Ghostbusters fans were just beginning to warm up to the idea of an all-female reboot, when suddenly, this happened:
I’m not going to mince words here… this trailer is an utter disaster and is an insult to Ghostbusters fans.
Now I know that the trailer may just be cut poorly, but there are some definite issues here that need to be addressed:
It relies heavily on archetypes and stereotypes
Gender bending Ghostbusters (1984) was a bold creative move, but as of right now it seems like it was the only creative move.
Like its predecessor, Ghostbusters (2016) follows the paranormal adventures of three white scientists and their black non-scientist friend. Couple that with some nostalgic costumes, Ecto 1, proton packs, and the green ghoul Slimer, and we’ve got ourselves a movie that is insufferably similar to the original in most regards.
As of right now, it seems that only one actor has a role that is wildly different than her 1984 counterpart: Leslie Jones.
Jones plays Patty Tolan, a public transit worker turned paranormal investigator who is loud, angry, and outspoken. These traits make her the polar opposite of her Ghostbusters (1984) doppelgänger, Winton (Ernie Hudson), who by contrast was always calm, cool and collected.
This reversal would be refreshing if not for the fact that Jones’ character is horrifyingly stereotypical.
Hollywood all too often depicts black women as loud and angry, and many are upset that a female-centric film such as Ghostbusters (2016) would make a “creative” decision to reinforce these unfair stereotypes. Social media responded strongly to the trailer’s typecasting with heated and voluminous criticism, and it hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. Jones herself responded to her critics the same way every celebrity seems to: by tweeting about it.
Either Jones doesn’t understand how detrimental her character is not only to black actors, but to the black community as a whole, or, Jones does understand but is keeping mum about it. After all, her entire comedic career is based on her ability to play an angry black woman, and as brilliant as she is, the fact remains that stereotypes are currently paying her bills.
It ostracizes the Ghostbusters fan base
In order for a reboot of a classic franchise to be successful, writers and directors need to have a deep understanding of what made their source material so successful and captivating to fans in the first place. Many of those fans will provide the studio heading the operation guaranteed ticket sales, so it’s of the utmost importance that the reboot be first and foremost an homage to those original fans. But as any studio executive will most likely tell you, it’s not enough to cater to existing fans, the reboot also needs to have the power to draw in and excite new audiences. Rebooting is a dangerous endeavor, but when done correctly, audiences both old and new are treated to gems like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World.
So as far as this trailer is concerned, I don’t know who exactly Paul Feig thinks he’s catering to, but it doesn’t seem to be the Ghostbusters fan base or a general audience.
The witty humor and frights that made the original Ghostbusters so fun and unique are noticeably absent in this trailer, and the humor that was displayed was weak, juvenile, and akin to a terrible Scary Movie sequel. Compare the trailer for Ghostbusters (1984) to the hot mess that is the trailer for Ghostbusters (2016) and you’ll see that the comedic disparities are very clear:
The reason for this disparity boils down to decisions made in the writer’s room.
Dan Ackroyd (who starred in the original Ghostbusters) is responsible for writing Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II and Ghostbusters (2016). One would assume then that the comedic tone of the reboot would at least be somewhat similar to the original film due to Ackroyd’s input. But Ackroyd didn’t write either film alone. He wrote the 1984 script with co-star Harold Ramis, but he wrote the reboot with Kate Dippold (whose other works include The Heat and MADtv),
Harold Ramis was the visionary behind Animal House, Caddyshack, and Groundhog Day, and not to discredit Ackroyd, but Ramis was truly the brainchild responsible Ghostbusters (1984).
Unfortunately Ramis passed away in 2014 from complications related to an illness. President Obama himself released a statement upon the news of his death, saying “when we watched his movies – from Animal House and Caddyshack to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings.”
Without the genius comedic mind of Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters 2016 was truly doomed from the start.
The CGI is terrible
Visually, the Ghostbusters trailer is a neon hot mess.
It’s chocked full of bright, cartoony ghosts that look like a deceased Coachella crowd. These specters seem to belong more in the world of Danny Phantom than Ghostbusters (oh how I miss that show), and the scare factor is extremely lacking.
We can only hope that Ghostbusters (2016) redeems itself with a fantastic subsequent trailer, but until then, no thank you.
You’ve read my thoughts on the trailer, now let me read yours! Leave a comment with your reactions!