One of Hollywood’s recent trends is rebooting classic films. The trend has spanned an array of genres, including films such as “21 Jump Street,” “Tron” and, more popularly, classic horror films like “Poltergeist.” These films receive many different responses. For instance, the new “21 Jump Street” has a nearly identical score to its older counterpart. However, many have failed in the eyes of viewers and are seen as nostalgia-robbing entities that must be stopped. Normally, I can agree with the sentiment many viewers feel; it is nearly impossible for Hollywood to recreate the intrinsic elements of a classic film.
The most recent reboot to release a trailer, “Ghostbusters,” has received an unprecedented amount of backlash with over 400,000 dislikes on YouTube. Normally, a major movie’s first feature trailer garners either excitement or a few naysayers, but the reaction to “Ghostbusters” is aggressively negative. Viewers have spammed negative comments on YouTube, Facebook and even the social media profiles of the director Paul Feig and the featured actresses.
I don’t believe everyone should love the film or even give it a chance. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, especially when it comes to something as subjective as film. The problem with the backlash lies in the reasons why the film is receiving a negative response. Sure, I understand that “Ghostbusters” is a cult classic and many people adored the film as children. But the actresses in this film are just as qualified as the original cast was. Kristen Wiig is one of the most successful “Saturday Night Live” (“SNL”) alumni in recent history, Melissa McCarthy is an Emmy winning comedian and Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are widely agreed to be two of the strongest current cast members of “SNL.” Furthermore, the film is written and directed by Paul Feig, who has written movies such as “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” as well as highly acclaimed TV shows such as “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “Nurse Jackie.”
So what does this “Ghostbusters” have that’s different from the original? The obvious fact is that this film features a female cast. The majority of the negative comments have nothing to do with the nostalgia and instead focus on this.
I know very well to not take things on the internet seriously, but the outward sexism towards this film is disappointing. Having an all-female cast is fine, so long as it stays in its genre of “chick flick” and “romantic comedy.” But when an all-female cast is rebooting what many consider to be a classic, it’s an abomination.
The real criticism in regards to the film should focus on role Leslie Jones’ role. While the movie presents a positive female image, the majority of the women being scientists, the only minority in the film is also the only cast member who isn’t a scientist. Of course, this portrayal is something to be discussed. Feig and Jones both spoke about this, stating that the role of Patty (played by Jones) was originally written for McCarthy. However, Feig felt that McCarthy had already played the bold and brash role plenty of times and wanted to feature a newer actress for the part. Ultimately, being featured in this film, whether or not her character is a scientist, will do plenty for Jones’ career. Still, I think that there is plenty of validity in the criticism and hope that Feig and other writers will remember this backlash when other films are being cast.
So what does this mean for the film? Coincidently, not much. Negative YouTube comments have never really had a direct correlation to box office numbers. Instead of screaming into the void that is public comments on social media, those who hate the new film could have watched the original over and over again. “Ghostbusters” will be one of the highest grossing movies of the summer and we will probably have to hear about how awful it is until then.