Ever since Ghostbusters II debuted in 1989, fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating a third film for the series. Twenty-five years later, all Hollywood can offer is a quasi-reboot featuring all new characters in what is, supposedly, a similar story that (according to a title card at the beginning of trailer #1) may or may not be set after the first timeline, with cameos from the original cast members… it’s a tad confusing. It may be unfair, but the Ghostbusters reboot is understandably going to be compared to what is arguably the most iconic horror-comedy of the eighties.
Placing aside complaints about the reboot having an all-female cast (which honestly seems like a pretty weak reason to dislike a movie), many have said the two trailers for the upcoming summer tentpole have been underwhelming. Chief among the negative complaints: the humor. When a studio has faith in a movie, the trailers generally keep much of the “good stuff” close to the vest, giving away just enough material to entice viewers to watch the spectacle on the big screen. That’s not to say Sony and Columbia Pictures are worried about their $150 million dollar spectre extravaganza, but when a trailer gives away much of this many of the movie’s elements, even for a remake, it’s definitely disconcerting to fans.
With the release of this second trailer, it appears, at first glance, to have given away much of the film’s plot, story beats, jokes and the big bad guy – and that usually isn’t a good sign. Here are a few things we think have been “spoiled” with this latest trailer.
Issue #1: Kevin Is Revealed to be a Bad Guy (Sort of)
It was revealed in the first trailer that ghosts in this universe (much like the original film) can both possess and control humans. In the reboot’s second trailer, instead of Abby (Melissa McCarthy) being possessed, we get to see their secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) have his body taken over by an otherworldly entity. Had it stopped at that point, there wouldn’t be an issue, but the trailer continues by showing us Kevin standing in front a lab filled with all manner of ghostly devices as Erin (Kristen Wiig) narrates, “Something big is going to happen.”
While Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) can be seen possessed in the original Ghostbusters trailer (relive it HERE), that’s all viewers were given until they watched the actual movie. Now, no matter when it occurs during this movie, audiences will know exactly what’s going to happen with Kevin from the very first moment he’s introduced. What could’ve been a great plot twist is basically wasted in a trailer.
Issue #2: Too Many New Ghosts, Not Enough Slimer
It’s understandable that a movie titled Ghostbusters would predominantly feature several ghosts throughout its trailers. However, perhaps they should have kept some of the good stuff a secret and let audiences enjoy the experience of seeing all these delightful new creations revealed for the first time in theaters? For all of its faults (perceived or otherwise), both trailers have shown off some gorgeous looking ghosts, incorporating a ethereal color palette of blue and green hues that are beautifully haunting. This is, thus far, the best part of the movie.
Unfortunately, we’ve now witnessed lots of ghosts (many who will presumably make their appearance during final showdown) running amok in Times Square: three Macy’s Day Parade balloon ghosts, a 10-story tall stilt walker, a very impressive winged-demon attending a death metal concert, a subway specter, a group of party goers dressed in 1920s attire, the museum ghost who slimes Erin, ghosts trapped in mirrors, a swirling, green ghost “storm”, a ghost in an American Revolution outfit, something that looks like Apocalypse from the latest X-Men movie, and a very brief view of the most recognized ghost in the franchise, Slimer.
Next to Mr. Stay Puft, Slimer is easily the one thing fans were most anxious to see updated on the big screen. Not only did he turn into the team’s friend and mascot during the animated series, but he became so popular that his name took top billing on the show. For now, Slimer looks great (giant human teeth notwithstanding) but he’s given so little screen time in both trailers (about 4 seconds total) that he almost feels like an afterthought.
It’s possible the special effects for all the Slimer scenes aren’t entirely finished yet. That would explain his lack of appearance in the trailers but, when he’s featured on the cover of Empire magazine, it’s clear the filmmakers are aware of his importance to the franchise – which makes his minimal showing thus far odd. Several good Slimer scenes in the trailers could’ve possibly gone a long way for fan service.
Issue #3: Big Baddie Revealed Way Too Soon
One of the most iconic (and biggest) bad guys to ever grace the silver screen, is arguably the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. When Gozer invaded the thoughts of the team, Ray just couldn’t keep his mind clear, so he unintentionally gave the powerful demon the inspiration it needed to become a nightmare. As a result, Gozer ended up stomping down the streets of Manhattan as a “Class 7 Supreme Being” based on the corporate logo of the confectionery treat. It was a great moment in the movie, one which had significant impact on the audience because it was saved for the theater and not revealed in the trailer.
That moment has seemingly been denied to modern audiences as this second trailer ends with a red bow tie-wearing, jagged-toothed, white monster attacking the city. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this creature, which appears to be the Ghostbusters logo come-to-life. During the New York City Toy Fair in February this year, Mattel unveiled a new toy – named either “Rowan” or “Mayhem” – which was confirmed by a Mattel representative to be the main big ghoul in the new movie.
Ignoring the ridiculousness of using the team’s logo instead of something more commercial – such as Twinkie the Kid or Tony the Tiger – as the main villain, if this is indeed the “big baddie” the team battles at the end of the movie, then Ghostbusters is essentially leaving very little new to experience in theaters. If true, this will be hugely disappointing.
Devil’s advocate: The reveal could easily be shown out of context in the trailer, a ploy used to throw fans off the scent of the real bad guy, and they’re actually saving something even bigger for the movie’s release. However, chances of that actually being the case are likely slim thanks to Mattel’s earlier affirmations.
At some point, the people hired to cut these trailers, and to some extent the filmmakers themselves, should realize that when it comes to promotion, less is more. Trailers for movies such as last summer’s Mad Max: Fury Road and the upcoming Suicide Squad didn’t need to give away all the surprises in the trailers in order to garner interest or hype for their films.
Yet, even though Ghostbusters was voted the Most-Anticipated Summer Comedy on Fandango, all but ensuring the movie’s box office success, the filmmakers still felt it necessary to give away a lot of the film’s secrets in just two trailers. The movie could very well turn out to be the hit film of the summer but we’ll withhold our judgement until it releases. We just wish there hadn’t been so much given away so soon.
Ghostbusters stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth. It opens in U.S. theaters on July 15th, 2016.