My reaction was instant, the feeling was horror, and my decision, final. I will never watch the 2016 release of the Ghostbusters remake. Idiots Guide is going to list 3 thoughtful reasons why this is the case, but before I get into that, please allow for a brief, albeit emotional diatribe regarding this film. Sequels are bad enough. From the studio perspective sequels are usually a cynical cash grab, from the audience perspective, they usually suck, the only variable is to what degree. However, when we are talking about the ‘remake’ of an American film classic, we are embarking on an ill-advised venture into the dangerous realm of film heresy. At the bottom of the line, and at the base of the reduction, is the fact that a classic film is a classic film for a reason. For a true fanatic of a classic film, the thought ‘I hope they remake this movie someday’ never materializes. When you’ve seen a given film let’s say over a dozen times and it belongs to your prized DVD/HDDVD collection, there is zero appetite to see it re-done with different actors. Actors, who you haven’t fallen in love with over the course of twenty (+) years, whose every delivered line and facial tic is imprinted on your psyche. The very notion of it is abhorrent. I’m sure there will be the tired argument of ‘sharing it with a new generation’. That’s just shiny, crystal bollocks. It’s a horrible form of disingenuous lying, for the purpose of covering up lazy intent, and repressed creativity. I can only imagine the horrendous scene at the pitch meeting for the abomination they call ‘Ghostbusters 2016’. “And we’ll do it with funny women to spice it up a bit”. Excuse me while I vomit….I’m back. The original Ghostbusters (1984) had a cast full of Hall of Fame comedic talent that is basically unrivaled in modern Hollywood. Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, and to a lesser degree Rick Moranis who was absolutely brilliant in his role. The classic ‘damsel in distress’ was played by the incomparable Sigourney Weaver. You just can’t decide to remake a film of this magnitude in such a recklessly cavalier fashion. It’s stupid, and frankly, highly insulting. To be clear, any ‘cameo’ and/or participation from any of the original cast, doesn’t a stamp of approval receive. Although, I am certainly disappointed that Murray, Ackroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Ernie Hudson chose to be involved with this film, my beef isn’t with them. Without viewing this film, and I will never view it, the fact that it exists at all is abject sacrilege. With that being said, Idiots Guide has compiled ‘The Top 3 Reasons I will Never Watch this Film’. If you’re a true fan of the 1984 original, then hear me out. You’ll likely agree…
#3. “A Classic Film is a Classic Film for a Reason…”
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do in film is to successfully create a smash hit science-fiction comedy. A true film classic is an amalgam and/or unique confluence of several brilliant aspects. In the case of Ghostbusters ’84, you have a brilliant script and storyline, paired with three Hall of Fame comedic talents, paired with cutting edge special effects (for the era), paired with a comedic genius Director (Ivan Reitman). In that specific moment in history, with talent in their collective prime. The flawless creative execution of which produced a true American comedy classic. You just can’t remake and/or recapture that kind of magic. Unless of course, you can go back to the future and get a 34 year old Bill Murray to revisit his Peter Venkman character. Then there’s the difference in directorial impact. Paul Feig is no Ivan Reitman. His predilection for working on Melissa McCarthy vehicles (Spy, Bridesmaids, Heat), pales in comparison to Reitman’s resume of comedy classics (Stripes, Meatballs, Kindergarden Cop, Twins, et all) Color me biased, but the decision to remake ‘Ghostbusters’ is at best intellectually lazy, and at worst a fraudulent attempt at nostalgic homage.
#2. “Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson…”
Let’s compare shall we? 1984 cast: Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson versus 2016 cast: Melissa McCarthy, Abby Yates, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth? Nothing against the 2016 cast, there are some fairly talented actors in there, some with decent comedic chops even. But seriously? Who’s idea was this? I want names. There is also the macho ‘buddy movie’ aspect to the original that, please excuse me, this group of four women couldn’t possibly duplicate and/or improve upon. This is not a gender bias argument, it’s a “the Ghostbusters are three wacky, failed, fringe university professors along with an everyman African-American add-on employee”, argument. That dynamic in and of itself was classic. Whatever, or however these new women are introduced into the plot, is going to be either offensive, stupid or both by comparison. I for one, refuse to be a part of, and/or encourage this sacrilegious plot departure, I can’t do it. There is the off chance that a decade from now circumstances may dictate that I happen to give the 2016 version a look, but I can’t see it, and certainly not now.
#1. “Clearly, the world has changed quite a bit since 1984…”
This may seem like an obvious point, but historical placement has a great deal to do with the influence and/or reception of a film. In 1984, the world was fairly cellphone free, personal computers were a rarity, and the internet was basically non-existent. Technology was burgeoning, but still more in the realm of possibility than actuality. As a result our collective imaginations were ripe, even thirsty for the next new thing over the horizon. Remember ‘Max Headroom’? The environment was prime for the kind of science-fiction comedy that Ghostbusters unleashed on us. In addition, in 1984 blockbuster movies still had the kind of social gravitas that could engender pop culture catch phrases. For example “I’ve been slimed!” became a pop culture saying, today? When’s the last time that a pop culture catch phrase came from a film? You’d be hard pressed to have a film create the same kind of lyrical impact as an Arnold Schwarzenegger “I’ll be back” from ‘Terminator’ (also 1984). Then there’s the age old maxim, “Don’t ruin a good thing”. In reality, there is actually zero reason to remake Ghostbusters. The studio would have been better served to re-release the original at the 25th year anniversary. With DVD and On Demand young audiences could have been exposed to the original with a simple click of the remote, easy peezy. The bottom line is that Ghostbusters ’84 was the perfect film for the era. It’s an instant classic from the 1980’s and for all-time. Something that can’t be successfully duplicated as a matter of physics, theoretical, or not.