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Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Controversy of the New Ghostbusters #ThinkyThursdays 18


Good day to one and all and welcome to my blog for Thinky Thursdays. Today I want to talk about something that I've seen popping up on my dash on various social media all week - the new Ghostbusters movie.

The Controversy of the New Ghostbusters


The first thing I will say is that I haven't had a chance to see the film yet. We intend to see it this weekend since we can no longer go on a week day because Rob works in London and doesn't get home in time. So this post is speculation, prior to viewing the movie.

However, I have seen the trailers and they make me laugh, which, I think is the point of a summer comedy. I've also seen it said that the trailers don't do it justice, which ups my expectations even more :).


All of my friends who have already seen it and have expressed an opinion said they enjoyed it. It's not perfect, but then most films aren't. All the reviews I have read said it was fun, even if some of them mentioned it had a few problems here and there. The overall response has been positive. It's not Shakespeare, but then is was never supposed to be. The original wasn't perfect either.

A (mostly) male fanbase has been complaining about the film since the moment it was announced, claiming it will destroy their childhood memories of the original film. This is childish in the extreme, if nothing else. Basing your dislike of something on the fact that it was recast with female characters is misogynistic and ridiculous. Voting the film down on IMDB before it is even released is plain stupid.

It is also, however, very wrong to declare that anyone who doesn't like the film is sexist. If they don't like it because all the principles have been made female, then they are sexist, if they don't like it because they just didn't enjoy it for other reasons, then that's perfectly okay and is bound to happen. Not everyone likes the same films.

I've also seen complaints about the way the male characters come off in the film.

Now, the only male character I've actually seen is Kevin as played by Chris Hemsworth in the trailers, and admittedly he is a bimbo. He's the walking embodiment of the bimbo secretary trope, which, frankly, I think is interesting to see played by a man rather than a woman for once. I'm also pretty sure Chris isn't overly desperate for work so he must have taken the part because he thought it was funny.

I'm not sure which of the other male characters are important in the movie, but if you look at the original it's the Ghostbusters against the world. Peck is a bureaucratic idiot that caused the whole end of the film. The Mayor sticks his head in the sand until he had no choice but to believe. And Tully is a socially inept accountant who becomes a victim.

Hence in a remake that is faithful to the feel of the original I would expect the Ghostbusters against the world again. Does this not automatically make all the male characters likely to be focus of ridicule in some form or another, since the major four characters now happen to be female? I haven't seen it so I don't know how it plays out, but that's what I would be expecting.

The only character I would expect not to be treated that way would be a gender swap Dana, if they've kept that trope in and decided gender swapping was a good idea. Again, I will state, I have no idea if they even kept an angle like this in the plot.

I've also seen the cry of 'how would you like it if we took all your favourite comedies and made them with men?'. There was an interesting response to this on Tumblr (I wish I could find it, but I can't) pointing out that it would be quite difficult because many female led comedies play into traditionally female roles, so to remake them you'd have to completely change the plot.

This got me thinking about female led comedy films and if they could be redone or not:

  • The obvious one is Bridemaids since it shares some of the cast and the director - however, if that was remade with men, wouldn't it basically just be The Hangover?
  • Legally Blonde - I supposed you could do a movie about a jock who ditches his sports scholarship to follow his sweetheart to law school. Not sure how you'd make it funny though. The whole trope is a woman being underestimated because she's blonde and I can't see it working with a guy.
  • Miss Congeniality - might be fun to redo that one with a drag queen angle. Could be awesome actually, but it would need someone very clever to write it in a sensitive manner and still make it funny. It would also need RuPaul.
  • Mean Girls - would it work with jocks? I've never seen it, so have no idea.
  • Sister Act - singing monks ... possible, the brothers in Sister Act II were a hoot.
  • The Heat - there are already a hundred and one male cop buddy, comedy movies anyway.
  • Nanny McPhee - I'm only coming up with a ghastly costume version of The Pacifier :)
  • Bring it On - hmm ... an all male cheerleading squad?
  • The First Wives Club - not sure the trope can translate at all for this one. I just don't see the film being able to build the same sympathy for the characters if it's switched up.
  • Spy - there are already Johnny English, Grimsby and many, many others, so it would be redundant.

So really, there are a few that could be tried, but many have been done, mostly more than once, or I'm not sure the tropes would translate. Since there are many, many, many more male led movies than there are female led ones it's not really a surprise. Now I kind of really want a Miss Congeniality set in a drag pageant though.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing the new Ghostbusters at the weekend. I love the original two - they are funny and enjoyable and that's what I am hoping for from the new one. Plus I love Melissa McCarthy so I'm on to a winner there anyway :). I'll let you all know what I think when I've actually seen the film.

[Edit: link to my review of the film: Ghostbusters ROCKS! (as you can tell from the title I wanted there to be no doubt what I thought of it :))]

If you've seen the new Ghostbusters, did you enjoy it? If not are you going to see it? What do you think of all the controversy?

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