I was born in 1992, three years after Ghostbusters II came out. I didn’t get the opportunity to see Ghostbusters I and II when they came out in the cinema, but I eventually did last year when the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin was running a Bill Murray marathon.
I saw everything from Quick Change, Ghostbuster I/II to The Life Aquatic. I originally seen Ghostbusters on a VHS boxset my parents bought me and my sister to shut us up. It had the Addams Family, Ghostbusters I/II and Hook. We ignored Hook and the Addams Family and watched Ghostbusters so many times that to this day I still know every single line from the two movies. I get a nostalgia trip every time I watch Ghostbusters and no matter what the critics say about Ghostbusters II, I love it. Before TLC comes to my house to film me for an episode of ‘My strange addiction’ of Ghostbusters and Bill Murray, let me make this clear, the reboot for Ghostbusters just isn’t hitting the mark for me at all.
It isn’t because the cast is all women, in fact when I first heard this I thought it was pretty bold, something I like with reboots. I thought maybe they were going to revamp the series and make it something that is beholden to the original two films, but add something new. The initial anger from fans was directed at such a bold step, after all, the original cast are what we want to see, not a fresh cast of actors. Let me put it to you this way, when you watched Star Wars Episodes 1-3, it was awful. George Lucas tried to do something vastly different and changed the formula to include needless politics and CGI that hasn’t remained timeless. It was no wonder that when the Force Awakens came out, the film under the direction of J.J Abrams was fresh and ventured into new territory with the movie, also while giving us the formula we wanted. We were given a fantastic new generation of Star Wars villains and heroes, but we got to keep some of the old ones that brought us back to what it was like to see the films for the first time.
The comparison between Ghostbusters and Star Wars is tenuous at best. George Lucas was screwing up prequels, not rebooting his franchise. He wanted to milk that cash cow before he went in the direction we as fans wanted the film saga to go in. Ghostbusters shares some similarities to the prequels, namely they are taking the franchise name, but not taking anything that makes the franchise so memorable. I am all for bringing in a new generation of Ghostbusters, but I also want to see Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd appear in some substantial way, even if it is to assist the new Ghostbusters in their big showdown at the end.
The point of being a reboot is to take the story in a new direction, while keeping some characteristics of the original. There are signs that the film will follow a similar path as the originals, but it isn’t done in an ‘original’ way to justify a reboot. If they were to turn around and say ‘well we have an all female crew and we want some crazy story that turns what Ghostbusters is all about upside-down’ I would be all up for that. Instead they have taken the fundamentals and twisted them, not turned them upside-down. There is a scene where the crew goes to investigate paranormal activity. It’s basically a homage to the first film, but it looks awful because we have seen this before. The comedic element is lost because we already know the ghost is going to go to agro. In the trailer we see the ghost vomiting on Kristen Wiig’s character. Why not leave that scene out of the trailer and let it be the punchline. In other words, instead of a comedic scare, we get something different. Then again it doesn’t matter, we already know something has to happen because it’s basically the same scene from Ghostbusters I
It has already been announced that there will be cameos by the original cast, but a cameo isn’t enough to pass the torch to some new Ghostbusters. This is a film that shouldn’t have been made. Ghostbusters II was released in 1989 and it was a good move to leave off making a third installment because it would look like a cheap money grab. However, they have left the next film in the franchise to be released in 2016. That is 27 years, and if the trailer is anything to go by, the Ghostbusters franchise may end up in the 27 Club as a dead experiment of nostalgic ambition. Dan Aykroyd came out recently and stated that ‘the film has funnier jokes than the trailer’. I am skeptical of this simply because if there were funnier jokes, why not include some of them in the trailer to get people rallied to the side of this film. There are over 800,000 dislikes on the trailer on YouTube and the film looks to be a disaster before it is even released.
The criticism has been deflected mainly by commentators stating that the fans are being misogynistic. While I agree that there is a level of misogyny at play among some fans, the majority of us are disappointed because we wanted Ghostbusters III, not Ghostbusters Rebooted. Don’t get me wrong, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are funny, I don’t contest that, but the direction of the film sucks. At the end of the day, nothing will be revealed until the film is released and it will either be as we all expect it to be, a disappointment or it could be a great film that nobody gave a chance and we all deeply regret being uptight about, much like Heath Ledger’s role as the Joker, but I don’t think this film will be anything near the amazing performance of the late Heath Ledger. I am still willing to give this film a shot, even if I am going into it with little to no expectations. My lack of expectations were the reason I enjoyed Batman VS Superman, maybe this film can be a mediocre mess too.
As much as I want to see a Ghostbusters III, I think we can all agree that it isn’t needed. It is 2016, release a comic or a mini-series to give some closure to the events that take place after Ghostbusters II. The studio is stupid enough to mess up a cash cow franchise that has an anchor in pop culture for most people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The franchise doesn’t need a reboot, it needs to give us something fresh while giving homage to the original with some of the original cast taking some of the center stage. I plan to go watch this film in the cinema because I want to be amazed by it. I want it to give me the middle finger and say ‘you were wrong about us, now let’s get into the action’. But I have my doubts about that all right. Either way, Ghostbusters 2016 might very well be the end of the Ghostbusters franchise.