Over the weekend, while conversing with a friend about movies we’d both recently watched, my friend commented that she’s been working her way through the four Indiana Jones films.
I quickly stopped her and jokingly told her there are only three Indiana Jones movies, as the series surely stopped at Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)! Of course I know that’s not true, there is a fourth entry – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – but I don’t particularly care for it and as such disregard it whenever possible.
We then both laughed, making light of the fact that neither of us particularly liked the fourth Indy movie and that in our opinion the series should have stopped with three movies. But as neither of us were involved with the production of the Indiana Jones films (more’s the pity), we have to graciously accept that four do exist.
As the conversation continued I noted that while I used to own all four films on DVD, when I upgraded to digital HD I made the decision not to re-buy Crystal Skull. My reasoning? Well, if I don’t particularly enjoy it, why upgrade? That’s not to say that I want it erased from existence, I appreciate many people like it, but it is to say that it simply does nothing for me, so now I just ignore it.
I grew up with the original Indiana Jones trilogy and would watch the movies whenever they aired on TV. As a child, I often reenacted scenes from the series (pretending I was Indy, of course) and as such they became an important part of my childhood.
Although I also grew up when the Indiana Jones TV series aired, I never watched it. It simply didn’t grab my attention. I’ve never really followed any of the associated material (games, comics etc) either. My interest in Indiana Jones was and is purely connected to the original three films.
I appreciate that other forms of Indy exist and that at some point in the future, we’re likely to see the oft-rumoured Indiana Jones 5 arrive in cinemas. Do I particularly want to see it? No, but that’s mostly because, as mentioned above, I didn’t really like the fourth one so a further entry just doesn’t appeal.
It’s the same for the Predator series, which recently returned to cinema screens with Shane Black’s The Predator (2018). As previously noted on the blog, I didn’t particularly like The Predator and as such I feel like I’m done with the series.
Looking back, I’ve not liked any of the Predator films other than the original. I adore the original, but the others just don’t fill me with any sense of enjoyment.
The reason I mention all this is because I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m fine with simply letting go. If something doesn’t work for me, even if it’s part of an ongoing series or a sprawling franchise, I’m completely happy with just leaving it be if it doesn’t connect with me.
I don’t own Indiana Jones. I don’t own the Predator. I don’t own any of these properties. I’m merely someone who has found enjoyment in these stories, because at one point in time they connected with me.
While I would love all of the characters of my childhood to continue to appeal to me again and again and again, I do realise that’s not likely to happen. At some point in time I will outgrow the material or it will outgrow me.
Over the last couple of years there has been a lot of chatter and backlash from fan bases unhappy with studios and the like, claiming that the latest iteration of the Ninja Turtles or ThunderCats or Star Wars is ‘ruining’ their childhood.
It’s not. It’s really not.
Times change, things change, people change.
The old material? It doesn’t change. It’s still there.
Joaquin Phoenix’s new Joker doesn’t replace Heath Ledger’s Joker or Cesar Romero’s Joker, he simply sits alongside these other Jokers.
If a film series takes a new direction and I don’t like it, it’s my choice whether I want to stick with it or not. Sure, I appreciate that some new material can retcon old stories, but that doesn’t mean I have to let it – I can stop watching before the retcon takes place.
I can watch the things I like and I can ignore the rest. I can hold onto the things that work and I can let go of the things that don’t.
The older I get, the less time I have in my life for things that don’t work. So, I leave them be and I appreciate the things that do.
I’m learning when to let go.