Why the New ‘Ghostbusters’ Looks Like Suck

The remake of Ghostbusters has certainly stirred the pot. Its trailer has the dubious honor of being the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. At the time of writing, the dislike count is 839,395. That last dislike on there is mine. I don’t normally hit dislike buttons and, in fact, generally dislike them, but I wanted my own piece of YouTube history.

Recently, the popular Cinemassacre released a video in which reviewer James Rolfe says, calmly and reasonably, that he is not going to see the film because the trailer looks terrible and the new movie pays obvious disrespect to the franchise. His reasoning, given the subject matter, is sound:

Also, I have a certain affection for James Rolfe because someone once said I look like him.  He is a handsome man, I grant. But I digress.

Mr. Rolfe is known on the Internet as the “angry video game nerd.”  His usual schtick is to attack things relentlessly with frequent vulgarity, but he went out-of-character here in order to describe his lifelong love for the Ghostbusters franchise and his reasons for refusing to see this new film. He speaks calmly and reasonably and with only one F-bomb that I counted (it is still the Internet, after all).

Notably, he does not once mention in his discussion that the all-male team from the original film has been replaced with an all-female team. He does not so much as hint that the sex of the characters is important to him in any way, shape, or form.

But that hasn’t stopped feminists in the mainstream press and several smaller venues from savaging him as an alleged misogynist because he dared to criticize a movie trailer with girls in it. Breitbart helpfully counts no less than eighteen outlets that have gone after him. The Internet, however, is not buying it; the comments on his video are almost entirely supportive, positive, and at times bewildered; anyone who simply watches his video can see that the news media is spinning lies about him. And they wonder why some of us no longer trust the press.

Fact is, it has become apparent that the only reason a new Ghostbusters is getting made at all is to make a feminist statement. The creators of this movie are angry that the main cast of the original was male, so they have made a version with the cast as female. It is a sort of revenge film. It is akin to boys and girls trying to one-up each other on the playground and accusing each other of carrying cooties, except now with millions of dollars involved.


And it is also because the movie was made with the intent of replacing penises with vaginas that its defenders can’t move away from from the subject of the characters’ sex and look at the trailer’s obvious shortcomings. We see here the strange paradox of third-wave feminism: the message of the new Ghostbusters is that women can do everything men can do, and do it just as well if not better, but when the movie gets criticized, Sony and its boosters respond that it’s indelicate and rude to criticize girls the same way you might criticize boys.

But, as Rolfe points out, there are many things to dislike about the trailer that have nothing to do with the characters’ sex. The opening scene is a remake of the first scene of the first film, except not funny and with worse special effects. Not one joke in the trailer is amusing, and trailers usually contain some of the movie’s best material. The ghosts in the original were exceptional special effects masterpieces, but the ghosts in the new look like bad, indifferent CGI.

It’s possible the actual movie is better than this, but the trailer is not encouraging.

I am willing to go further than Rolfe does and say that I think an all-female main cast for a Ghostbusters reboot, although it could work if done well, seems to be a bad idea, for the same reason that an all-male main cast for a Sailor Moon reboot would be a bad idea. Ghostbusters was partly about trapping ghosts amid low comedy, but it was also about manly camaraderie. The protagonists were working stiff superheroes, frumpy-looking guys in unflattering jumpsuits who punched a clock, fought the forces of evil, punched out, and then probably had a beer (or at least Chinese takeout). They were guys working nine to five. The camaraderie between men is different from the camaraderie between women. By replacing one with the other, you necessarily change the character dynamic, and it was the character dynamic that was partly responsible for the original film’s charm and enduring popularity.

Of course, feminine camaraderie can also be entertaining, as I well know, being a guy who runs a blog dedicated to magical girls, but the trailer for Ghostbusters suggests that they couldn’t do that right, either.

In any case, so that you may see the contrast, the following video depicts Rolfe in his usual form and also reveals his unquestionable cred as a diehard Ghostbusters fan. From this, you can see how reasonable and restrained he was being in the video announcing his decision not to see the new movie.