The 1980s… Madonna sang that she felt “shiny and new,” and so felt we all. Or most of us, anyway. The gritty realism of ‘70s cinema and the social commentary of ‘70s TV—incoming President Reagan apparently banished it all, and the emphasis in entertainment was squarely on fantasy and transformation.
Smash TV, the megamix geniuses recently responsible for “Skinemax” and “Memorex” have completed the third installment, titled “Megaplex.”
To watch “Megaplex” is to be transported into a gleaming and undeniably mind-boggling place dominated by lasers, cyborgs, break-dancing, video games, pro wrestling, and—most importantly—transformative shafts of light. The disbelieving eyeballs repeatedly emphasize the crucial role of wonder in the 1980s aesthetic. The key word for a teenager coming of age during the go-go cable TV Reagan years, as co-creator Ben Craw told me in an email, is “awesome”:
When you’re age 4 to about 11, everything is so, so awesome. You are naive, and you haven’t matured yet to the point of irony or self awareness, so not only is everything awesome but you have no sense of shame or restraint in pursuing what you think is awesome.
When you’re dscussing the awesomeness of the 1980s, you have to mention Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and, to a lesser extent, Hulk Hogan, and this video features plenty of all of them. (There’s an amazing montage of winning moves from Stallone’s ode to arm-wrestling, Over the Top.)
Christopher Walken in Brainstorm
It’s tricky to define just what magical thing “Megaplex” is intent on capturing, but it has something to do with the new possibilities afforded by technology. Key texts include the original Tron, Highlander, Electric Dreams, The Last Dragon, Cocoon, Total Recall, Brainstorm...... I’m leaving out so, so many.
Craw’s partner Brendan Shields says that the intent was “to boil down a ton of movies to their most visually interesting couple of minutes and recontextualize them into something bizarre and beautiful.” For his part, Craw says that the video was driven by the need to acknowledge “love for the movie theater, love for the home video, love for cable, it’s all wrapped up together for us.”
Click below to see the video. Note that there is a disclaimer at the start warning of the possibility of “seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.”
Posted by Martin Schneider |
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