Let’s Talk About the ‘Ghostbusters’ Trailer
There’s a problem with talking about the new Ghostbusters movie.
Any news or mention of it is automatically met with a deluge of disdain and abuse because – shock, horror – they had the audacity to cast women in it. This is, of course, a completely ridiculous stance to take. As much as I love the original films I don’t think it sacrilege to revisit the concept. I’m also of the belief that we should wait and see the film for ourselves before judging it. There’s also the fact that this isn’t the first time Ghostbusters has been reimagined OR the first time they’ve had female members, so if you want to get cranky about that the train left the station 19 years ago.
The consequence of this knee-jerk bigoted response is that any who want the movie to be good, or already think that it looks good, are forced to take the other extreme in defending it to counteract the negativity. When it comes to discussing the movie and the trailer that was just released everyone seems to be taking sides. So let’s try taking an objective look.
Right off the bat the trailer does a great job invoking the tone of the original. The piano rendition of the classic theme music immediately tugs on the nostalgia strings, and the visuals harken back to film-making style of the 80s. Lots of bright colours against drab buildings. So in that regard the trailer works pretty well. The first scene with the characters looks very similar to the library scene at the beginning of Ghostbusters, with the same old world location and ghost. So far so good. The people making this must be big fans, just like us.
Then the ghost projectile vomits bright green slime over one of the characters.
This…didn’t sit with me. I’ve no problem with gross out humour in most cases but that didn’t feel like a Ghostbusters joke to me. What I loved about the original and what makes it rewatchable is how dry and deadpan the delivery is. The jokes are short and sharp, with much of the comedy deriving from the actors responses to their weird situations. The exchanges between Venkman and Viggo in the second one are gold. There is some physical comedy in the first film, such as Venkman being ‘slimed’, but this felt like they were trying to create comedy out of shock value.
Shock value and slapstick seemed to the order of the day. Literal slapstick, with Leslie Jones slapping Melissa McCarthy while yelling nonsense setting the tone for the humour, putting it more on the level of The Three Stooges rather than The Marx brothers. This may appeal to some viewers but it’s not my cup of tea. Drawn out awkwardness about the wig and the hat got less funny as the scene went on, and fans of the original may not enjoy this new direction.
In the interest of taking other opinions into consideration I did show the clip to students of different ages today, and the younger 12-14 groups found it very funny. Older teenagers had more of a ‘meh’ response.
Personal comedic preferences aside, there were some aspects of the trailer I really enjoyed. I loved the design work, especially on the Ghostbuster’s equipment. The new proton packs looked very cool, and had that ‘cobbled-together’ look rather than a slick, modern appearance. The uniqueness of each one is a great idea. The design on the ghosts, with the semi-translucent look, was also very good but I was less impressed with the bright glow effect on them. Whilst the original film ghosts were a good blend of realistic and cartoony, these new ones lean more into cartoon territory. They kinda looked like something from the Scooby-Doo live action movies, and that’s not a good thing.
We didn’t get a great insight into the new characters, but Holtzmann (McKinnon) was a clear stand out. She seemed like a really fun character – something of an oddball more interested in making gadgets than making a good impression. Talented and tough but capable of pulling pranks. I’m keen to see more of this character.
So what’s the takeaway from this? It’s got some great visual elements and the characters look fun. Some of the special effects could be to much like a cartoon and the comedy style of the actors might not be to everyone’s taste. Will it be a good movie? Honestly couldn’t say. I won’t be queuing up on opening night but I’ll check it out when I get the chance. Here’s hoping it is good, because the world could use more Ghostbusters.