The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot is going to be gender-swapped: the four main characters — originally played by male actors — will be played by female leads. Last week, the film’s trailer gave us our first look at the movie:
And here’s how some people reacted:
What you see is not fake or dramatized. You have just watched a so-so trailer for another cheesy summer tent-pole reboot and these were some of the reactions. Why is there so much controversy surrounding this particular cheesy summer tent-pole movie? Social media was ablaze with polarizing comments, like your former high school swim captain tweeting, “why ruin Ghostbusters with an all-female cast?”
The new leads are four talented comedians: Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy. Director Paul Feig continues to defend his casting choices while misogynist, privileged pseudo-critics pick apart the trailer by comparing it to the original film. That’s right; they’re comparing a two-minute trailer to the entire original film. Because that’s how comparisons apparently work:
The original starred Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Ernie Hudson and was directed by Ivan Reitman. It was an iconic film whose theme song remains permanently lodged in our heads. However, the original is not without its faults. In that trailer, Ernie Hudson wasn’t credited, even though he is the fourth Ghostbuster, and there was a terribly cliched voiceover explaining everything. There’s also a get-ready-to-kill-some-ghosts-locked-and-loaded sequence that, for some reason, didn’t bother people like a similar sequence in the all-female trailer did.
I only recently saw Ghostbusters for the first time. Although it is a beloved classic, it is undeniably hella sexist. The film’s high points were its well-paced plot, kicked off by perfect opening scene, and effects that hold up to this day. Murray had his funny moments, but I found Ramis’ character to be much better acted.
Besides, Murray’s character, Peter Venkman, is such a creeper to Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett. The scene where he’s “checking out her apartment” was incredibly uncomfortable to watch. I’m not sure why a scene where Venkman is forcing himself on Dana was twice as long as the entire “Ghostbusters get famous” montage. Probably because it exists in the same world where “crossing the streams” can end the world — but in a major twist, can save it???
The most disturbing part of all the reboot backlash is that it reveals the real opinions a lot of people have about the representation of women — and women of color — in media. The controversy around this trailer highlights social ideals and expectations, and what happens when nostalgia is challenged with progressive thinking. Though many media consumers cry out for change, plenty of others still think that diversity and accurate representation is some sort of “feminist regime.” The idea of a woman taking over a man’s role in a film is so disturbing that:
It’s sad but true. In 2016, people still think it’s okay to demand that if women star in movies, those movies must contain nude scenes depicting only women who are young, skinny and white. Not great characters, story arcs, or social commentary. Just tits, ass, and maybe a Bill Murray cameo. And some of the people demanding those things might turn out to be people you know.