Blockbuster Video went bankrupt in 2010, and as of today there is only one location left in business. The chain is a relic of the ’90s, when many of us grew up renting movies and games before the advent of online streaming.
That blue logo, however, remains instantly identifiable to a large audience. It’s a fitting way to open the trailer to Captain Marvel, which takes place in the mid-’90s.
But the long, lingering shots of Blockbuster Video — a sentence I can’t believe I’m writing in 2018 — aren’t the only way the trailer indicates the film’s era. Beepers, for those in the audience not old enough to remember, were bulky pieces of electronics that told us when someone was trying to get ahold of us.
You dialed a number, and then dialed your number when prompted, and the numerals were displayed on the beeper so the person knew who to call back. The stereotype was that anyone with a beeper was either a very important person, or maybe a drug dealer. They’re still popular with doctors, in fact.
The beeper shown in Captain Marvel’s trailer includes text and seems pretty thin for the time period, which gives it an interesting air of retrofuturism.
The scenes of Carol Danvers as a pilot also appear to nod at the famously sun-drenched Top Gun, which was released in 1986 and influenced pop culture for the next decade.
The rest of the trailer highlights the time period with appropriate cars, clothing and hairstyles, but the anchoring shots of that Blockbuster location, the beeper and callbacks to the golden era of films about fighter pilots lock it in place. The kids in the audience might not get it, but those are details that are going to jump out at the adults in the audience.
The era of punching old ladies in the face, however, may just now be getting started.