As you are all probably aware, we have a brand new Ghostbusters movie heading our way this summer. To say that the first trailer for the movie was divisive is putting it mildly. As far as I’m aware, it’s still the most down voted video on YouTube, and it sparked furious debate and think pieces, with angry nerds clashing over everything from the casting to the special effects. In short, there was a whole lot of ‘Nerd Rage’ out there..
Now I just wanted to get a few thoughts on this movie and the general reaction to it down on paper (so to speak), so please bare with me if I ramble a little at times in this post, but hopefully by the end, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
In terms of the 1st trailer, I really wasn’t that impressed with it. Those who know me know I am not the biggest Melissa McCarthy fan, I found her work beyond ‘Bridesmaids’ to be mostly irritating. In this trailer she seemed to be the focus, so that bothered me. None of the jokes that were used in the trailer really worked for me, I thought if I kept watching it may get funnier, but it just seemed to get worse. There was an awful gag which featured Leslie Jones that made me cringe with embarrassment because it was so ham-fisted in it’s delivery and reliance on played out stereotypes. I thought the special effects were actually quite interesting and the remixed theme tune was very catchy, but overall it wasn’t leaping out to me as a ‘must see movie’.
The 2nd Trailer which was released recently, was just a far better trailer in general. It felt tighter, told you a bit more about the type of story we are going to get and effectively showcased the characters in the movie along with giving us a greater look at the special effects, which I think are really impressive! Some of the jokes really still don’t work for me, but this trailer at least played up the natural humour that would occur in this type of situation, rather than cramming in sight gags for the sake of it. All in all, this trailer has got me more curious about the movie in general, which is a difficult thing to do. In my mind, I hate remakes. There have been very few examples of where a remake has surpassed the original film it is based on ( If you even try to suggest that ‘The Departed’ is better than ‘Infernal Affairs’, I will hunt you down and rip your blaspheming tongue out of your mouth) so it was always going to be a tough ask to convince a passionate fan base to support a new take on the franchise that features none of the original cast.
After a lot of thought, I’ve decided that inspite of my reservations, im going to go and see the movie when it comes out. My reasoning for this is that I really can’t draw any definitive conclusions until I see the movie for myself. Trailers are one thing, but we have all been duped by brilliant trailers in the past for movies that sucked (‘Transcendence’ anyone?) Also, i’m somewhat of a Ghostbusters fan have enjoyed both original movies and the animated series, so I feel I need to see this to pay homage. Another key reason for me seeing this is because (and this is where i’m sure i’ll lose some of you ‘meninist’ readers, whatever the fuck that means) this is a big budget action comedy with four women in the leading roles. Whatever way you look at it, that’s a really big fucking deal. The list of movies of this type that have women in the leading roles is virtually non-existent, so this is a real ground breaker of a movie in that regard. I think it’s safe to say that if this is a box office success, Hollywood studios will be more confident about giving us more female led action projects. For someone like me who is an action junkie, I wanna see more diversity in my action heroes. ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight‘ remains one of my favourite American action movies of all time so I’d love to have more movies like that to enjoy. Who knows, we may even get a ‘Bitch Planet‘ movie which would flippin epic.
Now, having made my decision, I have to address two more issues that have been bothering me about about the film itself and the reception it has received so far. Firstly, as much as I am happy to see a woman of colour have a prominent role in a major Hollywood blockbuster, I have major issues with the way the character of Patty has been presented and played by Leslie Jones. I’ve seen some of Ms Jones work on Saturday Night Live, so I am aware of her style of humour, however, I have found myself getting very tired of seeing black actors in American films effectively descend into late 1980’s stereotypes. In the 1st trailer in particular, Jones character did little of importance other than shout awful dialogue very badly. In an era of sophisticated black female characters on TV like Scandal’s Olivia Pope, it’s deeply frustrating that movies continue to shovel this type of image of black women on to mass audiences. As YouTube film reviewer Jeremy Jahns rightly pointed out, if the filmmakers wanted to be truly subversive in terms of casting all four leading roles as female, why is the one non white female lead ‘a municipal historian’? Wouldn’t it have been far more interesting to make this character a scientist and make one of the other characters a local with ‘street smarts’? The reliance on tired images of black women in films is wearing thin, especially when TV and Comics are doing so much more. It’s going to be a bitter pill to swallow when I see the movie, but I’m an optimist and i’m still hopeful that I will come out pleasantly surprised.
The second issue I need to address is the reception the trailers received from ‘fans’. The 1st trailer was pretty poor in my opinion, it really didn’t do a good job of selling the movie. That said, some of the responses to the movie have been so childish, so full of invective, bile and hate, that I have actually wondered what these kinds of people’s lives are like away from the internet. YouTube comments sections are never a good barometer of public opinion, they are a festering cesspit populated by every variety of scumbag that humanity has to offer. Some of the comments I read after the 1st trailer and second trailer were released made me want to wretch they were so hateful. I get it, you don’t like the movie, so just say that and move on with your life. Why the need to wish death on people? There has been a nasty sexist undercurrent to some of the comments I have read and videos seen. I don’t want to link to any of these partly because I think people always have a right to reply, regardless of how despicable they appear to be and also because I just don’t want that type of negativity anywhere around me. I saw one video in which a woman basically spent 15 minutes frothing at the mouth and repeating “fucking feminists!”over and over again. I don’t need that type of hate in my life. If you are the type of person who gets angry because the Ghostbusters are now female, because Thor is now Jane Foster, because the lead character in ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ is a woman, I have but one thing to say to you..
Similarly, I have also come across a number people who seem to have taken the position that if you do not like the trailers, you are a misogynistic pig. Now, I can understand why some would take that position with the type of people I mentioned above. Frankly, those types of subspecies deserve whatever is coming their way. But I have seen reasonable people who have put forward sound reasons as to why they are not looking forward to the movie based solely on the trailers, shouted down and even abused. These types of keyboard warriors are very frustrating to deal with, and it their inability to simple deal with each opinion and person on a separate basis that completely baffles me. In some ways, they can be just as bad as the type of person they claim to be against, because they seem to be unwilling to approach any alternative opinion with an open mind. This, in my view, only damages their own arguments and hurts the overall cause of ensuring that we have some genuine equality in our entertainment. There are a few very worth battles for fans to fight to ensure that we get the kind of content that we want, that is a closer reflection of the world we all live in and share. So let’s make sure that we choose those battles carefully, because when we speak to together with one voice, Hollywood has no choice but to listen.
Anyway, that’s my 10 pence on the subject. If you wanna add your own thought in the comments section below, please feel free to do so. Or if you’re on social media, you can get at me on Twitter and Facebook.