Or would it?
Growing up, I did not like films. I watched a few Disney films on repeat, but despite wanting to be a Disney princess like many other young girls, I only watched Snow White and Cinderella once or twice. Inevitably, this led to confusion. People couldn't believe I hadn't seen Shrek or The Princess Bride by the time I was fifteen. From sixteen to twenty, I decided to catch up.
Raiders of the Lost Ark! Star Wars: A New Hope! The first three films I mentioned in this article! Up! Footloose, plus the 2011 remake! Ghostbusters! Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl! I watched them all.
I also caught up on more adult-oriented films: Groundhog Day, Fargo, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Sixth Sense, Taxi Driver, Lost in Translation.
So what did I gain from all the films that were missing from my life, before the 2016-2020 time period? As it turned out, not much.
I'm not going to criticize these films in-depth. Some of them were good, some weren't. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if they were good, or if I liked them or not because that's not really relevant here.
I think it's limiting to hold up a small selection of cinematography as the yardstick by which we measure all-new cinema. By doing this, we ignore much of what made these films memorable: they were something new.
Modern nostalgic media attempting to evoke the feel of beloved childhood films often fails. However, this isn't because older films were better - it's because nostalgic films copy already-iconic themes and styles instead of innovating.
The original E.T. was a new experience for families in cinemas that evoked wonder with an original story and impressive effects. Super 8, however, simply give us more of the same formula. In evoking now-classic concepts, they completely miss what made the original great.
Modern-styled films face the same problem. A desire to be 'classic' results in an endless recycling of the same themes. While tropes are an unavoidable part of media, building all storytelling around a basic model is regressive and unoriginal. Innovation too often centres around impressive visuals with little substance. Case in point: films such as The LEGO Movie and Epic where the animation is bright and visually interesting but the central theme still revolves around a hero saving the city.
If filmmakers really want to make the next classic film, they should find a compelling theme and create something that unmistakably evokes a new approach to its ideas and values.