Somewhat surprisingly, the most controversial movie of the summer of 2016 isn’t a film with any sort of incendiary political theme. It’s the reboot of Ghostbusters. Ever since the film was announced two years ago - along with the news that the four Ghostbusters would be played by women (Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones), a lot of diehard fans of the original have been forcefully condemning the project.
The very idea of remaking such a classic has been called sacrilege. The first trailer for the film was not especially well-received, and is now the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. Some have attacked the “political correctness” of casting the reboot with a female cast (albeit with cameos from most of the original cast), while the film Internet virtually exploded Tuesday over a video posted at the site Cinemassacre, in which James Rolfe announced that he wouldn’t be reviewing the movie, because he refuses to see it.
Now, the director of the new Ghostbusters movie, Paul Feig, has addressed the controversy in a new interview, in which he states he’s proud of the film and his cast and urges fans to treat the new Ghostbusters fairly.
The comments are part of a fuller interview Feig gave to Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, which will be on newsstands in its entirely June 7. A few quotes were included in a press release by the magazine, pitched as “Feig takes on the Internet haters", including the director's thoughts on the Ghostbusters trailer reactions:
“You get your first bite of the apple watching a trailer. Everyone has a million different ideas of what this movie is going to be. I think a lot of people thought we were going to take the original script and just flip it, so that Melissa’s going to be Venkman, and Kate’s going to be Ray Stantz! And you’re like, ‘Well, no, we would never do that.’ Nobody knows what you’re doing, so it could be anything. ... For us, we just needed to plant a flag and go, ‘Here’s kind of how some of the stuff in the movie is!’ …
Feig went on to discuss what he feels is a recurring problem with the trailers for all of his films (see also Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), Ghostbusters included:
"My movies, for some reason, are really hard to do trailers for, because my comedy all comes from context, really. I’m not the guy who’s like joke-joke-joke, and here’s a one-liner one-liner one-liner. I do have those, but you have to get to know the characters, you have to settle in with them to get to know their personalities, saying, ‘Oh, that’s funny because that character doesn’t normally do this.’ … That said, I liked what the first trailer was, and we’re going to have the new trailer that we’re putting together now that I’m really excited about, too, which shows a little more of the scope. … But people are always going to react the way they’re going to react, and that’s the joy and the terribleness of the Internet.”
It’s hard to disagree with Feig here. He’s adapting an iconic property about which a lot of people have strong feelings. But this is a film that deserves a chance, and certainly not sight-unseen dismissal. Feig is a first-rate director of comedies - his last three films, Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy are all significantly above average. The cast has a lot of talented people in it, including Kate McKinnon, who’s got her first big movie role after four years as MVP of Saturday Night Live.
No, the first trailer wasn’t the greatest in cinematic history. But the second one, which is now online, is an improvement. And anyone who has followed movies for any period of time knows that judging a movie by its trailer is often a mistake. If filmgoers want to treat the 2016 Ghostbusters as a crime against cinema, they should really make the effort to see it first.
Ghostbusters arrives in U.S. theaters on July 15, 2016
Source: Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine