So, after months of feverish anticipation and, among the more hardcore Ghostbusters fans, severe worrying, the latest trailer for the female led reboot has had it's world premiere. Unfortunately, it looks absolutely terrible. And, before the feminist crowd begin to barrage me, it has nothing to do with the female cast. Well, mostly.
The first huge mistake the trailer makes is create a massive confusion as to what the film actually is. It references the fact that thirty years ago several New York scientists saved New York. This would suggest, by all logic, that the film is a sequel. A Ghostbusters 3, if you will. The trailer then proceeds to portray itself as a clear reboot. We see the technology created, by the women. We see all the characters effectively playing female doppelgangers of the original beloved cast. Everything after that initial statement scream reboot, yet that statement seems sequel. Instantly, you've confused every member of your potential audience who haven't seen any of the internet marketing or material. So, that's our first strike, and we're only thirty seconds in.
It gets worse. Far worse. At 36 seconds in we get not only our first dialogue exchange between the new cast, but our first look at an actual ghost. Both, unfortunately, are absolutely woeful. The original cast worked because of the unquestionable talent and charisma of all the leads. When they spoke about 'class four apparitions' it didn't feel silly, or contrived. They sounded as though they meant it, thus we brought it, silliness and all. Here the delivery is akin to High School drama student performing a Ghostbusters play. Just watch it yourself; and then, look me in the eyes and tell me you bought into it. I defy you to try.
As far as the ghost goes, it looks like a CGI mess. Below, I'll prevent some evidence that should reiterate my point so I don't need to. Why? Because I'm bloody lazy, that's why.
Above is a shot from Scooby Doo 2:Monsters Unleashed, released in 2004 and directed by Raja Gosnell. It was quite rightly critically slaughtered, and a lot of the criticism leveled at the film was based around the poor effects.
Here, we have Slimer. The iconic paranormal prat from the original Ghostbusters. Now, you very well disagree with me, but go to that above trailer, pause at :36, have a good look at the ghost we see, then come check out the S-man. Now, again, look me in the eyes and tell me the former is more impressive than the latter. Maybe, just maybe, you feel that way. I mean, I'm no God, I can be wrong. To me personally, however, I'm much more impressed with old Slimer than I am these new oddly neon ghosts, that look ripped straight out of the Scooby-Doo franchise, or Del Toro's Crimson Peak.
It is important to remember, of course, that often effects in trailers are placeholder, as the animation team frantically makes alterations right up until release times. It's very possible these could change before release, but, as it stands, this is frankly inexcusable. Films from 2016, with all our technological advancements, should look more impressive than films that came out thirty years ago. That's just a given. We shouldn't even be discussing it. Yet we are. So, whilst the first two were groundbreaking terms of special effects, another reason for their continued idolisation, this one may likely be remembered for the exact opposite reasons. For shit special effects, if I may be frank.
Finally, let's get the controversy surrounding the film out of the way. Let's make this clear; as far as I'm concerned, the gender of the cast doesn't mean a damn thing. I honestly couldn't care less, so long as the actresses are as talented, entertaining and charismatic as the original cast. Sadly, they're well of the mark. All of them look and sound like cardboard cut-outs of actors. Devoid of charisma, charm, or comedic timing, it looks like a trainwreck. There's two instances, at least, in this trailer that could have been comedic gold.
The moment where more than one two member says 'let's go', for example. That's quite a potentially funny moment, squandered by awful delivery. As for The Exorcist reference towards the end? Atrocious. When will writers learn that the best form of parody is when you cleverly deploy the exact dialogue used in the original scene? I mean, the idea of a black woman slapping a possessed woman screaming 'the power of christ compels you' would appeal to me. Replacing Christ with her own name? Not so much. It feels more Scary Movie than Airplane on the parody scale, and that in itself is worrying. Very worrying.
Now, I could go on all day about this, but I'll stop now. I won't mention how a modern trailer has yet again told us the entire storyline, beat for beat. I won't go on about how the aesthetic and camera work makes it look like any other film from this period, and that if you superimposed the central quarter into the new Goosebumps movie, few people would notice the difference.
What I will say is this; things do not look great. Everything feels off, half-arsed or a terrible parody of much better film. The female casting could have been a turning point for feminism in cinema. Four women, taking over a beloved franchise, kicking paranormal ass. Instead, sadly, this will likely be remembered as 'that shit Ghostbusters remake that starred women'. The problem with this, is that the less enlightened out there will lay the blame not at poor writing, not at shit cinematography, and not at the awful CGI. Rather, they will blame the easy target. The female cast. In that aspect, this film looks likely to add fuel to the fire that is Contemporary Feminism Vs Cinema, but in all the wrong ways. I have a feeling this could make things a whole lot uglier, and will be a massive missed opportunity.
Of course, I could be wrong, so don't lose all hope yet. Just lose most of it, then maybe with lowered expectations you'll enjoy it. As I always say; aim low, avoid disappointment.