“If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!”
I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved the original Ivan Reitman film from 1984. In fact, I loved it so much when I was a teen that I spent countless evenings sitting at my mum’s old typewriter so I could type up the script for it. Yes, really. I’m that hardcore. Even now, over thirty years later, I can still happily quote along to the movie should anyone put it on, and I still have a residual crush on Egon Spengler.
Then there was Ghostbusters 2 and that was great as well, although by then I was past the whole typewriter phase.
So when it was announced last year that Paul Feig would be making a new Ghostbusters movie, I was pretty excited about the prospect. I’m totally on board with the fact that the Ghostbusters would all be female too, although in the promotional pictures they do look a little like the characters have been modelled on Stantz, Venkman, Spengler and Zeddemore, which is odd. But even though I’ve never heard of any of the actresses who had been cast in the lead roles, they do all have experienced careers in American network TV comedy, so yes, I’ll give ‘em a chance!
But then Sigrid from next door leans across the fence while I was tending to the goats and tells me that this new Ghostbusters movie is going to be a reboot of the original. Now Sigrid, gods bless her, couldn’t tell a reboot from Mjölnir’s handle, it was just something she heard from Ove the blacksmith in the village. But I can, so I decide to do a bit of research.
And yes, it’s apparently going to be a remake of the original movie rather than a sequel, but set in a kind of alternate reality where the original Ghostbusters never existed. So, there’s that. But I’m going to stay positive, because if Paul Feig believes he can best an absolute classic written by two icons of comedy, then he must have something very special up his sleeve, right? Yes, a reboot does sound like a bit of a cop-out when it comes to writing a story because you’ve already got a successful story to tell, but maybe that means there’ll be extra time to concentrate on making the film a visual spectacular with a fantastic screenplay. Former Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd has promised the new film “refers to the first two in a really neat, classy way” and although that sounds like something he was probably paid to say, I’m still upbeat about it. It could turn out to be something awesome, like Red Dwarf’s ‘Parallel Universe’ where Rimmer, Lister and Kryten all run into female version of themselves.
Then a few days ago, the first picture of Chris Hemsworth as ‘Kevin’, the Ghostbusters secretary, was revealed and now this movie is starting to feel like it’s got a bit of an agenda. What was their thinking here? Was it “If this is an alternate universe then Janine Melnitz needs to be a bloke, so how about Chris Hemsworth? He’s very popular at the moment.” Or was it “Hey, let’s take Thor, the manliest man there ever was, stick some geeky glasses on him and make him secretary to a team of ladies because, you know, the PC thing”? I’m really not sure, and in my mind this venture is starting to go downhill fast.
In trying to find some redeeming points, I kept reading. And it turns out that there are going to be numerous cameos in this movie, most notably from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver. Who won’t be playing their Ghostbusters characters because this is an alternate reality where they didn’t exist. So… why are they in there? Is it just a nod to the original movies, and to the fans who loved them so much? I think that would be a nice gesture, but the way this movie is going it seems more like they’ve been included to try and reap more of those delicious box office receipts. Perhaps I’m getting more cynical as I dig further, but including cameos from the original cast just for the hell of it seems to me to be a tad, well, desperate.
Oh, and Ozzy Osbourne is confirmed to have a cameo. Hmm. Now, I love Ozzy as much as the next Viking, but honestly, the minute you give a cameo to an Osbourne you really are clutching at straws.
The list of celebrity cameos goes on, with Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson confirmed, and more rumoured to appear. It’s starting to sound more like Sharknado 2, the difference being that the Sharknado movies were deliberately made as tongue-in-cheek horror flicks, not potential blockbusters in a long line of established franchise blockbusters.
And oh look, they already have action figures and Lego prototyped and ready to go, six months ahead of the release date. In fact, Paul Feig’s own Twitter feed this month is just crammed with all the Lego goodies you’ll be able to give him your hard-earned cash for. Considering they’ve changed the format so drastically, that’s very confident of them, and a little arrogant don’t you think?
So, Ghostbusters, no. I’m sorry. I was with you to start with and I tried to be excited about you, but all your pandering and needy, desperate behaviour has just put me right off.
“If there’s something strange and it don’t look good, who you gonna call?” Alternate reality Ghostbusters, apparently…