When sitting down to watch the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, I admit, I didn’t expect to enjoy it. Not because I’m against reworking a beloved classic for a modern-day audience but rather because since the day the trailer for the film appeared online, both it and its female cast have been subjected to a smear campaign I’ve not seen the likes of before. The fanboy ire of the Internet – otherwise known as ‘Ghostbros’ – were unduly determined to see the film fail weeks before the film’s release – diehard fans of Ivan Reitman’s original even succeeded in making its first trailer the most disliked in YouTube history – and it was essentially trashed unseen. Still, the barrage of negativity persists, despite the fact that it’s really, really good. The jokes are properly funny, the special effects slick and each of the actors bring a unique dynamic to the Ghostbusters team. The film is energetic, charming and worth a repeated watch. Melissa McCarthy, who fronts the all-female revamp along with Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones is at her best.
And I’m not the only one to have this view. It has received a generally positive response from critics; people like it, much to the dismay of the haters. And impressively, it currently boasts a 73% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, but rather than hinder the aggression, this seems to have angered the film’s denouncers beyond belief; they have since targeted many critics and writers who dare suggest that the film is in any way good.
Yes, it’s a long way off the original (and it has plot holes), but that appears to be the intention; it’s meant to be a reboot, not a direct remake. And you can’t miss the warm-hearted nostalgia throughout; both Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver, alongside favourites Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson, happily make appearances in tribute to the film that came before. Director Paul Feig didn’t set out to take away any of the greatness of the now iconic movies; he wanted to rework his own version, if not to show that women can get those ghosts just as good as the boys did.
And therein lies the crux of the “problem”: this is a four-woman show, any male character is secondary (not unlike The Neon Demon). Is this what elicited such hatred and anger? Leslie Jones’s character, in particular, is one of the sassiest, and she provided the most laughs, yet she was grossly targeted by trolls online. The memory of their childhood favourite was being destroyed, the remake was a complete disservice to a classic, the haters argued, when in fact, the film’s greatest crime appears to be reversing the genders of what is a kickass quartet, at least to the Ghostbusters Fanatics. They are women and I can’t imagine the same extent of fuss being made if this reboot had four men in the lead. There was no such fanfare when Jurassic Park was given a fresh revamp last year, or when Planet of the Apes was reimagined by both Tim Burton and Rupert Wyatt. We heard no whispers of stolen childhoods when it emerged that beloved TV series 21 Jump Street (the show that introduced the world to Johnny Depp) would be getting a rework.
Given that sexism is rife in the industry, with few interesting leading roles for women, why aren’t all-female reboots embraced? We get a fresh perspective, different dynamic and a chance for women to shine in an industry dominated by men.
And when all is said and done, whatever happened to simply liking a film for what it is? A piece of work intended to bring joy and laughter to an audience.
Don’t believe the bad press: this modern-day version of Ghostbusters is well worth a watch.