Friday, 4 March 2016

Ghostbusters 3

So I decided to watch the trailer for the new Ghostbusters film. Against my better judgement. I have to admit, I was concerned when they announced a remake of the original, which was one of the favourite films of my childhood. I was even more concerned when they announced that it would be an all-female cast, without any stipulation as to why that creative decision was made.

But I thought, hey, don't just jump to conclusions. At least give the trailer a shot. So I did. And duly regretted it.

The trailer showcases a film which appears to be straight remake of the 1980s original. Ghost in library: check. Ectoplasm gags: check. Inappropriate Cadillac: check. Slimer: check. Disused fire station: check. Proton packs & grey uniforms: check. Token black character: check. The only thing missing was the Staypuft Marshmallow Man. I even caught a glimpse of Goza's gate.

The only thing that seemed substantively different was that the gender roles have been inverted from the original. The Ghostbusters are all women (men in the original), and their secretary is a man. A feminised Chris Hemsworth, by the looks of things. There doesn't appear to be any particular reason for this, other than so we can get a few shots of women doing 'science'. It feels clumsy, contrived and pointless.

The implied racism was cringeworthy. All the white girls do the science, but the black girl knows 'New York'. She knows the street. For FUCK'S sake. Talk about racial typecasting. Even the original didn't go that far... at least they actually played on Winston being black to humorous effect, most memorably when he says to the Italian mayor 'I've seen shit that'll turn you WHITE!'

Now, I'm not a film snob. I mean, generally I like films to have an intelligent, original plot, interesting characters, perhaps subversive themes, philosophical questioning, good dialogue and an engaging narrative. But in the absence of those things, I'll settle for cheap thrills like tits and violence. I like the Transformers films because of that. They are not works of high art - but they're mildly entertaining, and you don't have to concentrate too much on them.

The original Ghostbusters was well-written, funny, with exceptional deadpan delivery from Bill Murray. The chemistry between the entire cast was perfect - Sigourney Weaver was excellent, Rick Moranis was just annoying enough, and the special effects were good enough to convince, even now. This remake looks like it's heavily redoing plot elements, inverting gender roles simply to make a political point and at the same time dropping the ball on race, and doesn't even provide me with any cheap thrills.

I thought Chris Hemsworth being a secretary would piss me off, but it doesn't - his purpose is eye candy for the ladies. And that's fine. That's OK. That's pretty much the basis of Hugh Grant's entire career. Cheap thrills for the ladies is perfectly fine. But it seems that, in the absence of an original plot, the creators couldn't bring themselves to even throw in some cheap thrills for the men.

So it appears that Ghostbusters has been re-made as a chick flick. That's fine - perfectly valid direction for the franchise to take, and I am sure one that will reap financial rewards. The film-makers will very likely line the pockets with the hard-earned dollars of many people.

But they won't be with mine. I will be spending my money on products that cater to my tastes. So please don't try to dress this film up as modern, or innovative, or interesting, or different. Because it's not. It's a chick flick. It's light entertainment for women. That's fine - women deserve light entertainment as well. But I think I'll stick with Transformers for my low-brow needs - huge fuck-off robots, explosions and Megan Fox's arse.