Ruined Childhoods

Its one of the most popular phrases used on the internet right now “————– is ruining my childhood.” (There are other versions of the phrase that I won’t dignify them by quoting them since they are only used by the worst the internet has to offer.)   But are Hollywood, producers like Michael Bay and remakes of our childhood favorites really ruining our childhoods?  I’m going to argue that they aren’t.

Recently the world has seen a resurgence of things from the 80’s and early 90’s.  So for people like me who are around 30 now, these properties are what we grew up on.  Michael Bay already has 4 “Transformers” movies made and released, also a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie.  There have been rumors for years about a “Voltron” (Lion Force) movie.  We also know that the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” are getting a movie reboot.  Everytime one of the projects gets announced the internet rises up and starts screaming about how Hollywood (and Bay in particular) are “ruining their childhoods.”

The simple fact is, NO THEY ARE NOT.  Is Hollywood exploiting your childhood, YES, ruining it, NO.  Nothing anyone does now that you have reached adulthood can go back in time and ruin your childhood.   Nothing Hollywood does can take away the good memories you have of watching the shows, playing with the toys, and pretending to be the characters with your friends.

Really think about it, does the new “TMNT” movie really change the good memories of that Halloween you dressed up as your favorite Turtle? Will the “Power Rangers” movie really change the memories of getting that new action figure or toy for your birthday?

While I don’t believe that what anyone does can “ruin your childhood” there are a couple of things Hollywood is doing.

First, what they are actually doing is exploiting your childhood.  Why are all of the things we liked as children coming back around now?  Because we are now in the prime demographic, we are the ones with purchasing power.  People our age want these things to be good so we could share them their children, or because we want to relive the pleasant memories attached to these properties from our childhood.

When the first Bay “Transformers” was released, who do you think made up the audience for the midnight release?  Children? Our Parents?  Of course not, it was a large group of people in their late-20’s & early-30’s that grew up with “Generation 1 Transformers” and wanted to Optimus Prime on the big screen again.

(Side note: if I have to see Prime die in a movie again I’ll probably need therapy.)

In a way this exploitation is also a compliment.  I don’t really remember things our parents grew up with making a return when I was growing up.  Of course they tried to adapt “The Flintstones” into a movie, and there was “The Brady Bunch Movie” but really the things our parents grew up with just live on in TV syndication.  While the things we grew up with keep trying to come back around.

While I don’t think Hollywood is ruining our childhoods, they are committing the biggest sin an adaptation can commit, it makes us wonder if the original was really that good to begin with.   Hollywood can call it a “reboot” a “reimagining” or anything else but basically what they are doing is making an adaptation from the original material, much like taking a book or stage production and turning it into a movie.

The challenges the projects face are similar to what I said the new “Star Wars” movies face. (Don’t feed the Hype Monster) We have great memories of these properties and we get excited to see a new version of them, but when they don’t meet expectations or they end up as bad movies it does seem to hurt just a little more.

There is a way we as fans can stop this from happening, instead of getting on the internet and bitching about the movie, STOP GOWING.  If you complain online but still go and help raise the box office numbers you are not making a difference.

The truth is Hollywood doesn’t care what you say in an internet chat room. However if these movies stop climbing to number 1 at the box office, only then will you have their attention.

Hollywood can’t “ruin your childhood” but they can and will exploit it.  Luckily we can fight back against them. This summer my friends and I boycotted both “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in protest of these bad movies.  If more of you had followed our lead these movies wouldn’t have won their opening weekends and maybe Hollywood would already be paying attention to our anger.

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