Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Cecily Strong, Neil Casey, Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Charles Dance, Michael K. Williams, Matt Walsh, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts & Sigourney Weaver
Directed by Paul Feig
The reboot to one of cinema’s shortest but most beloved film franchises has been mired in infamy since its announcement. The fan backlash has never been quite this incensed by what they believe to be personal vandalism. But the articulation of their argument is lacking. Curiously they’ve chosen the shrewd marketing aspect of Ghostbusters to specify their dissatisfaction.
Is this the new rule of thumb? A reboot cannot live up to its legacy without constant normalcy? Apparently so. Ghostbusters was presumed a failure from birth entirely due to the gender of its cast. I don’t understand it, and I sure as hell don’t like it. As the casual observer who’s not particularly fussed maybe I’m missing the point. To single out a female cast as the one reason a film should fail is defined with sexism. But to them it’s simply quality control, or so they say, and this is the end of the world.
And yet hell did not open up and swallow us all. That might be in part to Ghostbusters being an incredibly good film. The overwhelmingly negative response to the trailer I understand. Based on what that trailer offered me I honestly thought Ghostbusters would sink. It had nothing to do with gender roles but my perceived potential based on what the footage was offering. I was wrong and that trailer is not a fair barometer of the quality that this film possesses.
The trailer will tell you that the jokes are hit and miss and the script is over-saturated with pseudo-scientific jargon. What it doesn’t tell you is that the film is predominantly hits rather than misses, and what works hits home every time. And contrary to everything you’ve heard the maligned cast has been perfectly sourced for each role. Not in terms of individual performance (which were good, especially Chris Hemsworth) but in regards to why an all-female Ghostbusters was conceived to begin with. It’s overzealous with the copious nods thrown the way of its two predecessors, but it’s the gender swap that defines Ghostbusters as a sovereign entity in the series. With four men you’ve got a modernised remake of a 1984 sci-fi comedy. Four women gives you 2016’s Ghostbusters.
Look, I have my staunch beliefs. I wouldn’t be fond of meddling new-comers cashing in on what I love most. But if their efforts imbue the source material I’d be the first to say I enjoy it. However, what’s happened here has little to do with cultural robbery and more with superiority and a whole lot of pigheadedness. It could very well be that this sort of male-centric elitism has festered for a long time and is only now being forcefully dragged to the surface by the people who’ve had enough. Who knows, the potential success of this film might be therapeutic in resolving what is a real societal issue.
That’s the nurturing side of me, but I can also speak from another viewpoint. I sit on the fence a lot, because I’d rather go about my business without ruffling too many feathers. This time around I’m not all that concerned with the petulant fanboy rage that may come my way. If you dislike Ghostbusters for its gender swap then I haven’t the time to discuss the inner workings of your ignorance. You can hate a film as much as you like, I’ll never deny you that right, but do it for the right reasons.