After recently airing the new trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters movie, fans everywhere were outraged at the sub-par treatment this classic received, myself included. Many critics of this outrage have claimed that this is just plain old fashioned sexism and if the lead roles had been male characters this would have received worldwide acclaim. As a feminist, while I agree that sexism is commonplace in Hollywood and is systematically keeping strong female roles out of our entertainment, I completely disagree that this is why the majority of fans have turned their back.
Fans of the Ghostbusters franchise have been anxiously awaiting this reboot for years. Rumors circulated frequently that this nerd re-imagining was coming and most fans all but gave up hope with the tragic death of Harold Ramis in early 2014. When it was officially announced that the Ghostbusters saga was continuing, fans everywhere rejoiced in the idea that this classic franchise was given new life. It was even more exciting to hear that the roles were to be filled with strong female characters, a rare occurrence in Hollywood.
The most successful reboots that we have witnessed in the past several years have had key things in common, and seem to be lacking in this film. The goal of a reboot is to truly pay respect and homage to the franchise from which it came. They should embrace the things about the originals that made them so successful so they can be introduced to the next generation. When this is done ineffectively or cheaply, all you end up doing is banking on the name recognition of the franchise, which is ultimately insulting to the die-hard fans that have been begging for more.
Some of these reboots have passed the torch from one generation to the next, with a continuation of the original story like we saw in The Force Awakens Star Wars franchise. Other reboots have gone far in the past to tell the origin story of how the plot came to be in the first place, like with the new Star Trek releases. The main objective of the reboot is that its story is supposed to stand on its own, without needing to directly remanufacture the story. Yes, Rey and Luke are both orphans that learn to use the force, but they have independent personality types and character motivations. Therefore, Rey stands apart and is not a cheap replication.
From the preview, we can plainly see that each one of these characters are made to appear very similar to the original “type” of characters that we know and love from the original movies. We have the Venkman rip-off jokester who is couldn’t stay serious if they tried. We have the Spengler rip-off brainiac that is fascinated by the science of the paranormal. We even have the tag along Winston rip-off that I’m sure is full of one-liners and sticks out of the group as the odd man out, if you will pardon the expression. The most insulting part about all of this reproduction is that it isn’t necessary and it’s downright insulting.
These comedians are hilarious, they do an amazing job at making people laugh over and over again in all of the roles that they have been in prior to this movie. I literally love everything I have ever seen with Kristin Wiig, and I can genuinely say the same about Melissa McCarthy. Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon are some of my favorite cast members on SNL, which is why this trailer is so disappointing. I was hoping that they would have the chance to create new and unique characters that weren’t cheap rip offs of the originals. They are strong, unique independent women and are not only capable of being unique characters in this format, but deserve to stand alone and not be reduced to poor reproductions.
Another major issue I have with this trailer is that it highlights the use of the CGI throughout the film. It is incredibly rare when a movie’s effects can stand the test of time over 30 years later. If you want proof of this, just look at the awful digital effects from the Star Wars prequels, and they are half that age. The reason that they still look great (and not just for nostalgic value) is because a great deal of what ended up in the movie was achieved with practical effects, and not by computers. Of course it seems impractical with the evolution of CGI that the entire movie would be shot with practical effects. However having all of the ghosts look like weird Dr. Manhattan rip-offs was not the way to go either. With the budget they had, they could have done better, and they didn’t.
Yes, I am being very critical of this movie and basing this judgement off a preview. However, I feel like any fan of the franchise wants the reboot to do justice to the original. They didn’t even have the decency to name it accordingly. As it stands, it appears more like a remake than a reboot. If they had let these characters be unique individuals and continued the story instead of remanufacturing it, the potential was endless. If this group of four awesome hilarious women came together to fill the role needed when this supernatural enhancing device was activated, and the writers had avoided regurgitating these characters in cheap rip-offs form, it could have been amazing.
It is true that many people out there will dismiss this movie just because the lead roles are women and that is incredibly disheartening. It is unacceptable that in this day and age women are forced to fit into the box that society feels like they should fit and believe the things that society thinks they should believe. Well it is insulting to me as a feminist that all criticisms of this movie equates to sexism. It’s not sexist to dislike something if it isn’t good. In fact, the idea that I have to like it because I am a woman is more sexist that anything else.
I’m interested to hear others thoughts, so please feel free to agree or disagree in the comments. As always, thanks for stopping by!