Dr. Spenglerlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Reboot

So! The trailer for the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters arrived on the ‘net recently, to “mixed” reactions, and once again I find myself smack dab in the middle of a fandom that is eating itself alive (stay classy Final Fantasy and Devil May Cry). Here we have both the initial announcement trailer, and the international one, which has some different scenes.

Oooooh noooo~?

Let’s preface this with the apparently required admission of my fanaticism of the franchise. I’ve mentioned before how I grew up watching Ghostbusters. I wore out a couple tapes of the original movie from how much I watched them, I gluttonously consumed both the “Real” Ghostbusters (with the Slimer headlining version) and the latter Extreme version. Then, the game came out on PlayStation 3 (after previously being canceled, much to my dismay), and I was all over it.

Thank you, Atari

I had plenty of the toys when I was younger as well (I was partial to my air-pressure trap with the glow-in-the-dark chevrons). I never had the means to get deep into the cosplay scene with the jumpsuits and artistically-crafted proton packs and other props, but I admire it all the same. While spending my time drawing, I drew a lot of random little comics in spiral notebooks about my own team of Ghostbusters, but at the time I was never any good at designing my own ‘busting gear – although I got really good at drawing the packs and wands themselves franchise-wide. I was, for all intents and purposes, obsessed for some time.

The dance was also perfected

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…

Why Reboot?

I guess, it goes without saying that we didn’t need a reboot of the Ghostbusters, but honestly, what ever does? A lot of the times people are content with what was created in the past, and it would be nice if more stuff was just rereleased in theaters to recreate that experience – especially for more than an extremely limited run in a few cities. When reboots are created, it’s usually to breathe life into something that’s stagnated, or hasn’t been relevant in a while. Now, any fan of just about anything will say that what they love is still relevant, at least to them, but Ghostbusters is still pretty up there. Hell, I heard the logo is one of the most recognizable logos in the world, right behind Coca-Cola’s.

He was always more surprised than upset

Another common point is that whosoever holds the rights to the IP is just out for money, and will do whatever they can with an IP to get more. Obviously. This is still a business, after all, but what was happening with the Ghostbusters IP besides? Nothing, sadly. The PS3 game was fantastic (subjectively), and then there was a mobile game or two, as well as comics, and…then nothing until this reboot, right? I think there was a board game in there somewhere, as well. Anyway…

My Own Thoughts So Far

Pictured: Initial Reaction

I had been waiting to see a trailer for some time, since I usually don’t care for production images and such. I loved the colors, because I’m just a guy who loves color in the world, and the palette reminded me a lot of the cartoon, which isn’t bad. The ghosts were that really interesting mix of the normal and the malformed “What-could-this-possibly-be-a-ghost-of?” kind.

Aside from John Belushi

The humor was…okay. The problem is that a lot of comedy relies heavily on context and set-up, and when it comes to movie trailers, there’s not nearly as much that you can set up or give context to, so you end up with either a lot of the sight gags, or stuff that is sorta funny on its own, but still needs its context in the end. Obviously, I doubt it’s going to be as subtle in some places with its humor as the deliveries of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis could provide, but I’ve consumed a lot of Feig’s work before, and there still is a lot of potential.

As with most trailers, they probably could have gone with not showing nearly as much as they did. For instance, McCarthy’s possession – they should have cut away with the slime coming out of her. Especially, Leslie Jones screaming I could have done without. Some have complained about McCarthy’s “that’s gonna leave a mark” because it’s old and cliched, but…well…I can’t remember the last time I heard that phrase, and it sounded authentic for the most part. That line has become so cringe-worthy because it seems to be used mostly in an ironic way, for some sort of cheap snort. This is the first time I’ve heard it unironically.

One thing I like the most is that it doesn’t seem like they tried to genderbend the characters, shoehorning them as “this is the female Ray/Egon/whoever,” well, other than Leslie Jones who unfortunately just seems to be Winston as the non-academic straightman of the bunch. Interestingly, Jones’ bombastic character was originally written for McCarthy, since she’s played the role rather well in the past, which means that perhaps Jones was going to play a scientist, and they decided to put the actor in the personality they can best play? McCarthy was great as a more reserved character in Gilmore Girls and in the beginning of Spy. So far everyone seems like they’ll do a good job.

Another thing I liked is that Leslie Jones’ character didn’t simply join the team looking for a paycheck (sorry, Winston), but presented her unique knowledge set and wanted to help them. There’s also just something about Holtzman that has me digging the character. Perhaps it’s because she reminds me of the cartoon version of Egon. She also acts rather facetious like Venkman, which is always a plus in my book.

And I swear it has nothing to do with dual pistols…

As far as the movie itself goes, I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun, just like the originals were, but you really need to love Ghostbusters to understand why people like it. It’s sorta niche. It probably won’t be as gigantic a hit as something like Deadpool, because well, that was something incredibly special, and a part of what made Ghostbusters a hit originally was the all-star cast, and that’s hard to replicate 100%. That success will be even harder, given the upset around the movie’s existence…

The Upset

People are upset by this reboot; some because it has an all-female cast, some because the casting in general, and some because it’s a reboot instead of a continuation after thirty years. I probably don’t need to go into detail of why an all-female cast shouldn’t be a problem, because that’s just…not worth mentioning. If it’s about the cast in general, I dunno…actors are malleable people, it’s their job. What matters is that they aren’t typecast too often, I feel. I’ve followed Melissa McCarthy for a rather long time, but what ultimately matters is not having expectations of how a character is going to act simply because of who is playing them. The trailers give us an idea of what they’re like, and so far there hasn’t been much of anything that should be cause for concern.

I can understand the upset of it being a reboot; hell, I would have loved to finally get the Extreme Ghostbusters concept onto the big screen as a revival, just as the cartoon was at the time, because it just worked – students of an old ‘buster become the new recruits who strap on the packs for a new wave of hauntings. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards, because no one ever listens to my ideas (harumph). When it comes to it not being a continuation…I mean, it’s been thirty years. Murray is a really fickle guy, losing his spirit as filming goes on, and Ramis is on the other side.

Enjoying a Twinkie guilt-free. Zero calories when you’re incorporeal

At this point, if the planets had aligned and Ramis was still with us, would people have been as receptive? Or would they have ultimately panned it as a nostalgic cash-grab after far too long, which is totally something today’s consumer society would do.

What is Loved, and Why I’m Not Worried

I have an inkling feeling that one of the biggest reasons why people are upset about the remake is that they want Ghostbusters 3, but…let’s be honest – we’re not going to get it. The closest we ever would have come would be what amounts to an Extreme Ghostbusters concept. No, y’know what? We did get it, it was the game, written by Aykroyd and Ramis themselves, and performed by the original cast members (mostly).

Seriously kids, I can’t swear by this game enough

A bigger part of what makes Ghostbusters so lovable is also the universe. The idea of busting ghosts and other mythical horrors with positron colliders is just a super fun idea, and we were introduced to this world through the eyes of a cavalcade of great comedic actors, who kept things from getting a bit too serious. Humor, as what I believe is one of the strongest emotions, is the enemy of fear, after all.

Look at all the people in the fanbase, those that don the jumpsuit, oftentimes embroidered with their own names, and strap on fantastically-crafted proton packs. They become ghostbusters, not simply becoming Pete, Ray, Egon, or Winston (or Luis…or Janine, Eduardo, Roland, Kylie, Garret…Slimer). One of the big reasons I loved the game so much was because I got to be part of the gang. I didn’t assume the role of an existing character, I was with them. I wasn’t one of them, I was one of them! Even playing pretend with friends when I was younger, we didn’t assume the roles of any one ghostbuster, we were ourselves, bustin’ ghosts!

While no one can deny the fantastic comedic delivery of the original cast, it’s only one part of the whole, nestled snugly within a universe full of ghosts that need zappin’ and trappin’, which is a large part of the franchise’s lasting appeal on many fans, and it’s a huge part of what kids absolutely love about the franchise, because Lord knows there’s plenty of jokes going directly over their heads. We’ll never forget the work of Harold Ramis, but what ultimately lives on is a universe of ghosts and the sardonic heroes who capture them. It’s a fantastic work of art.

Some would call it a masterpiece

When it comes to this all-female reboot, it’s just another excursion into that world of ghostbusting, a new take on the idea that we’ve seen through two movies, countless video games (both fun and terrible), comics, and two and a half cartoon series. We get to see this world again, without having to reminisce! That doesn’t really ever happen, and I’m at least excited to see what this new film has to offer for that universe I love.