I had a very depressing trip to the movies this week. I went to see “Star Wars – The Rise Of Skywalker” and as I sat through the movie trailers I found myself being shown movie after movie where old men refuse to step aside and let young people have their turn.
Picard is coming out of retirement to save Star Fleet. A well-past-his-sell-by-date-for-this-sort-of-thing Tom Cruise is coming back to show the young Top Guns how it’s done. Harrison Ford, as well as ghosting in Star Wars, is the lead for a physically arduous role in the Yukon in “Call Of The Wild” leading me to wonder if he’s as much an animation as the dog. Will Smith is back as an aging but not grown up Bad Boy in “Bad Boys For Life” with him and his partner showing the young people how it’s done.
I remember when most movies seemed to be made for people under twenty-five. Now they seem to be made for people over fifty (or sixty) who want to be sold the lie that their skills haven’t decayed into decrepitude. I’m sixty-three and the message I got from this barrage of movies is that the old people are never ever going to get out of the way and let the young people lead. They’re going to appear in endless repetitions of their largely-imagined glory days until they die and even then, they may make it into cameos when needed.
The Star Wars movie felt like another riff on this theme. The movie’s tagline is “No One’s Ever Really Gone”. It seemed to me that the subtext was: even when their dead we can still put them in movies and we can sell the same movie WITH THE SAME STARS over and over again.
I think Hollywood needs to move on. Stop giving us romanticised biopics about yesterday’s heroes and endless franchised super-heroes played by people who’ve become too old to pull it off and DO SOMETHING NEW.