When the long-awaited official trailer for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot hit last March, it was met with almost universal disdain. Audiences were horrified to discover just how unfunny and lazy the movie appeared. On Sony Pictures Entertainment’s YouTube page, the trailer has already received over 800,000 dislikes and counting. A second official trailer for Ghostbusters hit less than a week ago. While arguably an improvement over its predecessor, people were still pretty quick to hit that dislike button.
On the one hand, it’s understandable why everyone is dumping on these trailers. After all, the original Ghostbusters is one of the most quotable comedies of all time. Fans have been waiting for a new entry in the franchise since Ghostbusters II in 1989. For a while, it looked like the 2009 video game would be the closest thing we’d ever get to Ghostbusters III. Then when this reboot went into development, we were given a glimmer of hope. After watching the trailer, however, it looks like Ghostbusters could be DOA.
On the other hand, we can’t always judge a movie by its advertising. You know what other movies had underwhelming trailers? Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy! Feig directed all three of those movies and they all surpassed expectations, becoming big box office hits. Since Feig has proven that he can do little wrong, we should at least give this new Ghostbusters a chance. Yet, various fans are reluctant to even consider the possibility that it might be good, refusing to see the film under any circumstances.
Before we continue, it’s important to address that some folks aren’t boycotting Ghostbusters solely because of the trailer, but for much more asinine reasons. After it was announced that the film would center on four women instead of four men, numerous misogynists took to the internet to complain. It doesn’t matter that Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones have all proven themselves consistently hilarious. It doesn’t matter that some of the best comedies of the 21st century, including Mean Girls, Pitch Perfect, and Frozen, all focused on female characters. These sexist boneheads simply can’t fathom the idea of a woman donning a proton pack in 2016.
I could go on a tirade on why this is ridiculous and appalling. Actually, I previously wrote an article on why 2015 had the best summer for women in film ever. For now, though, let me just ask all the whiny man-children out there one question:
Would you rather see Adam Sandler and company headline a new Ghostbusters movie? Would you rather see Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis phone it in like they did in those Hangover sequels? Do you really want to follow Donald Trump on his anti-Ghostbusters crusade!?!?
Okay, so that was more than one question, but you get the point.
Of course not everybody is boycotting the Ghostbusters reboot for mean-spirited, sexist reasons. Some people simply think that the trailers look bad and thus don’t want to see it. That’s perfectly understandable and audiences have every right to skip a movie they have no interest in seeing. However, some people are practically protesting this film’s very existence without even seeing the whole product.
James Rolfe, better known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, is one of the film’s most notable skeptics. On his YouTube page, Rolfe announced that he would not be seeing Ghostbusters, despite being a huge fan of the franchise. Aside from disliking the trailer, he simply doesn’t want to sit through a Ghostbusters movie without the original cast reprising their iconic roles. The CGI effects and uninspired title didn’t exactly win him over either. Rolfe acknowledges that he’s biased and that the movie could end up being better than the trailer. Yet, watching the film just seems like a waste of time to him.
I’d like to say upfront that I respect Rolfe’s opinion. He’s a knowledgeable movie buff and a unique talent. (On a side note, go watch his review of the old-school Ghostbusters NES game. It’s hilarious!) Maybe Rolfe is right. Maybe this Ghostbusters won’t work with a new cast. Maybe this will be one of Hollywood’s most misguided reboots ever. Maybe the film will just be a cheap imitation of a classic, cashing in on the Ghostbusters name. What if it’s not, though?
What if Ghostbusters works as both a standalone comedy and a love letter to the original? What if the new cast ends up being just as good as the old cast, if not better? What if the film gets 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and everybody on the internet eats their own words in two months? Sure, these are all big ifs. Who can say for certain without going to the theater, however?
We have the right to say that Feig’s Ghostbusters looks bad. We even have the right to say that Feig’s Ghostbusters will be bad. Yet, nobody has the right to say Feig’s Ghostbusters is a horrible movie until they’ve actually seen it. If we judged every movie based on its trailer, Spider-Man 3 would be considered a masterpiece and the original Star Wars would be a disaster.
If you don’t want to see Ghostbusters because your expectations are low, that’s fine. Go ahead. Save your money. It’s your choice. Just don’t try to review the film without buying a ticket. Who knows what will happen on July 15? Ghostbusters could be amazing, it could be terrible, and it could be polarizing. The verdict is still out on this one. Don’t write it off without accepting that call.