Let me state this right now. I like the original Ghostbusters movie. I even liked the sequel despite some major problems I have with it that keeps me from watching it nearly as much as the first movie. I’ll watch it if it’s on and there’s nothing else to watch but I’d rather watch the first movie However, I was more drawn to The Real Ghostbusters (one of the flaws of the second movie being ignoring this) as it explored the characters more, like learning Egon began looking into the supernatural because the Boogeyman used to pop out of his closet as a kid. I also wanted to see a team-up with Filmation’s Ghostbusters but that didn’t happen. Child me is still sad about that.
So with this in mind, let’s look at the new Ghostbusters, the all-female team, and the controversy surrounding it. I’ll point to James Rolfe’s history of why a third movie with the original team failed to happen (mostly Bill Murray not wanting to do it, although I think he did the recent video game). It’s quite interesting to see the behind-the-scenes at getting something like this together. Instead we end up with a reboot of the franchise, and you know my issue with those. So what’s the REAL problem here?
I’ve read comments that the jokes are not funny, and trailers usually make the mistake of showing all of the best jokes, leaving you disappointed when you go into the theater and you’ve seen all the funniest scenes. If that’s the case, then the comments are right. I chuckled at maybe one joke in the trailer. On the plus side, however, the equipment is a nice upgrade to the original and look more like something cobbled together. The ghost designs are also good, with the kind of variation you only saw in the cartoons previously. Hurray for special effect advancement, I guess.
Yes, yes, I was just getting to you. The big controversy is the fact that the remake gender-swapped everyone. The Busters are now women and the receptionist is male. What I haven’t seen noted is that Kevin (the male) will be doing more in the movie than Jeanine (the female) did in the original movies, her biggest moment being dating Louis and doing a commercial for the Ghostbusters with him. She did more in episodes of the cartoon, though. And while the internet has decided to write this off as sexists, probably because of how many sexists have actually complained, we’re forgetting the geek factor in all of this. Why not, we did the same thing for Johnny Storm, which wasn’t the worse sin of the last Fantastic Four movie granted, but shouting “racism” and “sexism” pushes aside legitimate complaints by dropping them in with the jackasses and deciding that you don’t like change or you don’t like anything not starring a white male. This is bullcrap. Even the aforementioned Rolfe has taken flack for stating that he will not be watching the new movie, the critics sure he’s a sexist. I hope not, he has a wife who worked with him during the making of his big movie while pregnant with their daughter.
If you watch Rolfe’s commentary on the trailers (a different video than the last one I linked to) he also noted the jokes weren’t funny, but his reason for not wanting to see the new movie is that he is too attached to the original movies, and thus the original characters. These are new characters in a complete remake of the movie, with some homages you probably noted in the trailer (a library scene and an appearance by Slimer, who looks less kid-friendly than in the original movie and cartoons), which means this has zero connection to the originals outside of possible cameos by Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver. At least, they’re listed at IMDB. What I can’t figure out is why not just continue the story along? There’s already a good example.
Of course it was the 90s. “Extreme” is in the title. Extreme Ghostbusters saw a new generation of supernatural butt-kickers with a more multicultural lineup. I’m not sure this is the right mission for a guy in a wheelchair, but he seemed to hold his own. He should have at least been given an electric one, but I digress. Egon, Jeanine, and Slimer served as mentors for the new team, and the others guested on at least one mission. (Still no crossover with Filmation’s version, though.) This is one of two possible directions to go. The other is to have the Ghostbusters franchising, with this being a new team in Los Angeles (probably the more obvious movie choice over, say, Topeka) or something trying to find their own way in a different city. How about Las Vegas? I imagine most of the ghosts there would be crazed gamblers or dead performers. Then again, you know there would be a swarm of grown-worthy Elvis impersonator ghosts so maybe not Vegas.
The quartet of ladies seem to fit well as a team and the black person this time serves more purpose than being the fourth one, being the one who best knows the city. (Again, the cartoon gave Winston more of a role as the mechanic for Ecto-1 and his own character episodes. He even stopped the Sandman from putting everyone to sleep, getting help from Jeanine.) Why should paranormal crises be limited to New York City? This would keep the movie franchise going as well as keeping the movies in canon. Shared cinematic universes are the in-thing thanks to Marvel Studios, so why not have multiple Ghostbuster groups each having their own style and adventures while the old team (or a next generation) continues on in New York? What a wasted opportunity here!
So will I see the new movie? Maybe. I don’t have Rolfe’s devotion to the original movies, but I do understand the non-sexists complaints about this being a remake, (I also understand the sexist complaints, but I reject those) as well as sharing the concerns that this movie lacks the wit of the original. Still, it might find a way to be good. I just wish this had been less remake and more continuation.