A while back, after the release of the new Captain America series, and during the absolute $#!^storm that was people reacting to HydraCap, I wrote an article telling people to calm the heck down and relax. I felt that every once in a while, when people start throwing tantrums, they need someone to stand up and be the adult voice of reason. So I'll totally be that voice of reason.
Now, the last time I did one of these, someone referred to it as "whiny and condescending". While I take issue with "whiny", I fully embrace "condescending" as a badge of honor.
When someone's acting like a child, condescension is the appropriate response.
And now that I finally got to see the new Ghostbusters film and found it to be pretty fun, it's time to try to call for some sort of calm and reason, because"¦
10. It’s Better Than 90% of ’80s Movie Reboots
It's a fine movie, you guys. It's not the best movie ever, it's not better or as good as the original, but it's pretty fun in its own right. If you don't personally enjoy it, fine, cool. But if you H-A-T-E it and won't shut up about it? Then you might be a major jerk.
Because you know how I KNOW your hatred of this movie is based on sexism and not "a hatred of remakes" as most of you claim?
Because you didn't whine this much about Robocop (2014). Or The Thing (2011). Or Red Dawn (2012). No, you picked the one with women in it to make a stink over. Which is twice as shameful, because out of all those movies I just listed, NONE of them are even half as good as this movie is.
Ghostbusters (2016) is a faithful, tone-accurate movie that, while not as good as the original, is a fun thing in its own right. It is not a complete stripmining that removed the complexity and quality of a previously fantastic movie like Robocop (2014) was. It isn't a B-Movie remake lacking any talent or professionalism like The Thing (2011) was. It isn't a completely ill-advised remake of a movie that should have remained in the past like Red Dawn (2012) was, either.
No, this is an actual quality reboot. So maybe don't throw feces at the one good one we've gotten so far, huh?
9. It Isn’t a Re-MAKE, It’s a Re-BOOT (And Yes, That Does Matter)
This movie isn't trying to be a one-to-one remake of Ghostbusters (1984). It's intended to be the first in a brand new series of Ghostbusters movies using the central conceit of scientists catching ghosts to launch an entirely new series of fun genre-comedies.
Hell, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is more of a remake than Ghostbusters (2016) is, and we all agree that one is pretty darn good, right? What's that? A lot of GB16's most, um, aggressive critics also hate TFA because "grumble mumble "˜mary sue"˜ mumble burp"?
Well, I guess if you're one of those people, you can just stop reading this right now, because there is no way anything I say will pierce the veil of ignorance you have built around yourself.
A reboot is a much better move than a remake, primarily because it isn't ENTIRELY trying to capture the magic that made the original film so great. It's just trying to be a new, cool thing. So let it be that.
8. You Were Never Going to Get a Ghostbusters 3
Seriously. I know, I know, it's a tough realization to come to, but one we all need to get to.
Even if Harold Ramis, co-writer of the first two films and Dr. Egon Spengler himself, hadn't sadly passed away a few years ago, you STILL probs weren't going to get a Ghostbusters 3. Dan Aykroyd had been trying to get GB3 made for a long time, but it just wasn't working out. The script wasn't right or the cast wasn't ready or it just plain wasn't a good time. Even if Ramis were still alive, chances are we'd still be hearing GB3 rumors every couple years but nothing would ever come of them.
The closest we'll ever come is the Ghostbusters video game, which I like quite a lot. It's fun and if you want more OG GBs, that's where you'll find them. But a movie? No. and the depressing truth is, you probably wouldn't want it if you got it.
It's fully possible (and even likely) that another Ghostbusters movie, even with the original cast, crew, and writers, wouldn’t be very good. Why do I think that? Because"¦
7. Ghostbusters (2016) Isn’t Even the Worst Ghostbusters Movie
Ghostbusters 2 isn't good. It's reeeeeeeeeeally, reeeeeeeeeeeally not good. Now, I'M not happy it isn't good, I would love to have 2 awesome and 1 pretty good Ghostbusters movies, but we don't.
Ghostbusters 1984 was lightning in the bottle success. Something that can never be replicated in exactly the same way. That's why Ghostbusters 2016 works: it isn't trying to be exactly the same movie, it takes the core conceit of a sci-fi-"horror"-comedy and goes in its own direction with it.
Ghostbusters 2 tries to recapture the magic of the original in what is a giant lost cause. It's substantially less funny, it loses most of its charm, and while it has funny scenes and moments (I legitimately love the road work scene), it simply falls flat overall. It's a retread that has the major comedy sequel problem of resetting everybody to where they were at the beginning of the first movie. And saying this doesn't give me any joy.
Ghostbusters 2 isn't a terrible movie I enjoy ripping into like Batman v Superman, it's just a not-very-good movie that we need to talk about when praising the Ghostbusters "franchise". It isn't a franchise. It's not Star Wars, you guys. It's a great movie, a not good movie, a pretty good cartoon series and a fun video game. A pretty decent reboot isn't gonna "destroy" that "legacy".
6. It Has the Tone and Formula Down
So I'll let you in on my experience watching this movie. I entered a nice, LA adjacent theatre early in the evening, hopeful. The critics I trust either liked it, or at least excepted it as passably decent. I sat in the theatre, watched the trailers, and quieted down as the movie started.
The film opened in a probably haunted house with a tour group being led by"”holy crap, is that Zach Woods? The best part of the totally hilarious but underwatched HBO comedy Silicon Valley? Sweet! So Zach guides a tour group through the house, spouts off a couple great jokes, and establishes the ghostly history of the building. Later, we see him leaving the house at night. He hears something spooky, sees some crazy stuff, and flees into the basement. As an unseen ghost appears and starts moving towards him, the familiar theme song starts fading up in the background. As Woods looks into the camera and screams in terror at the ghost we aren't seeing, the music kicks in full blast and we cut to the title card.
As the logo slapped up onscreen, I turned to a friend, huge smiles on both our faces, and whispered, "This is gonna be fun." The rest of the movie follows an amended version of that old-school Ghostbusters tone.
That being a theme of experimental science being used for supernatural purposes, a cast of complete underdogs cracking jokes at the expense of the incompetent establishment, and a total love of throwaway jokes. And if that isn't a Ghostbusters movie, I don't know what is.
5. The Cast Are All Talented Comedians in Their Own Right
Anyone complaining that this new Ghostbusters is "just people from SNL" really knows absolutely nothing about the movie they think they love.
What do you think Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd were doing BEFORE Ghostbusters? THEY WERE SNL CAST MEMBERS. Harold Ramis wrote for a different late night sketch comedy show called SCTV, but he still had that job only because he turned down an offer from, you guessed it, Saturday Night Live. Ernie Hudson"¦had no real comedic career to speak of before GB, but his role was originally intended for SNL superstar Eddie Murphy. Yeah, that's right, Ghostbusters was originally intended to be a bunch of sketch comedy guys. So of course that's where Ghostbusters 2016 went for its cast.
And the ones they got were pretty great choices. Despite the fact that I don’t love her movies so much, Melissa McCarthy is a leading actress who's made some incredibly well-liked comedies in the recent past. Kristin Wiig is an extremely funny actor whose comedy chops should not be in question in the slightest. Leslie Jones has wonderful timing and delivers some of the stronger punchlines. And holy hell Kate McKinnon! If one person comes out of this movie looking like she's about to have a HUGE comedy career laid at her feet, its Kate friggin' McKinnon. Every scene she's in is full on stolen by her portrayal of Holtzman, this film's version of a Doctor Spengler.
Oh, and bit players like Zach Woods are utilized excellently. Chris Hemsworth also steals every single scene he's in, by the way. He's so adorably moronic, and I love it.
4. The Visual Style is Dead On
All the visual style on this movie feels like a perfectly logical extension of the original. The ghosts all look straight out of the original two movies, most at least cleverly designed if not plot necessary. The subway ghost in particular riffs on designs from Ghostbusters 2, of all things, and brings them together in a new and inventive way.
All the new ghosts strike that correct balance between a bit scary and kinda funny that a movie like this needs. My audience legitimately jumped at a couple of the scares in this movie, which is a really good thing.
And while Ghostbusters 1984 was one hundred percent made as a comedy, and anyone who thinks different is actually too stupid for me to comprehend their existence, a few scares are much appreciated.
The tech used by our cast of heroes is fun and new, building off that original premise of unlicensed nuclear reactors forced together in unsafe combinations. But of course, this flick isn't past those proton packs. It knows where it came from, but it won't resist going somewhere new with it.
3. Ghostbusters 1984 Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon
This movie will NEVER surpass the original, either in quality or influence. But that's ok. It's allowed to be its own thing.
But remember all those really terrible remakes I mentioned earlier? They didn't ruin the originals. Robocop is still one of the greatest satirical action movies of all time. The Thing (while a remake itself) remains a majorly influential horror touchstone. And Red Dawn"¦well, ok, but the passage of time made that movie irrelevant long before the remake got ahold of it.
People won't stop watching and loving the '84 Ghostbusters anytime soon. It's one of the ultimate comedy classics and a forerunner in the world of genre-comedy. I love it a lot. But this new movie can also exist. There's room for both out there.
Just because GB16 isn't as good as GB84 doesn't make the more recent film bad. In fact, it's pretty darn good. It's not perfect, or even excellent (it drags a bit, the end of the second act could use another pass and the third act feels drawn out) but it's good enough that its existence shouldn't legitimately offend you. Because if it does, I have to say something"¦
2. A Female Led Genre-Comedy Isn’t the WORST Thing in the World
I love genre comedy. A lot. Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods, Hot Fuzz, heck, some would even consider Back to the Future in this category, these are some of my favorite movies of all time. And having one of these granting greater representation to women as a whole? That's pretty cool.
I've seen so much outpouring of love for this movie from women of all ages, happy that someone made an asskicking comedic film designed as their power fantasy for once. And that doesn't mean us dudes can't enjoy it. Far from it, women have been loving masculine power fantasies for decades. I mean, look at the massive female following the MCU has cultivated.
But more than anything, I want new stories. And letting more people who aren't straight cis white dudes take center stage means way more types of stories we can tell. And that doesn't mean we stop getting stories about straight cis white dudes, it just means we get to also have cool, fun films about other people too. How is anyone anywhere offended by that? I actually don't understand it.
I just want more good, fresh movies. And diversity of voices helps with that.
1. It’s a Good, Funny Movie
Yeah, so I really had fun at this one. Maybe it was the classic underdog story, or the slight feeling of inventiveness, or the full-on intellectual pride, I don't know. But whatever it was, it made me overlook the film's flaws, which I've already talked about. I give it a solid B.
It's enjoyable. And all the complaints kinda baffle me. "Oh, all the male characters are either idiots or villains." Yeah, because they aren't Ghostbusters. Everyone in the '84 movie who wasn't a Ghostbuster or the love interest was a bumbling moron, too. That's the joke.
"It's just a bunch of SNL people." Already discussed why that one is dumb, so go back a few entries.
"The original Ghostbusters was great because it wasn't a straight-up comedy, it was a horror sci-fi movie with comedy elements." THIS IS AN ACTUAL THING A PERSON WROTE. And if you actually think that, then you really need to watch that movie again, because it is a straight-up comedy.
It has sci-fi elements, sure. And it is making fun of horror tropes, yeah, but it ain't no horror sci-fi. It has the friggin' Stay-Puft marshmallow man in it!
But on to the new one: Give it some support. It's a fun movie and if it does well, we might get some more female-led action comedies, and that'd be pretty cool. Like it, don't like it, it's up to you, but please don't treat it like it’s the worst thing ever in the history of the world. Because it isn't.
And when you throw a fit, you make us geeks look bad. Oh, and also, the widespread hatred of this movie has undeniable sexist undertones to it, and ignoring that makes you look clueless at best and misogynistic at worst.
Whew, glad I snuck that one in at the end, where most of the angriest people won’t get to it. I don’t want to get death threats or anything.