Ghostbusters (2016): “See You On The Other Side, Ray”

After watching the recently released trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters (2016) film, I found myself shaking my head at yet another half-assed attempt to make money from nostalgic fans. I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about the idea of having a female-led cast replacing the previous Ghostbusters and personally I don’t see that as an issue at all…especially when you take into consideration everything else that is wrong with this film. Here is why I think Ghostbusters is going to be a complete and utter disappointment and disaster.

It’s difficult to look at this film objectively since I’ve been wholly against the idea ever since rumours of its planned creation spread across the internet like wildfire. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it until the trailer appeared on IMD. Upon watching it, my heart sank at how much worse this film looked than I had previously anticipated. The gender of the cast is not an issue but the casting itself is: Melissa McCarthy does not seem suited to a role in this film at all. I’m yet to find one of her films entertaining or even remotely funny and I could only guess at how many references to her weight we’re going to see throughout Ghostbusters. Her version of comedy typically resembles that of a spoof film such as Scary Movie or Hotshots. She’ll get hurt a lot and we’ll be expected to laugh at her pain. More than anything her voice is absolutely horrendous and seems to cause my soul to shrivel up in discomfort. I say voice but it isn’t really a voice, so much as a screech. It’s like she is constantly getting her toes crushed by a mousetrap every time she speaks; Leading me onto her co-star Kristen Wiig who I do find very entertaining…in minor roles such as her character Ruth Buggs in Paul (2011) or Paulette in Adventureland (2009). I even found her somewhat bearable in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) but only just. I just find most of her performances cause my head to sink into my shoulders in an attempt to escape how uncomfortable and cringy I find her acting. There are of course rumours that some of the original cast will be making cameo appearances in Ghostbusters which in most cases would be a positive thing. However, I feel that in this instance it will be similar to rubbing salt in an already very deep and painful wound.

Even just in the trailer you can see the thought process behind the movie: ‘We have better technology for special effects…so let’s go crazy and make as many ghosts as possible’…well look how that worked out for the prequel trilogy of Star Wars when they didn’t have the storyline to back it up. My concern is that they’ll go completely overboard with it, which is very much how it looked in the trailer. It reminded me more of Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed (2004) than a Ghostbusters film. It’s very possible that their plan is to just melt our brains with the over-use of CGI so that we leave the cinema not entirely sure how we felt about the film. The ghosts appeared to have this odd neon glow as if they had been covered in glow in the dark paint. In case I didn’t already feel like I was watching some sort of weird ghost rave, the issue of the music used during the trailer suddenly appears to add to that. Just in case there were still people out there who didn’t think that this film was being butchered alive, they unleashed this weird techno-style version of the original theme that we would all recognise anywhere. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during that discussion. “Should we use the original song?” “NO! We need everyone to know how modern and different this version of the film is in comparison to the original. So we’ll use the same tune but we’ll make it sound all sci-fi-ish with a techno spin to it”. In a way I’m actually glad they made this decision because if I’d had to listen to the original theme while watching this new trailer, I think my inner child would have killed itself.

Another aspect of this film that annoys me already is the general lack of originality. I’m not entirely sure if the purpose of this film is to be a remake or a sequel or a reboot. Apparently it takes place in a different universe to the originals (i.e. one where this is the first Ghostbusters group formed) but the trailer talks about how 30 years ago a group of scientists saved New York…clearly they just want us to take another moment to remember the cast of the much-loved original films before they crucify that memory with this abomination of a trailer. So since this isn’t meant to be in the same universe, did they have to make it so similar to the original? We have Slimer (the big, fat, round, green ghost) making a reappearance in this film (which again is weird due to the fact that it isn’t meant to be the same universe as the originals). Once again playing to the nostalgia of the potential-audience to make us feel connected to this film. It looks like we’re going to have the same general outbreak of ghosts “on a scale never seen before”. There will undoubtly be a love interest between one of the lead characters (I’m going to assume Kristen Wiig) and Chris Hemsworth’s character who I wouldn’t be surprised to discover is a client of the team. I wonder how long into the film we’ll have to wait before a twinky reference appears…probably as Melissa McCarthy eats one or comments on how she wants to eat one. I mean we even have the same library scene from the first film.Where the ghost appears calm and peaceful until approached by the team where it decides to turn ugly and angry. Do we really need so many nods to the original film? Why bother even writing a new script? Just give the new cast the old script and get it over with. I mean when making these new films, can we not just go with a completely original storyline that still plays a part in the same universe? We need only look at the other examples of this exact same thing that we’ve been exposed to recently: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Terminator Genysis, Jurassic World, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, even Independence Day. Most of these original films existed years before I was even born which meant I grew up watching them and now 20-30 years later (in most cases) we see the same heroes returning in order to make us feel connected to the new films, to make us feel like we are entering the same world we visited many times before. I mean I get it, I do, that’s how to sell films. I mean if Star Wars: The Force Awakens hadn’t had Han, Leia, Chewy, Luke (maybe Luke isn’t a good example) then the film wouldn’t have been hyped up nearly as much. Yet what we were given was pretty much the same film as A New Hope. I mentioned a similar issue in a previous post so I won’t go on about this too much but how many more Death Stars will we see by the time Star Wars films stop being made? Death Stars that are surprisingly easy to blow up, might I add. Jurassic World seemed like a new storyline: A genetically modified dinosaur, that’s pretty crazy stuff. Yet what we are ultimately given is the same storyline as the original. We even see the same T-Rex, the same buildings and cars from the original (all be it these were meant as nods to the original) but how many times can we watch as people try to interfere with dinosaurs only for it to go wrong and ultimately controlled? I’m sure that question will be answered over the course of the next two films. No doubt we’ll see a city being rampaged by dinosaurs like small version of Godzilla. I’d like to see one of these films just end with dinosaurs winning and eating the main characters. All of them! I won’t even get into Terminator or Indiana Jones…not to mention the Karate Kid film with Jaden Smith…Jesus!

Films (including their cast) are being recycled in such a way that originality no longer seems to play a role in these hugely popular franchise films. It seems that better special effects and a half-assed version of the original storyline are enough to warrant a new film. Throw in a few cameo roles from previous cast members as well as some vague and stretched storyline connection and Abra Kadabra you have a film setting new box office records. Having the idea to change the gender of the cast and make the film less entertaining is NOT a good enough reason to make a new film. I’m all for female-led films but destroying childhood memories is not going to help the idea of a female-led cast. Just saying. I can’t help but wonder if someone, somewhere, had the recent misfortune of being confronted by a powerful entity from another dimension before being told “Choose…choose the form of the Destructor”. Rather than thinking of Mr. Stay Puft the thought of a Ghostbuster remake slipped into their mind and before they could think of something else, the ball had begun to roll…

You can read my post-film follow-up here: