Last week, Sony released the first trailer for the new Ghostbusters film, and it has been met with absolute hatred, garnering over 400,000 dislikes compared to 180,000 likes, out of nearly 24 million views.
While I will admit I’m not a movie person, I do enjoy films from time to time, and I do have a selection of films which I genuinely enjoy; the original 80’s Ghostbusters films being on that list. I’m not what I would consider a “major” fan of the series, though, so I’m all for new ideas. Sometimes, liking something too much can make a person resistant to change or variation, but in my case, I wanted to see what they would give us, and after hearing all this negative press around the trailer, I thought today might as well be a good time to check it out.
Let’s just get right to my thoughts, as there is no poetic way to go about this.
The trailer generally left me with an uneasy feeling. While the graphic effects actually look pretty good, and every element definitely looks “Ghostbusters”, the overall feel just isn’t there. The trailer makes the film look more like any random modern film, with Ghostbusters elements thrown in, than it does an intentional film in the series. Let me explain.
The trailer itself, from the point of editing, is done well, as far as can be with the subject matter, I would guess. It has the natural modern pacing and structure, starting dramatic but quickly shifting into showing the film is a comedy. That’s fine. The problems begin the moment you see the new Ghostbusters. They seem completely alien, yet also, far too familiar.
I have no idea who these women are. I don’t know anything about them, if they are major actors, or all new. Like I said, I’m not a movie person. Now, when I watch a movie, I like to be able to see the character, rather than the actor. That’s the goal of cinema after all, to make you feel as if those characters are real, and not just actors. The thing is, with these women, they don’t even seem like original characters. The instant I see them all I can think of are the original Ghostbusters. It doesn’t help that the first lines of the trailer seem ripped directly from a rejected Ghostbusters script. Normally, that would be good, but we are trying to establish new characters and a new generation here, can’t they be a little more original? More unique?
Of course, we get gross out humor right after that, which again, is fine; That’s an element from the old films I feel should stay in, for comedy’s sake. From there, we go on to the standard very blase explanation of the films plot, which is basically, “there are ghosts bugging people we need to stop them” much in the same vein as the original films overarching plot.
Why do this? Why should you need to explain this so point blank. It’s Ghostbusters, we get it. We already know what to expect in this universe. Beyond that, if this is for people who never saw the original films, such can be explained very easily with the visual elements of the trailer, rather than in plain wording. In fact, the trailer does just that later on, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Next up, we are introduced, once again, to the “bonus” character of this new group. Much in the same vein as Winston being added into the original team, we get the “sassy black woman” trope being added in here. Now, I have nothing against this trope; I know many people who fit this exact stereotype. The problem is, why do this? Why mirror, generally the same basic elements of the original film?
That’s the real problem here; the new film just seems to constantly want to be the old one. It’s not a remake, but it is, if that makes sense. It acknowledges the original films events, yet for some reason, wants to, as it seems, re-create the film again. This could be done well, if done subtly (see Star Wars Episode VII) but in this case, it just reeks of trying too hard.
Once we get to the team assembled, we get Saturday Night Live grade jokes that honestly just aren’t funny. I’ve never liked this style of humor and this is the point in the trailer where I lost all hope to like this. The plot is explained further, with more dramatic cutting and effects, only to be stopped once again by poor comedy.
Cut again to more wonderful looking CG, showing ghosts all through the city (see what I meant earlier, in how the plot issue could be explained visually? This was that point). You get excited for the battle, only to see more try-too-hard comedy, or possibly an attempt to be sexy, in one character licking their gun, and the team making seemingly intentionally odd faces while firing the proton packs. Maybe it expresses how unprepared they are for how such weapons function, who knows, but to focus on it in this trailer doesn’t do well to me.
Next up, enter random (presumably) attractive male for what seems like no reason beyond maybe him being an example of a possessed person, and then more chances at comedy with one of the women in the team being possessed by a ghost. This provides more chances to show the “sassy black woman” character behaving as expected.
Then, the trailer ends. After repeatedly slicing between (attempted) comedy and dramatic / action segments, I was left with this incredibly uneasy feeling. The trailer just doesn’t work for me.
There are elements of the new film the trailer shows that I like. The effects, as I said before, look amazing, and it seems to hold true to the universe, but the casting and writing just seems terrible. The jokes aren’t that funny, the plot seems, at what the trailer shows, to be very lazy, and the acting, while some good elements are shown, for the most part it has much to be desired, which I think is due to the actual character archetypes being quite bland.
Some groups are claiming the hate against this trailer is simply because it’s an all-female lead cast. I have to say this isn’t the case at all. I’m sure all of these women are fine actresses, but here? I just don’t like the performance shown. The cast could be anyone, of any ethnicity or gender, and I still think it would fall flat due to terrible wiring. I simply cannot enjoy these characters as presented.
A film trailer should always show the BEST parts of the film, within reason. If this is the best the film has to show, then I would expect many people to have poor expectations of the end product.
It really is just a bad trailer, in my opinion. Clearly, I’m not alone in this thought.