Anime Reporter chimes in amid the cacophony of reactions to the first trailer of the new Ghostbusters film.
Okay, so, to set the scene, I should probably go through my reactions leading up to the trailer.
1: (rumours that there’s going to be a new Ghostbusters film)- “Awesome! I really hope that they do it right. It’d be pretty lousy if they made a third film after all these years and phoned it in.
2: (word has it that the new Ghostbusters film will be a reboot)- “Why? I mean, do we really need- why? Why? Everyone who cares about this knows the other- why? Does everything have to be a reboot these days? Why?”
Followed immediately by “Who are they going to get to live up to the original cast? I mean, I wasn’t expecting Bill Murray or Dan Akroyd to be playing as big a part as they did in the first two, but I’d have liked there to be something. How do they recast all the Ghosbusters?”
3: (it is announced that the film will be made of an all-female cast with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy playing two of the lead roles)- “Oh snap…. You know what? That’s kind of perfect. I mean, I hope the film doesn’t lean too heavily on ‘proving’ that women can be ghostbusters and just lets it go without saying, (because, you know, it’s the 21st century and at a certain point it’s insulting to the audience to have to be told these things). Actually though, I can’t really think of anyone funnier or better for this film than Kristen Wiig, and McCarthy delivered big-time in Bridesmaids. This… This could be awesome.
4: (I learn that Wiig’s SNL co-stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones will be making up the rest of the team)- “Seriously? That’s awesome! Kate McKinnon’s Justin Bieber is hilarious and she’s great on SNL. I don’t really know much about Leslie Jones. She’s never really stood out for me in any of the sketches I’ve seen her in, her characters are usually angry or shouting a lot and pretty stereotypical, but I haven’t really got a strong impression of her sense of humour. In any case, I’m already pumped about three quarters of the team and I’m open to being impressed by the remaining quarter.”
So that’s pretty much where I was before I saw the trailer. More excited than nervous, more optimistic than cautious. Ghostbusters was huge for me as a kid and remains a fond, glowing ball of nostalgia so, even though I know this new film can’t change the films I’ve already seen, it’s going to be hard not to get excited for this film by association and it will be that much easier to be heartbroken if it doesn’t live up to my expectations. Now, I know this must already seem like I’m building up for a negative review, but the truth is that I don’t really have very much negative to say about this trailer. I’m just certainly a lot more wary of what could go wrong than I was a week ago.
If you haven’t seen the trailer just yet, you can check it out on Youtube here.
So, things I liked about the trailer include:
- Slimer’s cameo, because the Ghostbusters cartoon was massive for me growing up and Slimer was one of my favourite cartoon mascots.
- Kate McKinnon’s character, who already seems to be the eccentric over the top character. I think McKinnon’s delivery of a character like that will most likely be top notch and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with a feature length role.
- The gear. Ecto 1, the uniforms, the guns, the traps. I think it all looks great. True to the original, but definitely updated. I think they really hit the right tone there.
Ooooh, but then there are the things I’m less excited about:
- The super confusing opening lines. Something along the lines of “30 years ago four scientists saved New York. This Summer, a new team will answer the call”. This makes it seem like this takes place after the events of the first two Ghostbusters films, but the content makes it seem like there have never been Ghostbusters before. It would have probably been a lot better to take out the misdirecting text and let the trailer speak for itself.
- Leslie Jones’ character, Patty. Now, I know there’s been some backlash on the internet about how Jones’ character isn’t a scientist and that this is considered racist by many. It doesn’t really help to point out that the only black member of the original team was also not a scientist because I don’t think it’s fair to equate two characters as the same for being “the black ones” and it doesn’t make it any less racist for happening twice. I’m not going to chime in here because I think it is important for the idea of Ghostbusters that not every member has to be a world-class scientist or technological genius. There should definitely be someone on the team who represents the average person. I just don’t think it’s Patty. There have been many other cries about how the character is portrayed as an unfortunate stereotype, but I’m really only getting this bad feeling from one scene. That’s the one where Patty slaps the ghost out of Melissa McCarthy’s character and then, after the ghost is gone, screams “The power of Patty compels you” and slaps her again. This, to me, pretty much confirmed what I’d seen of Jones on SNL so far. Shouting a joke to avoid having to deliver it with any kind of nuance. Luckily, this is only a very short glimpse of the film and there’s plenty of run time in which this character could prove me wrong, but I really don’t find shouting lines counts as being funny and I haven’t since I was old enough to recognise that Will Ferrell had stopped trying. Jones’ character is the only one that hasn’t shown much personality besides being loud and angry so far and since that’s all I’ve seen of Jones on SNL and what I’ve seen of her stand-up, I’m not expecting a lot of range either.
And that’s pretty much it. I’m on the fence about pretty much everything else I saw in the trailer. I’m okay with the visuals of the ghosts, though I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m a bit on the fence about how the humour-story balance looks so far, hopefully it’ll work out nicely. Really, I’d just be happy if this felt at all like Ghostbusters and not just a random 2016 summer comedy.
I know people have already gotten pretty heated on both sides of this and there have been a lot of accusations of sexism made against anyone who has a problem with the film. I imagine there are quite a few people out there who think it just can’t work because “Ghostbusters can’t be girls” or some such nonsense. That’s never been an issue for me. The female cast is one that I’d largely consider to be extremely talented and, even if I don’t really know enough about Jones to appreciate her, I’m sure she has her fair share of fans too. The only thing that worries me about this film is that, and this is just a feeling from the trailer, maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way, someone might have gotten carried away with making a great big comedy and might have forgotten that there’s a little bit of a legacy behind it. I know, two movies isn’t much of a legacy, but it means a lot to people and I really just hope that this Ghostbusters is Ghostbusters.
I’m also really, really grateful that they didn’t try to reboot the series ten years ago because then we could have easily ended up with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock (who’s way too talented to still be hanging out with those guys at this stage) suiting up and getting cheap laughs when Kevin James’ character gets stuck sliding down the fireman pole while Sandler gags pathetically on Slimer’s neon green fart cloud. I don’t care how sexist you might be, you have to know this movie is not the worst thing that could have happened to Ghostbusters.
What did you think of the trailer? What are your expectations for the new film?
Let me know in the comments section and, as always, thanks for reading,