New Ghostbusters: Why I’m Not Sold

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Last week the first official trailer for the new Ghostbusters reboot was released. Most of the reactions I’ve heard of were decidedly less than positive, though this article has an …interesting argument for liking the new movie. While I won’t disagree that the depiction and general treatment of women in the original 1984 Ghostbusters film is pretty shitty (Venkman is a creeper and Dana deserves better), I strongly disagree about the writer’s call for “gender reparations.” I can’t speak for all women, but frankly, I find the very idea of “gender reparations” insulting. Is remaking every successful movie in the history of cinema that portrays women poorly going to make up for a cultural history of general oppression? No, that’s not only dumb, but also impractical. You can’t make things better by just buying the women of the world a few metaphorical “I’m sorry” bouquets. But I digress.

It’s not that I don’t like the idea of this new film because the cast is all women; far from it. The problem I have is the fact that ‘the main cast is all women’ is the movie’s defining feature. It’s not a movie about four people that get together to fight an supernatural threat who just happen to be women, even if that’s what they’re trying to do. It’s a movie with the primary purpose of cashing in on people’s nostalgia for the first Ghostbusters film. That much is made clear in the first 20 seconds of the trailer, when they remind the audience “30 years ago, four scientists saved New York” (despite the fact that this is a reboot-not a sequel-so in the world of the movie, there were no ghostbusters 30 years ago). To me, the fact that all the characters are now women can’t be seen as any more than a cheap gimmick parading itself as being “feminist.”

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To elaborate, the reason behind my distaste for this reboot is basically the same reason I don’t like things like the Nerf “Rebelle” toy line, or really anything that puts out a second (usually pink) special edition for women. In a way, it’s the same reason why keeping things “separate but equal” is still racist. Taking something that already exists and making a second, almost entirely identical, “girl” version isn’t feminist or promoting equality. All it’s doing is perpetuating the idea that girls are different from boys and should be kept separate. We as a society need to realize that men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus; we’re all humans and we all come from Earth. So we don’t need a second set of pink shears at the hardware store, or to rebrand a popular toy as pink, purple and flowery just to market it to girls. The way it looks now, the 2016 Ghostbusters film is going to go down in history as no more than the “girl version” of the franchise, and I just can’t support something like that.

All that being said, the trailer isn’t without merit. Kate McKinnon’s character looks hilarious, and Leslie Jones’ “the power of pain compels you!” line was a pretty funny as well. There is some potential there; it could go either way depending on how much these new characters differ from Egon, Venkman, Ray, and Winston.

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So I suppose that in conclusion, I appreciate what the franchise is trying to do by casting the leads as all women. I just wish it would have been something new, where the cast and crew would have more of a chance to make their own unique classic.