What to Do With a Problem Like “Ghostbusters”Posted: July 29, 2016 Filed under: culture, film, writing | Tags: 1984 ghostbusters, 2016 ghostbusters, Culture, Film, Gender, ghostbusters, marketing, sony, writing 1 Comment
I was one of those chaps born in 1989, there are a few of us, and being one of those chaps I was perhaps too young to appreciate Ghostbuster when it came out in 1984.
Years later, when I was essentially an adult, I watched it again and found it to be…not that great.
The humour was a little meagre for my tastes, and the nerd/slacker focus was a tad uninspiring too. However, I found the creativity of the film, in ripping open the subject matter of nerds/slackers meet ghosts/history/NYC/paying the rent was tremendous; and this is the essence of the original Ghostbusters that the remake should have harnessed, rather than a mere brand name.
The film has received nastiness, nastiness inspired by revenge.
People are angry, but why so angry? Crappy films and crappier re-makes have been made and re-made before.
What’s the issue here?
Here’s the issue here.
Hurting Those Who Gave the Original Film the Prestige Sony’s Cashing in On
If you fuck with a cult film, you’re going to hurt people on an individual level if you don’t have the best intentions.
For a cult film to become so, like Ghostbusters, it requires that audience member to put a degree of themselves into their passion for it, in the same way anyone comes to love any project of theirs. So when someone (Sony) takes it and twists it, not for the better, you’re taking and warping a degree of that individual and in many cases it is their childhood or loner-hood.
Films can go from neglected to beloved by the power of the many individuals who come to love it and espouse its qualities and worth; best example being “The Big Lebowski” (my favourite).
The women and men currently in their 30s, those for whom “Ghostbusters” holds nostalgic and personal value, are smarting from not only the poor quality of the film but more so because now Sony has done it to them.
Want to know why they’re pissed off? Google “Ghostbusters” – see what comes up.
The Gender Issue
It wasn’t an issue.
It was an issue for one group only.
The audience didn’t care that it starred women, only the studio did. You can’t take a beloved film and have 1 new addition, otherwise it is simply cashing in on the former’s reputation.
“Ghostbusters…This Time With Women!” didn’t need to be made. The studio’s highlighting that this time it’s got women as stars is not a selling point – it shouldn’t matter if it is men or women starring; gender of the cast should not be a selling point.
Doing this only goes to offend the nostalgia fans, the feminist movement and the audience at large because it’s meagre and a pointless transformation.
Gender should not be a selling point and the studio have insisted to the contrary.
By all means, make a film starring solely women, but don’t try to make that the reason we should go and see it. That’s shoddy marketing and an insult to us all.
The best intentions for a film like this should be that you wish to go by the old mantra: similar but different.
You’ll want to modernise the film in terms of what will gain 21st century audience attention span along with 21C humour, whilst also keeping the essence of the original.
In this case study, Sony did not have the best intentions and sought only to cash in on the brand name’s prestige and inject minimal creative additions: gender (ir)relevance and crappy 21C fad humour.
Awkwardness is not funny, as the abysmal yet sadly typical trailer demonstrates.
Just look at the work of the great comic Sasha Baron Cohen, who’s “Borat” and “Bruno” exemplified tremendously that awkwardness is an eventuality – not an objective – of comedy. If it doesn’t come from a funny premise, it is merely awkward and that’s not worth anyone’s time. Cohen’s characters always came from a humorous premise and this is why the films were funny, whilst their hallmarks of awkwardness were an eventuality – not the objective and not the selling point.
Something to be born in mind here are those involved who are not to blame for Sony’s actions.
A good cast of actors, each with a promising future and dedication to their craft have been hoodwinked into believing this is going to be a quality product and have likely given this project their all, as have all those many names in the final credits of the production.
You can only do what you can do with a shitty script, poor direction and production, especially with an awful overseer in Sony.
They don’t deserve hate.
Given better projects, they’ll likely shine and we should wish them all well.
They will have learnt this bitter lesson.
Sony will probably do this again, as will other studios.
What to Do Now
Well, if you liked the original Ghostbusters, watch it again, laugh and remember, alone or with buddies.
The original film, or rather the “Good Ghostbusters” hasn’t gone anywhere.
It’s still there in all its 1984 glory.
So be sure your kids see that one first, and perhaps see what you can do to get the “Good Ghostbusters” higher in the Google rankings.
Go see the next Melissa McCarthy film, the next Paul Feig picture and even the next Sony release.
The might be good, might be horrendous, might be great. You’ll never know unless you go see it and give it a chance. If it’s rubbish; go home and watch the “Good Ghostbusters” again.
Let it fade into obscurity, just as this film shall, and relax.
Jeez, I don’t like either of them anyway.