It’s been incredible to sit back and watch the new Ghostbuster’s movie promos blow up in such a catastrophic way that it could only be coordinated by the internet. Seriously, the amount of negative publicity that this movie has already taken in makes my mind rattle, especially since the movie is still almost two months from being released. TWO MONTHS.
It’s become staggeringly clear that the ‘fan’ backlash actually has very little to do with the movie itself and the ruining of people’s childhood and has instead drawn more criticism from the anti-feminist basement dwellers of the world who seem to have nothing better to do than to sit around in their underwear and torture women on the internet. While I’m not about to dive down that particular rabbit hole at this particular juncture, if the faux haters out there were to step back, look past the boobs in the trailers, and instead focus on the overall tone of the film, they might actually have a little bit to criticize. Probably not to the point where it’s become the most ‘unliked’ YouTube video of all time (can’t we reserve that for some of the neo-Nazi rhetoric videos out there?), but enough to draw some discussion about how Hollywood has yet again seemed to miss the point as to what it was that made these characters incredibly popular to begin with.
Let me say, first and foremost, that I’m not exactly opposed to this movie, but based on the tone of the trailers that I’ve seen so far, I kind of wish it was something else. What made the original Ghostbusters movie so incredibly popular, was that it was a legitimately well done horror comedy. It made sure that it’s creepy parts were creepy and that the comedy played off of that with a unique brand of hybrid highbrow and physical slapstick comedy. The tone of Paul Feig’s movie appears to be more about the slapstick and lowbrow humor while playing off the horror as childish and campy.
I like the idea of Paul Feig driven comedy about a pack of women that fight ghosts, but does it NEED to be Ghostbusters? It seems to me like Feig could’ve built a brand new franchise all his own that could’ve become a beloved property for millions of his loyal fans. His style is both unique and fun and has worked in all of his other original films like Bridesmaids, Heat, and Spy. He’s the one that delivered us from the standard style of bro-based comedies by applying the basic dick-and-fart joke format to more realistic women through, what we’ll call, vagina-and-fart jokes. This minor change-up brought us something new and totally enjoyable while embarrassing diversity. He’s the director that women like dick-and-fart jokes too, so why not let them in on the game and in that lies my problem. If he could’ve just worked the supernatural element into his basic format, sans the Ghostbusters title, maybe people could accept it as something both new and fresh. It could’ve been it’s own new mega-franchise. On the other hand, he could’ve also chosen to keep the highbrow/slapstick/legitimate horror that the original Ghostbusters gave us with these women and I’d probably be just as happy, but ultimately, despite the fact that many factors look the same (i.e. the costumes, the logo, the firehouse, and the car), the films seems to be very tonally different.
Let me also explain that my reservations on this whole thing are not without president. If you’ll all step-back and recall for a second the things that didn’t really work about the second film in the Ghostbusters franchise, it really all boils down to the same things. The big studio execs really wanted to capitalize on the popular children’s cartoon based off of the original movie, so instead of trying to fully honor what made the first movie great, they tried to dial it back and make it more suitable for a younger audience which really just resulted in watered down versions of the jokes from the first movie. I will say, though, that the second movie was able to retain just enough of what made the original work to make it still feel like a mostly viable sequel, but many, MANY people would disagree with me on that. When it all comes down to it, my biggest fear in regard to this new take on the franchise is that, In many ways, it feels like Hollywood is about to make a mistake that it already made and should’ve learned from over 20 years ago and I think that’s a warranted fear.
Obviously my full reservations will be reserved until the film actually comes out and I’m very open to the idea that I might actually enjoy it, but with Hollywood’s track record of totally missing the point when it comes to many of their quickly hashed out reboots (see Transformers, Batman V. Superman, Point Break), I’m not so sure that this film will do what it needs to do. Again, full judgement currently withstanding, I’m definitely planning on seeing this film because I ultimately want to know whether it works or not. It’s not like it’ll have any long term effects on my person after-all, because it is just a movie. I’d just like for it to be a good movie and I don’t personally think that’s too much to ask for.
If you want to watch a great video on how little this all really matters, check out this commentary by one of my favorite YouTube channels, Mr. Sunday Movies. He breaks things down very nicely.