Let me start with a phrase I feel accurately reflects my impression of the new “Ghostbusters” movie at this moment in time, one my mother often uttered to me when I was in trouble. “You were a test tube baby!” Wait, no. Not that one. This: “I’m not angry I’m just disappointed”. I didn’t want to write about this, I really didn’t. But for the life of me I couldn’t stop myself. As a kid, a delusional one granted I was only ever interested in 3 occupations: to be a member of the the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-man (and by association a photographer) and a Ghostbuster. So unless I’m bitten by a radioactive Spider or….uh….turtle? And society is poised to initiate a complete occupational turnaround concerning paranormal extermination, then I’m probably not going to be a Ghostbuster either. This is an agony that can at least be assuaged by the Ghostbuster movies. Whether it’s the original and best, the mediocre sequel tempered by Bill Murray’s reluctance to commit to being conscious during the filming and at long last a third film that gives me hope of one day strapping an unlicensed nuclear accelerator to my back. Now I’ll admit that I wasn’t entirely keen on another Ghostbusters movie. Every idea I read about sounded awful, including scripts written by founding initiators Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. I thought the best thing anyone could do was leave well enough alone. What a tender sentiment that was. I don’t want to be too disparaging about this trailer as there is more than substantial hostility generated by a fan-base prepared to besiege Sony studios, demanding that executives relinquish their positions and kindly head to the nearest available parallel dimension. You know “human sacrifices, cats and dogs living together. MASS HYSTERIA!” It’s also difficult not to interpret criticism as misogynistic, particularly when you consider just how many predominantly white males begin their respective statements with “I’m not against this cast……but.” I mean could you imagine what the male equivalent would be? It’d probably be Adam Sandler, Will Farrell, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan?! With Kevin James as “Stay Puft” and Rob Schneider voicing slimer! *Shudder*. But irrespective of whether this film will be good or not, because we simply don’t know yet, the trailer that’s supposed to be a short representation of the movie is nothing short of atrocious!
“Not even nostalgia could redeem this trailer.”
My initial reaction was one of acute discomfort and just…..ugh?! I averted my eyes at several occasions because I felt physically uncomfortable by the whole experience. The trailer by itself was bad enough, but with the Ghostbusters name attached it somehow elevates the discomfort. I was grimacing through what I assumed were jokes but it was so painfully unfunny you start to wonder whether you’ve clicked on the wrong clip? Nope. The “jokes” really are this stupid! It’s like listening to you’re grandfather trying to tell a joke, but he gets confused, pauses and eventually forgets the punchline. You begin to wonder if the script was written in crayon? “And she hurtedz her hands and then falls down and is very funnie.” The footage is incredibly misleading too. This reboot, remake re….bake! Isn’t a continuation of the original films, yet feels compelled to reference them anyway and not well! “30 years ago, four scientists saved New York”. No they didn’t. 3 scientists and Winston saved New York. Do you’re research. The characters themselves just look like farcical variations of the original cast. You had Egon (Kate McKinnon) licking the proton gun. Ray (Melissa Mccarthy) getting hurt who, and I’m calling this now will be flirting awkwardly with the secretary played by Chris Hemsworth who will no doubt turn out to be the villain. And Peter (Kristen Wigg) who, along with the other two is about as convincing a scientist as Denise Richards was in “The World Is Not Enough”. Again I’m reaching, as this is only a trailer, but one that is supposed to reflect the tone of the movie, right? Which is apparently an off the wall, vibrantly goofy cartoon.
“There’s still hope. These are just trailers”
They seem to forget that the original Ghostbusters movie executed comedy with a little more nuance that belied the overall dramatic spookiness. I’m not saying it was as existential as a Wes Anderson movie, but it never felt like it was forcing comedy down you’re throat. In fact I’d argue it’s more of an action adventure movie than a flat out comedy. It was quirky yet straight laced tale concerning a group of “believable” scientists (with the exception of Bill Murray) that capture ghosts. OK, the premise certainly requires suspension of reality, but it was fun as well as scary. Here though it’s disjointed, and this is before the screen is festooned with enough CGI ghosts to feel a Scooby-Doo movie. I’m not saying the movie is going to be bad, but if the movie is funny then someone needs to immediately fire whoever patched together this asinine trailer. The worst moment however, and by far the most irritating is reserved for that awkward possession/slapping scene. From what I’ve heard of Leslie Jones she’s an immensely talented performer, unfortunately has been reduced to abiding to the statutory black women that shouts a lot. That’s not funny. In fact it’s downright racist! Winston was a much more grounded character, admittedly marginalised due to Eddie Murphy’s refusal to take the role. But he was the relatable one, the guy you could empathise with. He was us. “He had the tools and the talent”. With Eddie Murphy involved it would have overpowered the already overwhelming extrovert that was Peter Venkman. If you have too many actors vying for comedic screen time as demonstrated in this trailer then characters don’t feel like living breathing people, just performers with a conceited need for recognition. Perhaps that’s a little harsh as I have no doubt that the actors and director went into this trying to make the best movie they could, but you get the impression that someone at Sony studio’s decided to get involved. I could go on about individual parts I didn’t like but ultimately this trailer is undermined by the simple fact that it just isn’t funny, when it’s quite clear that’s what it’s intention was.
“And they would’ve got away with too if it weren’t for you meddling fans.”
The original Ghostbusters movie wasn’t a profoundly visceral study of mortality and the consequences of death. It was Egon Spengler being too scared for rational thought, inventing a containment unit to store incarcerated entities and collecting moulds, spores and fungus. It was Peter Venkman’s perverted inferences towards Dana! It was Winston retorting “that’s a big Twinkie”. And it was Dan Aykroyd getting sucked off by a free flowing, full torso, vaporous apparition. Imagine just how incredibly confusing that is for a kid. “Why is he making that face? Oh, I see. His belt buckle was too tight so the ghost unbuckled it for him so he could sleep. Ha, that’s funny, I think?” In other words they came, they saw, they kicked ass! Ghostbusters was about giant rubber dogs with light-bulbs in there mouths barking “Zool”, boiling eggs on kitchen sides and hiding in fridges. It’s Janine “We got one!” sarcastic wit, totally owning the Ghostbusters. It’s about librarian phantoms stacking books vertically and leaving traces of ectoplasm. It’s ghosts with flat tops that look as though David Bowie had sex with Elton Johns drapes and as a result spawned something that could summon a 100 foot marshmallow man to destroy Manhattan. It’s about grotesque hands reaching from a chair to clasped Sigourney Weavers boob! It taught me everything I needed to know. That ghostbusting was a viable employment opportunity. That if anyone ever asks you if you’re a god you say yes! And that no matter what, you must never cross the streams! Something I’ve applied to every urination at a public urinal.
I don’t feel as though this movie will be a desecration of my childhood as that’s safely preserved in my mind and in my Blu-ray Ghostbusters edition. Trailers are notoriously deceptive pieces of propaganda anyway that often misinterpret what the movie is actually about.
There’s also this inherent notion that we “own” experiences, and that Ghostbusters is somehow “ours”. That we have a profound responsibility to preserve it, protect it from money making tyrants. As for the movie I can only speculate to the quality by the conjectural inferences given to me by this trailer that can’t be substantiated with any proficient accuracy. It isn’t a right off yet, that’s just stupid. But concerns have been raised and unless a second non-goofy trailer is released that mitigates this mess, I’m afraid busting makes me feel pretty sad.
By the way, you know when I said that I wasn’t angry just disapointed? Yeah, well I lied. Instead of either of the trailers (yes I’ve seen that one too!) I’m just going to give you this instead. You are most welcome.
What did you make of the Ghostbusters trailer? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.