Rebooting a classic, fan loved movie is an exciting but daunting task. There will inevitably be a level of expectation from existing fans that the original material will be respected within the parameters of fond homage, whilst enough newness is injected to progress the theme beyond what has come before. When the casting choices involve a dynamic gender swap of the traditionally all male cast – such being the case with Paul Feig’s upcoming Ghostbusters, it is more important than ever to achieve familiarity within the movie’s aesthetics to placate those nervous of larger concept changes.
Luckily for excited fans, Feig has a strong social media game – having not only taken to Twitter to defend his movie against misogynistic backlash, but also to showcase his commitment to homage through the costumes and props, such as the team uniforms and proton packs. The latest item teased by the studio is a Ghostbusters transport staple – the Ecto-2 – but has also been given a contemporary 2016 makeover.
Feig’s Ghostbusters stars a troupe of celebrated comedy actresses who don paranormal- fighting gear to save New York from ghostly mayhem. The four leads include Kristen Wiig (as Erin Gilbert), Melissa McCarthy (as Abby Yates), Leslie Jones (as Patty Tolan) and Kate McKinnon (as Jillian Holtzman), along with Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as the the Ghostbuster’s receptionist and Andy Garcia (Kill the Messenger) as the city mayor. The reboot has also secured original Ghostbusters actors Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, among others, to make cameos in the film.
The original Ghostbusters’ ‘Ecto’ vehicles consisted of the Ecto-1 – a modified ambulance/hearse (which has been recreated for the reboot) – and the Ecto-2; the latter portrayed as a two seater auto gyro in the Ghostbusters animated series. For the new live-action film, the Ecto-2 has been re-styled as a motorcycle (see above) – which hopefully means some high speed street scenes will take place, putting the Ecto-2 to good use.
The mad scientist style modified tech synonymous with the Ghostbuster’s underdog organization is a recognizable and loved characteristic of the original movies. This style is a device that Feig appears to be fully exploiting to lend authenticity to his reboot as a genuine and worthwhile franchise installment in the face of his harsher critics.
When a classic property is “modernized”, changes to reflect contemporary social climes are inevitable – often exhibited here through tongue in cheek modifications to the familiar, with nods to the past. It appears the Ghostbusters reboot is aiming to manage such a balancing act, despite the conversation of gender controversy the casting choices have opened. Unfortunately, Feig’s Ghostbusters offering is thus under more pressure to be received well, so the quality can outshine the focus on gender (which should not actually be an issue at all).
Ghostbusters will open in U.S. theaters on July 15th, 2016.