Do movies ''age'' or not?

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A specific example, which you amy have an equivalent to, is gone with the wind. I disliked it for its sappiness, which I guess people were more tolerant towards in the 1930s, but I'm not. However I'd write that down as ''not for me'', not necessarily ''bad''. Not at all. I see there's a lot of stuff to enjoy here. After all, a piece of media referenced in Tank Vixens can't be bad.
GWTW was a period piece when it came out in 1939 & itís still a period piece. It doesn't sound anachronistic or dated at all. So, for me, itís a classic movie & holds up very well since our viewing experience in 2022 is the same as someoneís who watched it in 1939. (The delivery service of the movie is probably different though vis-ŗ-vis going to a movie theater or streaming it.)
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GWTW was a period piece when it came out in 1939 & itís still a period piece. It doesn't sound anachronistic or dated at all. So, for me, itís a classic movie & holds up very well since our viewing experience in 2022 is the same as someoneís who watched it in 1939. (The delivery service of the movie is probably different though vis-ŗ-vis going to a movie theater or streaming it.)
GWTW today even looks better than when it first premiered as all three of the Red/Blue/Green Technicolor film strips have been restored and digitally HD scanned, then all three film strips are precision aligned digitally, resulting in a super sharp image. Originally the three colored film strips were hand aligned and glued which resulted in a softer image.



GWTW today even looks better than when it first premiered as all three of the Red/Blue/Green Technicolor film strips have been restored and digitally HD scanned, then all three film strips are precision aligned digitally, resulting in a super sharp image. Originally the three colored film strips were hand aligned and glued which resulted in a softer image.
Good to know. Havenít re-watched it now for quite a few years though Iíve seen it at least 3X.



Good to know. Havenít re-watched it now for quite a few years though Iíve seen it at least 3X.
I've been meaning to rewatch it too, last time was the fully restored HD version and OMG was that nice looking!



The 'movie has aged', is a way to dismiss older movies when one doesn't agree with the film's social or behavioral messages. But why would agreeing or disagreeing with a movie's message have anything to do with the movie itself 'aging'.

It's like a film only appears to have aged if it doesn't suit the viewer's modern taste and belief system. Thus to them the movie's ideas are out of date with the way things are today. But then again old movies aren't about today, they are about yesterday and so reflect yesterday's social trends.

Let's take Birth of a Nation, has it aged due to it's racist message? There's still people today who agree with that message so that would make it's message still relevant as there are those who the film still speaks to...Not to mention the movie was condemned for it's racist message at the time of it's release. So today's majority viewpoint was present back then too, but certainly Birth of a Nation couldn't be said to 'have aged' at it's movie premiere.

"Some" - there's a lot of numbers between 0 and 100 when we're talking about percents of a population.
And just looking at the percentage of the population for whom those problems existed also misses the degree to which it was a problem, or deemed unacceptable, has also grown.



"Some" - there's a lot of numbers between 0 and 100 when we're talking about percents of a population.
And just looking at the percentage of the population for whom those problems existed also misses the degree to which it was a problem, or deemed unacceptable, has also grown.
But does it even matter if a films' themes/meanings agree or disagree with the majority. I don't see why it should, so that's why I think the term 'aged' is inaccurate, there's better ways to describe a film than by saying it's aged.



But does it even matter if a films' themes/meanings agree or disagree with the majority. I don't see why it should, so that's why I think the term 'aged' is inaccurate, there's better ways to describe a film than by saying it's aged.
Just occurred to me: Why doesnít anyone ever say that the Mona Lisa has aged?



But does it even matter if a films' themes/meanings agree or disagree with the majority. I don't see why it should, so that's why I think the term 'aged' is inaccurate, there's better ways to describe a film than by saying it's aged.

If the degree of the disagreement or the percentage disagreeing changes considerably with time, then that's... aging. If those trend in the negative direction, then it's aged poorly, and if it trends in the positive direction (or if it's popular and remains nearly just as popular), then that means it's aged well.
Like a wine.


Like, aging, changing with time. In the case of film, how we interact with it as time goes on.


"Dated" on the other hand usually has negative connotations. I think there are some neutral uses of it, but if someone has said a "film has aged," without saying "well" or "poorly", I wouldn't necessarily even know what they're trying to say (unless they're talking about the actual filmstock).



Just occurred to me: Why doesnít anyone ever say that the Mona Lisa has aged?

Because she isn't Dorian Grey.



And yes, a lot of people do lazily dismiss older films as looking dated or just being dated, rather than engaging with it and actually evaluating if their statement even has any merit, and it is frustrating.


That doesn't mean there aren't films that are dated, or have aspects of them that are. Though, in my limited experience, the people who do engage in such things in good faith usually at least say, "did this age poorly or well," and avoid the term, "dated."


That might be current my myopic, social linguistic trends.



If the degree of the disagreement or the percentage disagreeing changes considerably with time, then that's... aging. If those trend in the negative direction, then it's aged poorly, and if it trends in the positive direction (or if it's popular and remains nearly just as popular), then that means it's aged well...
Gosh that's kinda icky (not you, but current movie viewing trends in general). It's sad that social media has made people feel the need to upvote or downvote everything they encounter in life, based on trending social values. I never followed the crowd and never will. I do thank you for explaining your point.



Gosh that's kinda of icky (not you, but current movie viewing trends in general). It's sad that social media has made people feel the need to upvote or downvote everything they encounter in life, based on trending social values. I never followed the crowd and never will. I do thank you for explaining your point.

Well, I was writing in response to the racism in The Birth of a Nation. And it was trying lay out the semantics of why the term, "aging," makes sense. Sometimes how a film ages also is used as, "how does the film age as we age," ie, does the film say something different to the viewer as they get older and might empathize with different characters.


I think if you think it icky, keep in mind, I usually encounter this more as thoughtful criticism of films, so when it's discussed, it's often one aspect of a film being discussed. So, when I hear it, it's not inherently tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Or even when it does ruin the film for them, it's not like they're incapable of talking about aspects of the film that do work.


And people talk about other things besides themes or characterizations aging, even things of special effects. Also phrased as, "how well do they hold up?"


It's (in its better form) more than just a like/dislike button.



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@Takoma11 Fair point. I also think it's possible for a film to both have elements that are of their time and those that still would work today.

For example with Lawrence Of Arabia, the casting of Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn in Arab roles was a result of the 60's movie climate not allowing for many foreign actors to take center stage. But on the other hand the commentary on race relations, US interference in Middle Eastern conflicts and the moral dilemma Peter O'Toole's character goes through as he can't decide where his loyalties lie are remarkably ahead of their time. And even with the aforementioned aspects, Guinness and Quinn give such amazing performances I can overlook the circumstances that made them get casted.



@Takoma11 Fair point. I also think it's possible for a film to both have elements that are of their time and those that still would work today.

For example with Lawrence Of Arabia, the casting of Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn in Arab roles was a result of the 60's movie climate not allowing for many foreign actors to take center stage. But on the other hand the commentary on race relations, US interference in Middle Eastern conflicts and the moral dilemma Peter O'Toole's character goes through as he can't decide where his loyalties lie are remarkably ahead of their time. And even with the aforementioned aspects, Guinness and Quinn give such amazing performances I can overlook the circumstances that made them get casted.
Right. Like, most of the Judy Garland films I watched had elements that are universal. People wanting to put on a show, struggling with their artistic authenticity, trying to balance work and romantic relationships, etc.

But watching (and being expected to be happy about) people dressed up in blackface doing stereotyped voices and playing their Black characters as stupid? Just no thank you. That's racist trash and I don't want to watch it, much less with music and context that suggests I should be cheering and that what I'm seeing is quirky fun.

I also think it's possible to acknowledge elements that have aged and weigh those against the rest of the film. That's more of a personal decision for the person watching the movie, of course. "The rest of the film was so good that I could ignore the XYZ". For me, elements that I refer to as "aged" not only reflect attitudes/biases of the time, but do so in a way that's so egregious that it actually disrupts my immersion in the film. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's is a great example of this. Every time he was on screen it was like throwing cold water over my experience of the film.



People often talk about how whether a movie has ''aged well'' or does it ''hold up today'', which people often counter by saying it's not a valid thing to ask since it's the same movie it was before. I'm asking you where you stand on that debate.

My stance is that movies don't ''age'' per se, but can be widely misinterpreted at release, or widely misinterpreted now, due to cultural context. For a movie, or any piece of art, to be good, it needs to have something in it that's universal (though not always easy to see).

To give some examples, the original King Kong is talked about for being the first movie to utilize so many special effects, composites, and camera tricks to create believable fantastical imagery. But watching it today, not knowing that, you still end up seeing a well-paced adventure with a lovingly crafted tropical island and giant monke. That doesn't lead you to think it has ''aged well'', just that it's good. No need for forthetimeisms to enjoy it, or to recommend it.

Ghost in the Shell is another example. absolute turd, but how did it gain so much cultural relevance? My guess is that it was the 90s, the grunge era, when everyone loved beating off to depression. Plus it was when that fruity anime cargo cult was still new, so it had a guaranteed niche.

There's a point to be made about movies that focus their stories on current world issues, in that the closer you get to the core of it, the better you will be. Idiocracy is a mid-2000s satire about the dumbing down of society, which only succeeds in some areas. It's still good, still funny, but there are moments when you go ''this is so Bush-era''.
Blade runner (far-fetched comparison, I know) is a story about a world gone confusing and dehumanizing due to too much technology. They had good knowledge of exactly what's wrong with such a world, what lead to it, how one can react to it, etc, and incorporated all that in a cohesive story. It's obvious why it's more appreciated today than it was at release, because the things that inspired it have only become worse and harder to ignore. So you never go ''this is so 80s''. Or maybe because they've been bombarded by bad, vapid imitators like ghost in the shell which completely missed the point of what cyberpunk is. So one good cyberpunk story now seems like mana from heaven.

A specific example, which you amy have an equivalent to, is gone with the wind. I disliked it for its sappiness, which I guess people were more tolerant towards in the 1930s, but I'm not. However I'd write that down as ''not for me'', not necessarily ''bad''. Not at all. I see there's a lot of stuff to enjoy here. After all, a piece of media referenced in Tank Vixens can't be bad.
It's just another way of saying that it's still relevant today. That's all.

Have CGI effects surpassed The Mummy (1999)? Yes. Unfortunately, that movie has aged poorly. Of no fault of its own, mind you.

Are the themes in The Craft (1996) still relevant in today's world, despite some slightly dated CGI? Absolutely! That movie has aged very well.

Anyway, that's how I interpret it.
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All I know is I can really relate to those Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland movies!

Why, hardly a weekend goes by in my neighborhood when some group of teenagers isn't putting on a show down at the old barn to save their uncle's farm! And they get that old barn cleaned up so nice that, by the last number of the show, the inside looks like an 80 thousand square foot soundstage complete with multiple moving staircases enough to hold 100 high-kicking showgirls, an orchestra, a marching band and a swimming pool!
Hey, "Glee" and all those "High Schools Musical" movies were basically updated versions of the "Hey Kids, Let's Put On A Show" films.



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It's just another way of saying that it's still relevant today. That's all.

Have CGI effects surpassed The Mummy (1999)? Yes. Unfortunately, that movie has aged poorly. Of no fault of its own, mind you.

Are the themes in The Craft (1996) still relevant in today's world, despite some slightly dated CGI? Absolutely! That movie has aged very well.

Anyway, that's how I interpret it.
Ironic that the 1932 Mummy seems to have aged better then the 1999 version.