So I had a chance to watch Baywatch about a day or two ago (got pushed down really low on the list, between there being a ton of stuff on my plate and other films whose reviews set them far higher on my film priority list), and after hearing a number of reviews talking about how bad it was, and how disappointing it got despite having the potential to be 'so much more', having been based on a more beloved original television series from the 90's, I have to say...I was greatly disappointed. Not in the film itself, but the way it had been judged. I had decided to watch the movie purely because of Dwayne Johnson, one of my idols, as well as Zac Effron, Priyanka Chopra, and Alexandra Daddario (who had previously played the daughter of Johnson's character in 2015's San Andreas).
Despite this cast however, I went into the film expecting an extremely poor performance overall, save for the main stars of the film, as well as a movie that required genuine effort to like and laugh at it, as was my personal experience with Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Now while it might be true that actors like Johnson, Effron, Daddario, even Jon Bass and Ilfenesh Hadera held up the film under their more than capable shoulders, the truth is...the film wasn't half as bad as I was led to believe. While a lot of criticism was directed at the dick jokes and dirty, crude whimsy, I didn't find it as besieged by such 'locker-room humour' as I had been made to understand either. In fact, I might even assert that proportionally, this film has far fewer such jokes than last year's Deadpool, a film that did far better by comparison (though that may very well be attributed to the large fan base both the character and the actor have).
Still, the fact that the original Baywatch placed significant emphasis on male eye candy (and female eye candy for those that had eyes for Hasselhoff himself, the original star of the franchise), shouldn't make it surprising that a remake in 2017 should be as raunchy and R-Rated as the film gets. And yet it doesn't prove to be nearly as raw as it was made to sound either. Some critics even laid emphasis to a specific scene that reached back a little bit into Effron's character's tough beginnings, claiming that the film deviates back to its less-than-charming approach shortly thereafter as opposed to following this more inspired line of thought. Instead, my view of how that entire scene played out and what the character had to say about said tough times and how he sees them seemed to say plenty about whether they ought to have been focused on more, or simply acknowledged and then pressed on forward.
Well put together, with only mildly 'cringeworthy' and awkward moments, such as (what felt to me at least), the development of Bass's and Rohrbach's characters (the plump nerd with a hardon for the blond lifeguard, and said lifeguard, CJ Parker) with regard to each other, as well as a bit during the Rock's macho, manly monologue to the film's villain (mitigated somewhat by the fact that someone as physically imposing and present as the Rock was delivering it), the film was a decent approach to a reboot, and while Hasselhoff (who cameos in the film too), believes that it would never be able to hold a candle to the original Baywatch and the work he put into it, and it may well not, I believe it would at least behoove us to try and look at the film for the standalone film it is as well, instead of only comparing it to what came before it.
Classic films, series, and games will always be iconic juxtaposed with any that come after. What becomes the immediate tendency of many is to compare the newcomers with their past counterparts, and immediately judge the former releases for lacking or changing those things the originals became so renowned for in their time and age, instead of recognizing them for being modern day interpretations of what the latter groups once stood for, and possibly adapted to those living in the current day and age. I completely understand that there are a great many people who fancy the charm and debonair of the old times, and that there are even some who belong to my own generation who do so as well. In those times perhaps, even the original Baywatch might have seemed raunchy and raw to some. Who knows? What many fail to understand however, is that today...there does in fact exist an audience that appreciate movies, series and games with a seemingly endless (to some) plethora of swearing, sex jokes, and they can in fact draw entertainment from such content as well.
What I think I am really griping about here is the fact that this is usually met with a 'whatever' reaction, as though it is something one can't ever be proud of. Why is it that in a world where blacks, women, the LGBT and untold other previously veiled groups are being recognized for their uniqueness and difference from the 'norm', as well as what they can bring to the table, as opposed to being crucified for it, having a preference and perspective you like can be either something you wear as a mark of pride or something you just don't tell people because you know you'd get judged for it? Gamers today still face criticism from so called 'popular folk', between supposedly constructive criticism about the negative effects of gaming on the human psyche and their potential to engender violent tendencies in people, especially youngsters, but which often turns into a subtle scrapfest to all-out slander games themselves, to immature, jerk-ish jabs at gamers about having 'no lives and no girlfriends', simply because they like to spend time controlling their entertainment hand-to-interface as opposed to simply watching or listening to it.
I was recently on a forum where there was talk about why Dante, a beloved character from the Devil May Cry videogame series, was better than his reboot counterpart, nicknamed 'Donte' (both pictured above) by fans of the original, and why the newly conceived take on the character had ruined everything. While I can completely see the appeal behind the original, having played the third game for a while and followed playthroughs of the second and third, Dante's quirky charm, suave, friendly nature, and marginally more archaic 'heroic' look being replaced by a tank top, jeans, ankle length jacket and a punk's bad attitude didn't seem all that bad of a change to me. Cursing like a sailor, ragged and uncouth, and giving absolutely no f*cks about how people see him...the new Dante seems to be everything I'd ever want to be if I'd been forced to live on the fringes of a brainwashed society; especially since, when shit hits the fanblades, he's the only one capable of holding his own, and looking out for any others if they've earned his favour. Its a character we've seen and heard of before, in countless different skins and wrappings. And the only reason this redesign gets so much crap is because people cannot let go of that which came before.
I'll extend an olive branch here; I have a deep personal love for the Mass Effect Trilogy, following the story of Commander Shepard and his band of colourful friends. This particular trilogy resonated with me on levels no other videogame ever had, and on which likely no other videogame might ever do so again...maybe. I firmly believe it to be one of the most important games and franchises that ever became a part of my life besides Transformers, having learned much in life from both. And when I heard that the newest entry in the series, Mass Effect Andromeda (that I have not yet played), would not continue Shepard's story arc, but would instead soft reboot the franchise in the galaxy next door, with a completely new character, supporting allies, enemies, and even a new ship (replacing the iconic Normandy), I was just the slightest bit upset that that would be the end of everything I'd ever come to love and believe in from the past games. But trusting in the developers who made masterpieces of the last story, broken down over the course of three games, I shall play the new game, and I firmly believe that what I find shall be different, but ultimately will be, the new direction of things, and a direction I will learn to embrace. And if it has really fallen too far from the resplendent brilliance of the original trilogy, I could always just go back to said originals and enjoy those once more. They would forever be immortalized for what they were anyway.
The same goes for the games Transformers: War For Cybertron and Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron, wherein the vast redesigns the sequel underwent in its mechanics and style was met with some criticism from gamers of the previous entry, who argued that a lack of co-op campaign mode and no accompanying allies in battle (as had been the case in the first game) would make it unenjoyable. Having played both games, I can confidently say that High Moon Studios exceeded all expectations with the game, as can any others who played it too.
Ultimately, I believe the base problem here lies with people unable to accept and embrace change. And if we are truly for a progressive society, a progressive way of life...this is a problem that needs to be tackled, in all areas of life, not just on the topics that are brought to light or draw great attention on their own. And if that does not prove possible, then it might at least improve the situation if change and difference were viewed and scrutinized from a position of neutrality, rather than vehemently opposed on the grounds of one-sided bias.
With reviews at least, I believe they should do more to highlight which audiences might appreciate certain films, series and games, as opposed to declaring them unworthy of anyone's time simply because they personally cannot enjoy it themselves. And do so without appearing completely dismissive of them, themselves. If there are groups that enjoy such films, it is only right that in a society like ours, they should be represented. It is then that we would exhibit a greater acceptance of different kinds of people and their alternate, occasionally conflicting viewpoints. There are enough films, series and games coming out every week, month or year to more than satiate everyone's preferred entertainment diets.
Anyway, this was me letting off some steam about the way people view differences and changes in modern entertainment and media genres, so if I came across too harsh or unreasonable, or as targeting any specific groups unfairly, then I apologize in advance, as that was not my intention.
Otherwise, if you felt like anything I've said here resonates with you as well, lemme know in the comments, and don't forget to upvote if it does. Need dat STEEM Power :P