December 15, 2017

The Strange New Ghostbusters Trailer

For the past year Sony has been haemorrhaging cash with a litany of bad movies. Their market share of the box office is now a miserable 8% with only Spectre and Hotel Transylvania passing the $100m mark. After Jurassic Worlds financial success it was only a matter of time before Sony went grasping for a nineties success to match Universal’s cash cow. Sony has brought back one of Hollywood’s most iconic franchises, The Ghostbusters.

Sony released the trailer for the new movie just over a week ago. Here it is:

It starts with the slow piano rendition of the original theme over an establishing shot. Remember when every cinema advert started with a PHWAMMMMM thanks to the Inceptions popular trailer? Well, slow piano cover of an established theme song is Hollywood’s new lazy trailer gimmick. Also I can’t ignore how the trailer almost makes it sound like the movie takes place in the same universe as the originals when it doesn’t.

The starting song is tonally very different to the rest of the trailer. It’s ominous and poignant yet the first scene we are presented with is a vomiting ghost gag and a tragically unfunny one at that.

After that we have some expository dialogue:

Holtzmann, you’re a brilliant engineer.

The “show, don’t tell” rule is being resolutely ignored. Many (myself included) hope that this dialogue won’t make it into the final product or will at least be reframed in those scenes.

If you’ve seen the original Ghostbusters with its stand-up styled humour then this new take on the series will shock you as they barrel head first into slapstick humour faster than you can say “Christine Wiig’s wig”.

Speaking of the actresses…

segue

The new cast have a lot of people worried. Whilst Kristin Wiig looks fine, Melissa McCarthy has a bad habit of switching to boring fat jokes and obnoxious screeching when she is saddled with a PG-13 rating. In this trailer it’s not McCarthy who’s handed the low brow humour, rather it’s Leslie Jones playing the streetwise Patty. This isn’t so surprising when you take director Paul Feig’s comments into account:

When Katie and I wrote the script, we had written the role with Melissa in mind, but then I thought, I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger than life character.

So instead of Melissa McCarthy pratfalling into a crowd or buying a hearse, it’s been moved over to Jones. This has caused people to accuse the film of racism. The Ghostbusters’ loud mouthed, non-educated member is black. Patty is completely different from Winston in the original Ghostbusters who was the quiet grounded member of the group. This gave the other comedians someone to play off as the straight guy. That’s another worry I have for this film. With four jokers leading, who is their to contextualize the jokes?

Leslie Jones lashed out against comments on twitter. Some of these were well ententioned critiques of the trailer whilst others were vile pieces of hate speech.

This is a real post from Twitter.
This is a real post from Twitter.

Paul Feig seems very confident with the performance of Leslie Jones,

She really kills at the test screenings we’ve done so far.

Whilst I really hope she is a lot better in the finished product, I have my doubts. Kate McKinnon is the final member of the Ghostbuster’s crew and whilst she is untested as a lead at this level, I think she will do well. She’s seen as one of the better SNL players of late and she looked funny in the trailer.

I have other questions about the actors included. In the original movie the Ghostbusters’ secretary, Anni Potts, took her scant screen time and turned it too gold. Will Chris Hemsworth be able to equal this or will his big name demand a big part? Will the cameo’s from the original cast be significant? I wonder if Bill Murray will end up being a villain.

Social media responses to the trailers have been pretty poor with viewers clearly feeling something is amiss with the trailer:

chlamydia

ratings
The ratings on the Youtube video are awful.

Two elements will make or break this movie; the chemistry of the team and the quality of the humour. I don’t mind the odd pratfall and ectoplasm vomit joke but there needs to be some funnier parts. The trailer made a reference to the Exorcist where “the power of christ compels you” has become “the power of Patty compels you”. I don’t know if this is another case of over-zealous neutering for America’s religious contingent or if the writers thought it to be generally funny. Hopefully the later.

Also, they need to avoid making the movie overly cheesy. No one wants another Ghostbusters 2… Okay, some would like another Ghostbusters 2 but they should probably be locked away in the Ecto Containment Unit.

In you go!
In you go!

The original Ghostbusters movie was no origin tale for it’s characters. Three of the cast members were already a team and they quickly track their first ghost in a library to ectoplasmic results. Hopefully the new movie doesn’t linger too long on this part of the story. Thanks to the Superhero film invasion in Hollywood most viewers are burnt out on origin tales.

The sets and equipment look fantastic so far. I like the new trap design and weapons. A lot of care has obviously been put into this.

The special effects so far have been a bit of a mixed bag. Slimmer looked amazing. He was brought to life (or death) using a mixture of puppetry and CGI and it looks perfect. The other ghosts look a bit too blue and shiny. Hopefully they will be given a more realistic colour palette for the final release.

In Summary

It’s unsurprising that this remake has faced such strong criticism. Paul Feig has switched the films comedic subgenre from stand-up-routine-ish to pure slapstick. Some people will love this change but others will dislike it and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I predict the film to do well comercially but face several critical hits for using “lazy easy humour”. Any critics with a dissenting opinion will be labelled as a sexist. When they defend themselves comment sections will be filled with actual sexists acting like arseholes making the defense look hollow.

It’ll take awhile for the illfeeling to clear and once it does we’ll be able to more accurately rate the movie. My heart wants it to be a good film but there are serious warning signs with the late marketing campaign, budget reductions and major directors and actresses passing on the roles.

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