The fuss over the Ghostbusters reboot

I saw the 1984 film Ghostbusters a few years ago because I kept hearing references to it that made it seem like it was a great comedy. I was frankly underwhelmed. It seemed just so-so to me and I do not remember anything from it. In general, I avoid seeing remakes of films in which I thought the originals were good, but will see a remake of a bad film if I hear that it was done much better.

I have no inclination to see the original Ghostbusters again but when I read that they were remaking the film but with an all-female cast to replace the original all-male one, I simply noted the fact and waited for the reviews to see if it might be worth seeing. It is quite possible that I may like the new Ghostbusters more than I did the original.

What I was not expecting was the outrage that seems have occurred in some quarters, where some saw the gender switch in the new film as violating some sort of cultural landmark.


Some have even gone so far as to attack one of the stars Leslie Jones in racist terms.

I don’t get it. It’s just a film. If you don’t like the idea behind new one, fine, don’t go.

I am a huge fan of the Monty Python films and have seen them multiple times. They too have an all-male cast. If someone were to decide to remake them with a female cast, it is likely that those like me who loved the original films would not enjoy the remakes as much, not because of the female casting but because we remember the old so well and so fondly, unless the remakes did something completely different.

But it would be silly to be outraged because a new generation of filmgoers with no sentimental attachment to the originals might well like the new versions better.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    I was frankly underwhelmed.

    As was I. Rick Moranis provided the best comedy in the movie. I like Bill Murray, but he basically always plays the same character, and I’ve never thought Dan Aykroyd or Harold Ramis were funny (and I’m a huge SCTV fan!).

    I don’t know much about Leslie Jones, but Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are fucking brilliant, pardon my Dawn French. Just saw Bridesmaids on telly the other day, and it was hilarious.

  2. says

    I enjoyed the original movie, but I laughed more at the new one. It’s a fun romp, and even though people who still enjoyed it like to bring up its flaws, I honestly don’t see how those flaws are any different than the first. A villain with not enough development? I need someone to explain to me how developed Gozer was in the original. At least in the new movie we know why the villain wants to destroy everything.

  3. cartomancer says

    unless the remakes did something completely different… I see what you did there!

  4. Robert,+not+Bob says

    Anyone who didn’t expect outrage at the all-female lead cast hasn’t been paying attention lately. In fact, the phenomenon has had time to affect the way things are done in the film industry, and no doubt the makers of this film were aware of it when doing their casting. Doesn’t mean it’s all an anti-misogynist protest, but it has to be a factor.

    Personally, I think we ought to have more all-female lead casts in non-chick flicks to balance things out. Women are half the population, after all.

  5. says

    Some will say this is sacrilege, but Bill Murray is overrated. The 1980s movies that made him most famous -- “Stripes”, “Caddyshack”, “Meatballs” and yes, “Ghostbusters” -- were okay, but people rate them higher in their memories than they were on screen (see also: “Star Wars” movies)..

    As for the new “Ghostbusters” film, I’ll wait until it’s on video or TV. I don’t see any movies in theatres, so I’m not treating this one any differently. I’m very willing to give it a chance once it’s available.

  6. brucegee1962 says

    I went to see it with my family. I thought it was quite funny and well done, and my wife thought it was the best movie she could remember seeing in a long time. Kate Mckinnon, especially, was amazing to watch and lit up the screen in every scene she was in.

    We watched the original the night before to refresh ourselves, and there seemed about an equivalent number of quotable lines. One thing I thought was interesting — none of the jokes (ok, maybe one) were the least bit raunchy, compared to the old movie’s “I want you inside me.” It would be an ok movie to take kids to, as long as they weren’t the type to get scared easily.

  7. Matt G says

    No, the original was not great cinematography, but it is great in the “cult classic” sense. The special effects are, of course, weak by today’s standards. If you had seen it when it came out, you’d see it differently. I still watch Tom Baker’s Dr. Who….

  8. moarscienceplz says

    I fully intend to see the new one, but for some reason my local rabbit warren cineplex has very few 3D showings scheduled.

    As for the original, comedy is probably the most subjective art form, but I think part of your problem with it might be due to visual effects that are now 30 years old, coupled with seeing it on a small screen. This movie really needs a big screen, and I don’t mean the postage stamp screens on the wall of a room the size of your living room which is laughingly called a movie theater these days.
    The juxtaposition of Murray’s deadpan against near-apocalyptic events was hilarious to me, and I can still enjoy it because I remember seeing it in a huge theater back in the day.

  9. Nate Carr (Totes not an imposter D:) says

    Honestly Bill Murray is the weakest link of the original two movies. His really creepy, borderline-rapey behavior (who the hell has sedatives just in their pocket ready to go?) added to his “I’m too good for this movie” attitude (especially on display in the second film) makes them hard for me to watch.

  10. moarscienceplz says

    Nate Carr,
    Yeah, I agree that Murray seems to always have an air of superiority. I didn’t like him at all on SNL, and I still don’t like many of his movies. The ones I do like are the ones where his character is supposed to be supercilious: Ghostbusters I, Scrooged, and Groundhog Day.
    I do like Ghostbusters II as well, but that is because of Peter MacNicol’s performance, not Murray’s.

  11. WhiteHatLurker says

    As for Monty Python, I like to point out this cast member.

    And yes, any remake of the Pythons would have to be completely different (yes, well … wording) as they were very much a product of their times, and of their uniqueness. Any homage would likely not fare well.

  12. sonofrojblake says

    Some have even gone so far as to attack one of the stars Leslie Jones in racist terms.

    That particular facet baffles me especially. Hey internet trolls -- you remember Ernie Hudson? Y’know, the black dude in the original movie? No? Misogyny in response to flipping the gender of the cast is one (stupid) thing, but making it racist doesn’t make even a tiny bit of sense.

  13. Dunc says

    @12: I don’t think it’s really about the film for a lot of these people -- that’s just an excuse. No, it’s just about letting their racist, misogynistic freak flags fly. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a lot of them are blaming the Jews too.

  14. dianne says

    I am a huge fan of the Monty Python films and have seen them multiple times. They too have an all-male cast. If someone were to decide to remake them with a female cast, it is likely that those like me who loved the original films would not enjoy the remakes as much, not because of the female casting but because we remember the old so well and so fondly, unless the remakes did something completely different.

    I completely adored Monty Python, particularly Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sorry, I know a real nerd would have liked one of their less mainstream movies the best, but that’s my favorite. Nonetheless, I am now enamored of the idea of a remake of MPHG with an all female cast (except perhaps for the denizens of Castle Anthrax). But only, ONLY if they do indeed have something new and different to say. If they just did a “Star Wars VII” style rehash of the original, I’m not sure it’d be worth it. But, damn, that has possibilities, if done right. Actually, Life of Brian with Brexit references would be even better. Like of Brianna?

  15. sonofrojblake says

    Holy Grail is “mainstream”? LOL

    You’ve got me doing a dream cast now…
    Arthur: Scarlett Johanssen. (She’s got a killer frown and she’d work as the voice of sanity/”straight” character.)
    Lancelot: Melissa McCarthy, and get Steve Punt in to play the squire, just to mess with people’s heads (Steve Punt is a UK comedian who bears a strong physical resemblance to Eric Idle, who played the original: “Message for you sir.”).
    Sir Robin: Jennifer Aniston.
    Sir Bedevere: Sandra Bullock
    Sir Galahad: Kristen Wiig.
    The Black Knight: Gwendoline Christie
    The French Ker-niggut: Melanie Laurent
    Leader of the Knights who say Ni: Joanna Lumley.
    Tim the Enchanter: Jennifer Saunders.

    I’d watch that.

  16. sonofrojblake says

    Film remakes, especially of good films, baffle me. The one that baffled me most was a remake of what I regard as a near-perfect film: Casablanca. I cannot imagine what the internet misogyny machine would make, today, of the concept of remaking a great movie like that and recasting Humphrey Bogart’s role with Pamela Anderson and Ingrid Bergman’s character with Temuera “Jango Fett” Morrison. And yet Barb Wire exists, and indeed is twenty years old this year.

    And it’s set in 2017 during the Second American Civil War… which in ’96 seemed fanciful.

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    sonofrojblake @15:

    Arthur: Scarlett Johanssen

    Sorry, but the part is made for Dawn French.

  18. sonofrojblake says

    Lack of Kate McKinnon (and Maria Bamford) is due mainly to being unfamiliar with their work. On the other hand, from me at least, an emphatic NO to Dawn French. I realise I’m in a minority with this opinion, but I’ve never found her funny. She always does a kind of mugging-for-the-camera performance that I find grating. The strength of Chapman as Arthur was the complete serious straightness of it, and he was acknowledged by the other Pythons as the best straight actor among them. I think Arthur needs a “straight” actor who understands comedy, rather than a comedian. Meryl Streep would work too, I think.

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