Ghostbusters Reboot: Why We’re Cautiously Optimistic

Written by Elizabeth Eckhart

The past few years have been met with constant reboots and remakes of old classics, such as Jurassic Park and Spider-Man. Although some have been treated as a money-grab, others have been tactfully remade and received dozens of positive reviews. Regardless, Hollywood stays hopeful and relies on the nostalgic factor of older audiences who once loved popular films of the past. Probably one of the best recent examples of this eternal hope is the soon-to-be-released reboot of the iconic 1984 film, Ghostbusters, gender-switched and set to appear in theaters July 15.

Any time a film gets a reboot, you can expect some amount of backlash from diehard fans of the original, but for whatever reason, the backlash and outcry over the Ghostbusters reboot has legitimately reached astronomical proportions. Many of the protests come from a decidedly sexist place, as the new crew of ghost-catchers is all female with actresses Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones forming the new team ready to rid their fair city of paranormal disturbances. Incidentally, original ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd, who also co-wrote the original film, dubbed the new crew “magnificent women in comedy” and has offered full support for the new version.

The original Ghostbusters tells the story of a group of ex-university scientists and paranormal experts who form their own business to hunt down and contain ghosts and other paranormal creatures throughout New York City. The horror comedy film, released in 1984, was directed by Ivan Reitman and starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson, with supporting characters portrayed by Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver. The same director and cast reunited for the Ghostbusters II sequel in 1989. While neither film was initially well-received at the box office, the franchise went on to become a cultural phenomenon within the film industry and both films can still be watched on DirecTV and Amazon Prime.

Horror comedy was a popular genre in the 1980s, with most movies leaning more toward one side or the other. In the case of Ghostbusters, the comedy was by far the stronger element, given the original cast of actors already well-known throughout the comedy world. The ghosts and other paranormal elements more often fed the comedy than the other way around, leading to memorable lines and scenes that are still quoted today by those same diehard fans that feel they have to condemn the new version even before having the chance to view it in its entirety.

While the new cast of Ghostbusters is female rather than male, these women are drawn from the same pool of comic geniuses that spawned the originals. The special effects are likely to be better done, given that technology has had 30 years since the original in which to improve the field of CGI, but the core value of the film franchise remains with the characters rather than the effects, and this new crew should be given a chance to prove whether or not they can be as geeky and fun as the originals.

The new film hits theaters on July 15 with screenings the night before. Hopefully, the intelligent and rational fans among us will reserve judgment until after having viewed it in its entirety. At that point, if the film doesn’t live up to its heritage, let the condemnation go on. Given the strength of the cast involved, we should expect to be pleasantly surprised by this new venture back into the world of supernatural and slime.

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