Who ya gonna call?
I’ll be upfront, I’m not of the Ghostbusters generation. I’m definitely of the Disney Princess and Pixar 90’s monopoly, though I must have seen Ghostbusters as a kid as I knew the theme song and knew exactly how to respond when someone asked, “who ya gonna call?”. I was also vaguely aware of Slimer, the Ghostbusters’ logo, Bill Murray and Ecto-1, but that could have been to do with pop culture appropriation and it seeping into various cartoons and sketch comedy on TV. I have no real attachment to the original, and to be fair I’m a little bit of a reboot, remake and continuation junkie; with the new Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Indiana Jones and Star Wars on my list of all time favourite sci-fi. I love that I can share in stories and characters that my Dad had a connection with in his earlier decades; it brings us sci-fi nerds of opposing generations closer together.
When I first saw the trailer and started to get excited about the film I naively thought the original fans of Ghostbusters would have been excited to see a new rendition of their fave comedic paranormal flick too. I thought the majority of fans would be excited to see an extension of their beloved universe, an extension that could bring generations together to experience the joy that is Ghostbusters. I thought wrong.
The reaction around the new Ghostbusters was as if the director Paul Feig had announced they were going to burn every video, DVD, film strip and piece of memorabilia, eradicating the original Ghostusters from the planet. Fans were so upset about the big studio and this man ruining THEIR movie, taking away THEIR childhood. Why? Because they cast the new Ghostbusters as women.
They took to every social platform in order to destroy the film before it had even started. Because of women.
I was furious with the reaction of these particular misogynistic fans. They were always going to recast the actors in the film, what difference does it make that they are of a different sex to the original? These women are some of the top comedians of our time. Kirsten Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are killing it – Bridesmaids and Spy are two of my favourite comedies. Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are baddass funny ladies living it up on SNL. They are comedic and they are talented. What’s the big deal??
The moment I heard that there was this weird uprising of hate towards the new female led cast I was determined to go see the film. I was excited before the uproar, but now I knew I genuinely needed to go. The instigators of hate to the new film would never set foot in the theatre in their attempt to boycott and bring the film crashing down. I knew the film was going to be good and I wanted to do my part in helping the film succeed, even just by buying a ticket; helping to encourage a future for female led films. I wasn’t disappointed.
The film barely let me breathe in the constant barrage of comedy, and yes, I probably was the loudest laugh in the cinema, but I could hear beyond myself; everyone found it funny. Ghostbusters was warm, silly, quirky and downright hilarious. It was that kind of comedy that you walk out at the end and you feel great about yourself and the world. A kind of fist pumping feeling. It didn’t take itself too seriously and it didn’t overextend itself, it was just good fun.
It loosely follows the format of the original, though it is definitely its own story (I watched the original the day after so I’m savvy on the two now). I won’t go into the plot, but the film follows each character’s personal development and the growing group’s friendship alongside their battle to save the world from the paranormal. There are cool gadgets, cool ghosts, cool new Ghostbusters and a myriad of cameos and references to keep the fans happy.
What I enjoyed most about the film, asides from the belly-aching laugh inducing comedy, was the way women were portrayed. These female Ghostbusters are smart talking scientists, they talk in technical terms, they’re brave, they work with gadgets and mechanical objects, they can fight, they battle through failure and success, they’re baddass and unafraid. They’re also not sexualised. They are awesome because of their brains and what they can do, not because of what they wear or what they look like. That’s very rare to see in film, and it was amazing.
My favourite moment, which has been repeatedly echoed across the internet, is when Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann (incidentally the stand out character for me) is faced with a near impossible battle ground. Reaching for her self-made proton stream shooting guns, she licks one, and sets off into one of the most incredible fight scenes I’ve seen in a film. She shoots, rolls, almost dances on the screen, completely in control. It was a moment where I was just left with my mouth dropped open, looking around to see if anyone else was noticing how damn brilliant this scene was. And they did. That moment resonated with me and so many others because this was a portrayal of a woman being so damn baddass and cool, and she didn’t look remotely sexy doing it. It doesn’t sound particularly groundbreaking, but it’s exceptional to see a moment like that. I was in awe because I was suddenly provided a hero I could identify with, imagine how young girls will react to this moment in film? More widely, imagine how young girls will react to this incredible female cast and their portrayal of strong, smart and funny women? It’s something the original Ghostbusters never touched on and this is why the new film is so important, it opens the Ghostbusters universe beyond the original scope and to a whole new generation of fans.
Simply put, why should you see the film? It’s fun, it’s hilarious, it’s ridiculous, it’s well written and well acted, the cast is stellar, it has great cameos and references from the original, it has some amazing moments and it provides the world with new female role models. It’s not perfect, but neither was the original, it’s not serious, it’s not life-changing and it’s probably not for everyone, but it will definitely put a smile on your face. Take your family, take your daughters, go if you’re a fan, go with friends and spread the word that this is a film worth seeing.
Just a tiny, insignificant warning, the theme song will haunt you forever.
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.