The Rise of Nostalgia in Cinema


It was an immense privilege for me to be asked to draw up the Iconic Firehouse sets for the new Ghostbusters movie "Frozen Empire". These jobs don't come around all that often and for whatever reason, call it fate call it luck call it karma, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. You see Ghostbusters for me is the perfect film, released in a golden age of cinema that went on to define the 80's. If you ask anyone to describe the 80's I guarantee that they'll say Back to the Future, Karate Kid and Ghostbusters. So it's safe to say I certainly went into this job with a great weight of expectation, trepidation and nervousness. As a massive Ghostbusters fan I wanted to get all the details right not just for the fans but for myself.

The biggest compliment of my career so far was when Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd came to see the set just before we shot it and were blown away by the scale and the attention to detail with Dan commenting "It's just like it was in 84" and Bill shaking my hand and saying "You're ok by me babe"

To bring the firehouse back to life for a new generation of fans also got me thinking about nostalgia cinema. In the last few years we've had Star Wars sequels and prequels, Disney live action remakes and a host of other films and TV shows getting re-booted and remade for a new generation whilst trying to hook in the older generations with a good sprinkle of nostalgia. 

Nostalgia cinema has become a potent force in modern filmmaking, weaving a tapestry of memory, emotion, and imagination that transcends generational boundaries. But why do people flock to these films, yearning for a bygone era, and why is it so important to them?

At its core, nostalgia cinema taps into our innate desire for familiarity and comfort. In a rapidly changing world, where uncertainty looms large, revisiting the familiar landscapes of our past offers solace and a sense of belonging. Whether it's the iconic Delorean cruising through time in "Back to the Future" or the spectral chaos of the Ghostbusters' proton packs, these films can transport audiences back to a simpler time.

Moreover, nostalgia cinema serves as a cultural touchstone, preserving the ethos and zeitgeist of bygone eras for future generations to explore and appreciate. Just as the Firehouse set in "Frozen Empire" reignited the magic of the original "Ghostbusters" for a new audience, these cinematic reimaginings bridge the gap between past and present, fostering a shared experience that transcends age and background.

But perhaps most importantly, nostalgia cinema reminds us of the enduring power of storytelling. Through the lens of nostalgia, filmmakers breathe new life into beloved tales, infusing them with contemporary relevance while honoring their timeless appeal. Whether it's a galaxy far, far away or a city plagued by supernatural forces, these stories resonate because they speak to universal themes of heroism, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil.

So, the next time you find yourself immersed in the glow of a nostalgia-fueled cinema experience, remember that you're not just reliving the past — you're embarking on a journey through the annals of cinematic history, where the magic of storytelling knows no bounds. As the saying goes, "what's past is prologue," and in the ever-evolving landscape of cinema, nostalgia remains a guiding light, illuminating the path forward with a sense of wonder and possibility.

"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" is out now.


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