Intertextuality

The Nerdwriter’s latest video “Intertextuality: Hollywood’s New Currency” takes a look at how Hollywood is using our nostalgia to play with our emotions in sequels, remakes and even original movies. Inspired by the recent record-breaking live-action Beauty and the Beast trailer (and heres a good side-by-side comparison that furthers the point of this video essay), Nerdwriter presents the idea of a new kind of currency in Hollywood movies called Intertextuality. Hit the jump to find out what Intertextuality is and watch the video essay.

Intertextuality: Hollywood’s New Currency

in·ter·tex·tu·al·i·ty
?in(t)?r?tek(st)SH??wal?d?/
noun
the relationship between texts, especially literary ones.

Now I’m not sure this is a new currency as Nerdwriter suggests, but just an evolution of something that has been going on in Hollywood for decades. Actually, I would think if you look at the oldest written stories and myths, you’d see some early forms of intertextuality at play.

Thats not to say this video essay isn’t worth watching, I wouldn’t be posting it on /Film if it wasn’t. The video presents some great example of Intertextuality in movies, both the good and the bad. I think what the video doesn’t delve into is what makes some intertextuality good like the stuff in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while its obvious and bad in other movies. Sure, he profiles some of the cheesy intertextual reveals but doesn’t really explain why they are bad in terms of storytelling.

In my mind a moment like Kahn’s reveal in Star Trek Into Darkness is bad because it only plays for those people who have seen the the classic Star Trek movie Star Trek: The Wrath Of Kahn. The moment offers nothing for those millennials who haven’t experienced original series Trek media. On the other side of the coin, even someone who hasn’t seen any of the original Star Wars trilogy films will get something from most of those moments from The Force Awakens. Tom Cruise falling from the sky, stopping inches from the ground is a great action moment, regardless of if you’ve seen the previous films and realize its a call back. So I think the key for intertextuality in movies is it needs to serve a dual purpose, and if it doesn’t, it often won’t work.

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