I saw the original Ghostbusters in the theater as a teenager and loved it, the way most kids did. Watching it wasn’t a defining moment of childhood or anything like that, but I found the movie imaginative, scary, and funny. My favorite parts, I remember, were the short bits discussing ancient civilizations, the portal to another dimension/time in the fridge, and the EPA guy Peck getting splattered with marshmallow fluff. Science versus magic, with the fate of the world in the balance: great stuff.
The less said about the sequel, the better.
When I learned that a reboot/remake/reimagining of Ghostbusters was in the works, I knew that it would probably be awful. Hollywood tends to sacrifice imagination for cash, embodied in unnecessary remakes like this one. Once it was announced that this reboot would include an all-female cast of Ghostbusters, everyone with the dimmest awareness of current events knew that it would definitely be awful, because the only reason to switch the cast’s sex was to pay homage to a social justice/grrrl power/21st century feminist agenda. Sony was turning a loved franchise into a message film. Message films, particularly message films made today, are entirely unwatchable.
Fans of the original (referred to near-universally as “fanboys,” with as much contempt as can be invested in such a term) weren’t upset that women would be in the cast; rather, they were justifiably angry that the entire theme of the franchise was altered, and not for the better. Yet another beloved thing had become politicized and ruined by social justice warriors.
In reply the filmmakers, beholden to a social justice message rather than a desire to entertain, hurled invective at the potential audience, calling anyone who didn’t enthusiastically embrace their message film sexist, misogynistic Neanderthals and haters. That’s not the reaction of a studio attempting to put as many butts into movie seats as possible; it’s the reaction of a social justice warrior faced with the appalling notion that someone disagrees with her/him/xer. Remember, social justice warriors hate you simply for disagreeing with them. Your difference of opinion is hate.
The movie has just been released, so let’s take a look at the reviews. One could assume from the 76% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes that the awful trailers didn’t do the movie proper justice. Here’s a representative sample of reviews from major media outlets:
- Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer liked it, and headlined his review with, “Sorry haters, but it’s really funny.” He also said of it, “Girl power and ghoul power – it’s a winning combination.” So it’s clear that his review was heavily influenced by the social justice message, of which he approves. Go grrrl power, and all you sexist, misogynistic Neanderthal haters are WRONG.
- MTV’s Amy Nicholson characterized the movie as “a middle finger to the screaming brobabiez”. Not that Amy Nicholson is to be taken seriously by anyone with intellectual heft, but she’s exposed herself as a social justice warrior out to make a point, not a film critic honestly reviewing a movie. How else are we supposed to take this statement: “Still, the big CG sequences are less captivating than simply watching the four ladies kick it with a pizza.” Nicholson doesn’t even like movies like this. If you prefer watching movies about women eating pizza, why review Ghostbusters? To stick it to the sexist, misogynistic Neanderthal brobabiez, that’s why. (You need to create terms like “brobabiez” when your loathing of people who disagree with you is so fundamental that “fanboys” just doesn’t cut it. Half-wits like Nicholson find invective to be their favorite rhetorical outlet.)
- Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir said in his review, “Feig’s ‘Ghostbusters’ is a goofy, free-floating romp with an anarchic spirit of its own, a fresh set of scares and laffs and a moderate dose of girl power that is unlikely to seem confrontational to anyone beyond the most confirmed basement-dwelling Gamergate troll.” Noticing a pattern?
- We’ll round out our roundup of reviews with Justin Chang at the Los Angeles Times: “After months of being trashed online by some of the nastier basement dwellers in the fanboy universe, Sony’s female-powered “Ghostbusters” update certainly represents progress of a sort, if not necessarily the kind its makers were aiming for.” You’re not just a sexist, misogynistic Neanderthal brobaby for not wanting Sony to transform the Ghostbusters franchise into social justice message fiction, but you’re also a nasty basement dweller. Chang also says, “Forced to choose between another viewing of one of Ivan Reitman’s two ‘Ghostbusters’ movies or Paul Feig’s feminist reboot, I’d opt for the latter in a heartbeat[.]”
These aren’t reviews. They’re hate-letters to anyone who disagrees with the transformation of entertainment into message fiction. Doesn’t this put a stake in the heart of the notion that these film critics are pure arbiters of quality, more qualified than you to determine what’s good from what isn’t? Why should you take their word on anything? They’ve shifted from movie reviewers to political activists, and should be treated (contemned) as such.
Obviously, the controversy surrounding the movie (wholly instigated by decisions the studio made to promote a message rather than put together an entertaining film) needs to be acknowledged in a review. It would be silly not to. However, this was not the way to broach the subject. Just as the movie’s main focus is the social justice message of grrrl power, the reviews’ main focus is supporting that message. Do you really think these reviewers liked the movie on its merits? It’s long past time we turned our backs to these haranguing, tiresome show business disasters and the faux-reviewers who promote them.
No, Sony: we don’t dislike the new Ghostbusters because there are women in the cast. We dislike it because you’ve politicized the franchise. You’ve turned it into something it wasn’t meant to be, and you did a horrible job of it.