So, new Ghostbusters project is finally getting off the ground. It’s a reboot with a female cast, from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.
Naturally, the internet lost its shit.
I saw a lot of moaning, criticisms, and prejudgments, and conveniently, most are summed up pretty neatly in this GeekTyrant article by Joey Paur. I generally like GeekTyrant’s coverage, but this particular post is as selfish and misguided as it gets. Let me break it down:
“A third Ghostbusters movie has been in the works for a hell of a long time, and I never imagined that it would end up being a complete reboot. I hate the fact that this is the road that the franchise is going down.”
You would prefer a script that was never good enough to get greenlit? I don’t hold torches for things that clearly had quality issues so severe that the entire multibillion franchise ground to a halt. Why would you praise a roadblock?
“As a gigantic fan of the original movie, I just wanted to see the old gang back together again”
We got that with Ghostbusters: the Video Game in 2009. This was the sequel every fanboy wanted — the original cast, the original writers, the original settings, generous callbacks to both films, the whole thing. If you didn’t play it, do so immediately. It’s $10 on Steam, which is less than a ticket to the 30th anniversary theatrical screening of Ghostbusters cost you. It’s also several hours longer.
Meanwhile, let’s consider the “old gang” for a second. Dan’s been trying to make a sequel happen for years, and I love him for it. Ernie’s been on board, waiting for the phone to ring. Harold’s dead (but hinted to me in a phone interview about the game that Egon would appear as a ghost in GB3 anyway). And Bill…he just doesn’t care. Bill’s been saying “no” to a GB film for years and years, but then he shows up at awards shows wearing his GB uniform. He’s openly taunting fans, and I don’t support that, ever. The truth is that you’re not going to see the old gang together again because the old gang doesn’t want to be together again. Don’t blame the new film — blame Bill Murray.
“I don’t know, it seems to me like rebooting the franchise is kind of ruining the memory of the original.”
This is the single most immature and bass-ackwards complaint I hear about older franchises getting fresh life. “I love this thing from 20 years ago and I love it so much that you cannot touch it or everything is retroactively destroyed.” First of all, you don’t need to defend “the memory” of Ghostbusters as if it’s dead and cannot speak for itself — buy the Blu-ray, watch it on your TV today and spread that love. A new film will not change the old film at all, and most importantly — if this is what you really meant — your memories will not change. Are you planning to change how you feel about the movies you love because you saw a new movie you didn’t? If so, leave the fandom now.
“Look, It’s going to be really hard for me to come to terms with this project because of how attached I am to the original film. I grew up with that movie. It’s one of those movies that played a big part in my life and inspired me to want to be a filmmaker. Forgive me for being so negative, but that’s where I’m coming from.”
A filmmaker who cannot comprehend the evolution of story or the reinterpretation of characters is a filmmaker that needs to widen their perspective before they start shooting a project. So…no, you’re not forgiven, Joey. I’m just as emotionally involved as other superfans, but I can see beyond the film’s influence on me and only me.
Thankfully, Joey didn’t have any issues with the female cast decision, and I’m not even going to touch the weird sexist “ewww, girls?” silliness I’ve seen elsewhere, because the people saying it are clearly ignorant to the wonderful movies, series, and specials happening all around them starring brilliant and hilarious female comic actors. Looking at all the potential talent, this particular creative choice could not have come at a better time.
Look, here’s the truth: Ghostbusters wasn’t going to move forward. Nobody wanted to make the movies that were pitched for years and years, for budget reasons, creative reasons, and legacy reasons. But the concept does not deserve to sit in mothballs just because its original (and for me life-altering) incarnation can’t get out of its own way. Two different cartoon series, a tabletop RPG, a flavor of Hi-C, a disappointing 1989 sequel (with the original cast from the original writers and the original director) that doesn’t come close to the first movie — none of them “ruined” the original film or the franchise as a whole. A full 30 years later, Ghostbusters is still beloved. It’s not capable of being ruined. But the franchise has been stuck in neutral; now it gets a chance to live again.
This fiction is stronger than your fandom.