Pop Culture: Karate Kid Comparison (Age)

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Sangha 1
Christeen Sangha
English 111
Messier
11 Mar. 2012
Pop Culture: The Karate Kid Age Difference
In 1984 The Karate Kid, directed by John G. Alvidsen, was one of the most critically claimed movies of its time even receiving a few nominations at the Academy Awards. The 1984 version captured the hearts of millions of that generation as well as newer generations. It was a movie that audiences could relate to, especially teenagers, as well as emotionally connect to for everyone. It was a realistic story that Hollywood created that fans of that era as well as different people of the world could enjoy. The character in the 1984 version, Daniel LaRusso, was a 17-year-old that people could relate to and was more in tune to his surroundings with a mature attitude and acting skills. Something in that day in age was normal for Hollywood to portray; a teenager going through somewhat normal teenage dilemmas. Then in 2010 the movie was remade with the same title of The Karate Kid, directed by Harald Zwart. The plots were similar however, after about 26 years; expectations of young Hollywood have changed, especially towards the younger generations. Avildsen’s 1984 version of The Karate Kid depicted a teenager learning martial arts in order to defend himself as well as teaching him to mature into an adult and deal with issues a teenager normally deals with. Unlike the 1984 version, Harald Zwarts 2010 remake of the film focuses on a child of twelve that acts much older than his years with dealing with emotions that he doesn’t fully understand as well as a maturity level he clearly does not exhibit compared to Alvidsen’s version of a seventeen year old which deals with the situations that arise and deals with them as a normal teenager his age would with a somewhat mature nature but also with one that hasn’t completely developed. Both the original and the remake of The Karate Kid both began with two boys but with different Sangha 2

background stories. Daniel LaRusso of the 1984 version moved from his home town in New Jersey to California. Like a normal teenager his age, Daniel is not happy with picking up his life and starting at a new high school. He felt like the typical new kid at the school which is basically a “fish out of water”. Daniel tries his hardest to fit in at the new school despite getting constantly bullied but does make a few good friends along the way. It is slightly easier to adapt to a new environment for someone of Daniel's age due to the maturity factor and there is no major culture shock because he is still within the same country. This was something society was used to seeing, people moving. Especially in the 80’s portraying teenagers was a bit more innocent then they are today. They were not trying to over sexualize them nor show too many serious issues upfront. It was more of a hidden undertone they were there. Their focus was more toward a young adult like Daniel was in the original Karate Kid. An article in reference to the teen movie genre of John Hughes explains why movies created in the time were made with certain things in mind. “The juvenile delinquent drama fed on adult paranoia about teenagers being overly aggressive both physically and verbally, which is a natural expression of this age group. Again it contained versions from the opposite ends of the spectrum where some films were innocent portrayals of teens playing hooky e.g. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) to movies like Kids (1995) dealing with drugs, under age sex and AIDS amongst young people. The school sub genre offered the basis for most youth films in which the setting allowed the film to explore aspects of youth culture rife with different stereotypical characters who can be identified from the way they look on screen.” (Adam Cocker) Not only was The Karate Kid made out of these beliefs so were many other movies at the time because it related to how teenagers went about life during that time. It wasn’t as accurately portrayed...
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