Cleaning Up the Town

Normally when the Internet implodes, it is wise to stand well back. In this case, I have a few things that need saying first.

It is 1984. I’m in the Lower 6th at Comprehensive School and the day the original ‘Ghostbusters’ releases, I bunk the day off school with three of my mates and we watch the first showing of this movie at my local cinema. And the second one, and we don’t leave until the last performance of the day. We stay in the auditorium and watch a brilliant slice of cinematic genius, and it gets better on each subsequent viewing. More importantly we don’t get ejected, and this becomes the moment when cinema becomes more than just something I go to watch, it becomes one of my enduring love affairs. So, when it became apparent this ‘idea’was being rebooted? I’ll admit, I had my doubts. When it was obvious the main cast was being re-imagined as all female?

I couldn’t work out if this was madness or genius, and I still don’t know.

I never got upset about the content of the original movie, despite what various people will pin on the screenplay 30 years later. It remains a beautifully preserved moment from an era where this kind of brilliant mainstream comedy/paranormal bobbins never got made to begin with: the three main leads became worldwide stars pretty much overnight, as did the show which created them. I’d never heard of SNL until that point, and that plus so much else became tagged onto the coat-tails of an often uneven story around a bunch of intelligent geeky types who battled ghosts. I didn’t notice the token minority issue either, but 3o years on it was the first thing that hit me with the reboot. Because after three decades, and with women now doing science? The token minority is still blue collar. If this is a straight reboot (to a point) and that’s deliberate? Then it could well be acceptable with an ‘homage’ hat on but the objections I’ve heard thus far? On a two minute trailer there’s not much to go on, and until I see the movie… and suddenly things get really shaky indeed. The speed at which the Internet schismed over this yesterday was nothing short of breathtaking, if truth be told. Middle aged men throwing their arms up in horror at the juxtaposition of good girls for guys, women lamenting the choices made with the protagonist’s professions, everyone complaining that the theme tune still sounds shit. Ray Parker Jr ripped it off Huey Lewis and he settled that court case a LONG TIME AGO, people, so you can put THAT away as ammunition.

This film’s got a hard road ahead of it and we’ve not even seen the damn thing yet.

Take 40 minutes of your life to watch this dissection of the original movie and understand just how significant a piece of work this still is: indicative of a particular time and place, and a very specific set of World circumstances. I suspect, when we look back on the reboot in 30 years that it will be possible to do the same thing for them: a symptom of a society that has vastly differing ideas on how the World not only looks but is perceived by those who inhabit it. What matters more to many isn’t the subject matter, or the fact the ‘new’ version is in many places clearly a piss take of the original. It is more around the choices made to take from one to give to the other. There will be those questioning the need to remake the concept at all, why you couldn’t have introduced *some* women into the cast and left some guys alone, that the black actress automatically didn’t get cast as a Professor… The list goes on, because in the modern world, EVERYBODY sees the world differently, and the Internet has become the magnifier for every single disparate outlook. None of them are wrong, every one is valid, even those people who will tell you that giving the jobs to the girls is deliberately and completely pointlessly cheapening the original . Crucially, this might not make them sexists, because as of right now I’m still on the fence over that decision. I’m not sure this reboot needs or should do justice to the original, until I’ve seen the entire thing and had a chance to consider this exercise as a whole. The trouble is, that’s not how the Internet works, and I can’t wait to have an opinion. I gotta have a fully rounded argument right now, which needs to be expressed in 140 characters or GTFO.

I find myself torn. Again. I want to like this film, because the trailer (at least to me) isn’t simply doing lip service to its predecessor. I feel a lot better about the idea than I ever did about ‘The Force Awakens’ because, at least for me, this movie’s pitched up with very little to prove. I’m not going to have my childhood destroyed because someone decided to cast women into this fantasy, and I’m sure as fuck not about to allow prejudice and ignorance to colour a final outlook on anything until I’m in a cinema. Mostly, this trailer did its job: I wouldn’t have bothered to see this on release, I’d have waited for Sky or a DVD, but now I’m going to make the trip to a Multiplex, for no other reason than I think there is merit in seeing a big screen version. In that respect alone? Job done, Sony. I’m now on board.

What happens next? I wait until the movie comes out, I make a considered judgement based on what I’ve seen, and the World could respect the art by doing the same. Is that really so hard? Right now it appears to be a real struggle for a lot of people and this is increasingly disturbing. I’m not sure at what point it became de rigeur to have opinions on things before they actually released, but I suspect gaming might have something to do with this. If that is the case then I am truly very sorry, because it’s wrong, just so utterly and totally unfair to decide to condemn a thing based only on the fact you look at the main cast and they don’t have dicks. It’s the same way you don’t dismiss a thing as worthy because you think that a movie mirroring real life prejudice isn’t acceptable because all movies should be aspiration. Mostly, you don’t pass judgement on less than 180 seconds of cinematography ever as an indication of a finished product, so stop it now Internet and get a fucking sense of proportion as a matter of urgency.


Yup, I’m done now.


One response to “Cleaning Up the Town”

  1. All I needed to know was that Melissa McCarthy was in it .. I love that lady! I’ve not seen a movie she’s been in, yet, that I didn’t really enjoy, so I have high hopes for this one.


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