Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Why Ghostbusters is More Important Than You and Me.

We need to talk about this. In the wake of all the hatred being given to a movie that hasn't even arrived in theaters or even gotten a single review, we desperately need to talk about Ghostbusters as a whole. And hey, there were three animated series in the franchise, so this totally counts as part of AniMaytion too, meaning no one can grumble about me skipping another day I could be using to talk animated work so I could "go on a SJW tirade". The new trailer for the reboot dropped and with it came a new wave of hate. But I look at it all and I raise my eyebrow, because I just don't understand.

Well, I don't understand beyond the obvious sexism that drives some male geeks.

Yeah, there is the clear answer that a lot of the hate is coming from the fact that the cast are women, which automatically hits some switch in the minds of many trilby wearing shitlords out there and makes them think they're the heroes we all need to save us from the bad women taking over their stuff. But hey, you're saying, maybe you just don't like the humour and prefer that of the classic. That's fair. The truth is though, I look at those trailers and I see a lot of the same humour on display that I recall being present in the previous films. I can easily see lines from these ladies coming out of the mouths of Murray, Ramis, Hudson, and Akroyd. If the movie continues along the path I'm seeing, it could be damn good.

"BUT IT'S OUR CHILDHOOD!!! THEY'RE RUINING OUR CHILDHOOD!"
Now, that right there? That's a bullshit argument. Your childhood is over once you reach legal drinking age and it's time to face that reality. Sure, you can keep in touch with it and look back fondly on it, but it's done. And you know what? You can ruin what has already happened. That original film will always be there, the cartoon will always be there, the toys will always be there, this movie does not have the power to make them not exist. But do you know what this movie does have the power to do? Make little girls feel like they can be something besides a princess. Because, let's face it, the amount of films for women in the geek world are sparse to nearly non-existent. It's like trying to find homosexual characters in a Disney movie.

Look, I found some!
This gets down to my real point, something I kind of touched upon over on my Twitter. Ghostbusters started out as nothing more than a silly clever little comedy about four guys taking on ghosts for a living and basically accidentally saving the world, but it became a lot more than that. It became iconic, this thing that lives on for generations and will continue to do so. It does that by being the sort of concept that people want to try out...especially kids. Kids are a major part of why Ghostbusters is and always will be a beloved franchise. But after touching on that very fact, I immediately got hit with hate from bashers of the new movie. On the one hand, it amuses the hell out of me, because I delight in mocking these pathetic sacks of crap who don't do much beyond stalk the internet looking for chances to try tearing someone or something down. But on the other hand, it highlights that familiar issue with the geek community basically eating itself with hatred.

A dramatic re-enactment.
Another talented writer asked the question of why this film is the rallying factor for all these guys, and the truth is that a lot of it really does fall back to casual sexism. But another big problem is nostalgia. You may sit there in shock, as I am the guy who bathes himself deeply in nostalgia, but that in itself isn't what I mean. There is nothing inherently wrong with being nostalgic or wearing your love for it openly. But there is something wrong with letting it rule you to the point where anything that relates to it after the fact is immediately shat upon because it is not that thing. I firmly think this train of thought is just as pervasive and damaging as the whole "no wimmens in mah Ghostbusters" movement is. These people will never be happy with anything that doesn't fit their extremely narrow ideal of what it should be and are the biggest hazard moving forward.

"No original cast? Pass. It can't possibly be good without them."
Ghostbusters isn't about them or their ideals though, nor is it about what I want it to be or even what this movie is. For my money, I will firmly say that it's about the kids who will look at it and want to buy a toy Proton Pack or a set of building blocks to construct the Ecto-1. The kids who will sit in a dark room and chase a friend with a flashlight, pretending it's a Proton Stream. The kids who will be downing Ecto-Cooler and learning about the Ghostbusters for the first time. They'll see this movie and find the others through it. They'll see the cartoons. They'll let their imaginations run wild with it just like we did as kids.

And they'll probably blame a few messes on Slimer, like some of us most definitely did.
Ghostbusters is a legacy, not just a single movie that happened decades ago. It's a rite of passage and to pretend we have the right to tell anyone not to add to that legacy is simply ego-driven lunacy. Ghostbusters should be encouraged to be good. Criticisms of this new movie should be constructive and only come after seeing it, rather than tearing it down based on two trailers. Frankly, I'm excited to see Ghostbusters coming back in such a big way. The movie could turn out to be awful, sure, but it's not my right to say that yet. July isn't here yet. This whole thing though? It's not about you or me. It's not about those whiny gobshites on Twitter and YouTube. It's not even about just this movie. Because it really is more than all of that. Regardless, I will be there on opening night to see the new film and I encourage you all to go check it out too, because every movie deserves a chance to be seen. Even if it's only once. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised. After all, it's from the guy who gave us Freaks and Geeks, one of the single best shows to air on television. Pretty fitting too, since that title easily fits the various different Ghostbusters theirselves. Later days, bleeders.

Busting should make us all feel good.

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