Despite how much we love our movies, adaptations and sequels, we’ve never been much for remakes.
Oh, we think to ourselves, this again? Why would they remake this? I’d much rather see a new and original story, like one where Kevin Spacey is turned into a cat until he learns the importance of family. Every once in awhile, however, the reaction to a remake can become more than just mild annoyance or disappointment. It can get downright nasty.
Enter the new Ghostbusters movie coming out this month. This film reboots the 1984 comedy classic, bestowing it with new continuity and, most controversial of all, an all-female cast. The internet reaction was fairly negative to begin with, but once the trailer dropped last March the negativity escalated to an almost comical frenzy. In fact, the trailer is the most disliked trailer on YouTube.
First off, let’s be honest: The trailer wasn’t just negatively received because fans felt the film was some kind of an unnecessary remake or that it looked worse than a lot of schlocky comedies coming out this year. No, this movie got especially poor reactions because it was remaking a beloved franchise (more on that to come) and starred primarily women.
As one negative YouTube commenter eloquently said when the trailer dropped, “I’m sure the producers are feminist.” So yes, there absolutely is sexism in the negative reaction to this film, even if we don’t realize it on the surface.
If your biggest problem with the Ghostbusters reboot is that it stars all women, you may need to reexamine your priorities.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s delve into the less sexist reason so many people are hating this film: The notion that this movie has tainted a beloved franchise beyond repair. Obviously there’s a reason this franchise is so well-loved.
The first Ghostbusters is an admittedly damn good movie—the characters and world are fleshed out, the tone is the perfect balance of humorous and eerie, and it has everyone’s favorite slimeball Peter Venkman. I would argue that nearly all of that movie holds up fairly well. It’s a good movie that people went nuts about, which led it to being a franchise in the first place.
However, that’s the thing: This is the revival of a franchise. If this was a remake of something like Casablanca, I would be annoyed, but Casablanca didn’t spawn an entire franchise with cartoons, video games, comic books and collectibles.
In the wake of such nostalgic revivals like Star Wars and Jurassic World, it was inevitable that Sony was going to tap into that sweet, sweet Ghostbusters nostalgia whether we liked it or not. Luckily, the studios got someone who can actually make a good ensemble comedy (Paul Feig) and a particularly talented comedy cast.
I personally think it’s a great thing this isn’t a cynical carbon copy of the original (see: the shot-for-shot Psycho remake from ’98). Even if it was a sequel to the original, before Harold Ramis’ death, there was still a high probability the third Ghostbusters wasn’t going to feature the whole cast. The sequel would have probably left Dan Aykroyd to his own devices, and we’ve all seen how well that works out when he tries to revisit his beloved franchises.
There is a strong sentiment that Feig and company are ruining childhoods. First and foremost, your childhood shouldn’t be defined by a multimillion dollar franchise. Secondly, your childhood isn’t going to ruined by a movie nobody’s making you see.
People still love their beloved Transformers after Michael Bay used that franchise to explain the Romeo and Juliet law, and I still like the characters of Superman and Batman even though I actively tried to fall asleep during Batman v Superman.
If this new reboot doesn’t work out, chances are it’ll just become another forgettable remake. Remember the Total Recall and Robocop remakes? Hell, they’re remaking Ben-Hur of all things and I’ve already forgotten about it.
Your childhood is fine and the new cast and crew are talented. Give the new Ghostbusters a chance.