Reboot or Regression: Ghostbusters Deserves A Fair Chance

This week, new character posters for the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot were released, featuring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. As expected, social media backlash ran the gambit from “no more reboots” to the obvious and primitive sexist comments that have followed this production since it was announced.

Now while the movie going public may be suffering from remake and reboot fatigue, the reactions to this particular project seem a bit harsher and more vicious than say the recent RoboCop remake or the second rebooting of the Spider-Man franchise. Is it because the original Ghostbusters has such a standing legacy with people? Perhaps, and this does not apply to everyone, that it is merely because 4 women will be filling the roles of our favorite paranormal experts.

Ghostbusters reboot
Ghostbusters (2016)
photo: Sony Pictures

Why does this bother people so much?

From Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Madonna to Janelle Monae, women have been carving paths through every area of our culture for quite some time. What makes Ghostbusters so special? Is it because untold numbers of young fans (myself included) loved the movies, watched the cartoons, had the toys, and took turns playing their favorite Ghostbuster? Now with a female led reboot, are all of those memories and experiences now invalid? Guess what?

They aren’t.

For a long time, there had been hope of a 3rd film in the Ghostbusters series, but hope waned as time went on. Dan Aykroyd had been wanting to put a film together, and as recently as 2013, it looked like it may happen and that project went nowhere. August 2014 bought the announcement that Sony Pictures was moving forward with a complete reboot of the franchise, not a sequel, and an all-female cast. The internet exploded with cries of ‘my ruined childhood’, ‘no more reboots’, and a very curt and direct response by director Paul Feig.

The concern about reboots and remakes is not unfounded. The lukewarm offerings of films like Total Recall (2012), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and The Lone Ranger can be presented as reasons why a reboot or remake can be a poor idea, but like any genre or type of movie, there is plenty of good, bad, and middling offerings to be had. Batman Begins, Mad Max: Fury Road and 21 Jump Street were reboots that were universally praised, spawning sequels, and are credited with presenting a fresh take on a familiar story, even the 2011 reboot of Fright Night was a solid film with standout performances from Colin Farrell and David Tennant. Not liking reboots or remakes is OK. Using it as a shield to hide your disdain for women “trampling all over your childhood is not”, and the feeling is that is the case more often than not.

Ghostbusters should have the chance to prove its worth or folly on its own merits. The film has a competent director in Feig,  Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy have had success in both television and film, and two of SNL’s funniest cast members (in my humble opinion) in Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.

So grab your proton pack (you know you have one in the attic somewhere), your Ecto Cooler, and enjoy what is looking to be a welcome addition to the Ghostbusters legacy.

Ghostbusters releases July 16, 2016

Mat Douglas
Mat Douglas
From Connecticut, that state between New York and Massachusetts, he enjoys well-made cookies, sarcasm, and Liverpool FC.