence of many highly-regarded directors flocking to the small screen, television is experiencing something of a resurgence in reputability. With this in mind, Much Ado will be incorporating more coverage of the medium as we head into 2018, and we thought we would begin with a look back on our favourite shows of 2017, from the surprising, to the disappointing, to the consistently brilliant.
To most, American Gods might seem no different than many other fantasy series that are on cable TV, or even the network: it has cool visuals, is based on a book series, and written in hopes of captivating its viewers via carefully crafted plot twists. Built on the already complex premise of Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name, creator Bryan Fuller and his team of writers manage to succesfully carry a transition between two mediums of storytelling by doing that one wouldn’t expect from such a genre, and focusing on the people that fantasy world rather than what makes the world a fantasy one. Of course, the fact that people are mostly the main reason that this world is magic does provide help on this subject to them, but even the visual work here is always about what it tells of instead of what it might show. Fuller might be best known for his visual perfection of Hannibal, but his work here can be even argued to exceed that. Eight episodes, each not longer than an hour, work as book chapters of their own — and they all have their own prologues in most cases, little, thematically coherent cold openings that tell smaller stories with little to no consequence, but are still able to create an impactful parallel with the bigger picture. When looked from afar, American Gods is a masterpiece of filmmaking and production — and that might even be enough for it to be considered as one of the best outings of the year: but the real present opens itself up when one begins to examine the work closely, and finds themselves in a labyrinth of significant questions abot love, life, belief and fate.