The original 1984 Ghostbusters is not a classic. In fact, that’s what makes it so enjoyable. It’s got little to no character development, a poorly paced and thinly drawn plot, and fewer funny lines than you remember. It’s essentially an hour-and-a-half Saturday Night Live sketch, with all of the charm and irreverence that comes with that description.
Which is why it’s weird that there’s been such an organised and vitriolic backlash to the film’s upcoming reboot. At time of publication the film’s first trailer boasts the most dislikes in YouTube trailer history, and several diehard fans have even suggested boycotting the film. Seriously. People hate this movie, and they are dead-set on telling you so.
To an extent, I get why. I personally don’t think the trailers look great, and though that isn’t always a good measure of a film’s quality — one of my personal favourite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has one of the all-time worst trailers ever — I can see why people are angry that their favourite movie might be remade as a lazy box office bomb.
That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is just how much people are against this film. The general reaction seems to be that it’s a disaster of Biblical proportions: human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.
So, when was the last time a crappy remake generated this much hatred and vitriol? The fanboys didn’t riot over last year’s Fantastic Four reboot, which The Atlantic called “a dull, sour, claustrophobic mess.” They didn’t riot over 2012’s Total Recall reboot, which Time named as “totally forgettable.” And they didn’t riot over 2013’s Oldboy reboot, which Screen Rant quipped was “second-fiddle in nearly every way to its South Korean inspiration.”
All of these films are remakes of beloved franchises with predominantly male fanbases. And yet Ghostbusters is the first to earn a trailer with a majority of dislikes.
By now, I think you know as well as I do why this film is getting the hate it’s getting. But just to clarify, let’s take stock of the top rated YouTube comments on the film’s first trailer. Here’s a personal favourite: “Let’s ruin an original movie and make all of the characters women JUST to please misandrist feminists! If that’s not sexist, I don’t know what is.”
Surprise! It’s misogyny on the Internet.
Of course, many of the fanboys — the ones who realise that it’s 2016 and it’s not ‘acceptable’ to be openly sexist anymore — will deny that their hatred has anything to do with the film’s female cast. Many of them might even believe that.
Some have even brought up annoyance with Leslie Jones’ character’s stereotypical mad black woman schtick, which would be a fair criticism if it were matched by similar organised outrage towards all of the other racist bullshit Hollywood churns out every single year. (Spoiler: it isn’t.) And that ignores that the exuberance of Jones’ character seems to match most of the other characters she plays, as well as the tone of her standup.
I call bullshit on all of these excuses. There’s a difference between passively thinking a movie looks bad and actively making videos and sending tweets about how angry you are that it’s being made. The source of this anger is plain to see, even if those who spread it can’t see it for what it is: a fear of women dominating a historically male franchise.
Hating the new Ghostbusters trailer doesn’t automatically make you a sexist. But before you subject your friends to your next rant about how the movie is going to ruin the ‘spotless’ legacy of your favourite comedy masterpiece, stop and ask yourself: what are you really angry about?