Why is Ghostbusters 2016 so important?
Thoughts from Peier Tracy Shen
There are of course more important reasons to watch GB16. And that’s kind of the elephant in the room, especially with the recent news about Leslie Jones, who was subjected to twitter abuses. The Internet trolling (rampant, in fact, ever since the movie was announced) only reflects the gender and racial issues that are still embedded in our society.
But what’s the big deal? What does it have to do with going to the theatre and watching the movie? Easy. Media representations. It is not difficult to realize that necessary changes are required in the ways the media represent our world.
However, the film industry typically tries to escape social responsibilities by hiding behind box office numbers. Their typical line of argument is that imbalanced representation is the result of the lack of demand. Indeed, even the possibility of this all-female GB16 remake is based on the financial successes of recent films with female ensembles such as Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids. Thus, what GB16 does at the box office will affect what films will be made in the next decade. And the brutal reality is that while male-led blockbusters flop all the time yet still keep coming, for women, this is a huge “make it or break it” moment.
It may sound ludicrous to assert that the financial success of GB16 is a quintessential issue for the woman’s movements, but representations matter. How could one question that? How many African-American comedians got their start because of Eddie Murphy’s success on Saturday Night Live? It is time for the media to reflect the importance of all races, genders, and sexual orientations. Even though I am still praying for Hollywood to produce an interesting Asian character sometime soon (maybe in the next decade?), this movie is a start.
So to those who are tired of the ideological gender talk, the truth is that more job opportunities will open up for women because of the success of this all-female reboot. To the skeptics who wonder about the effect of seeing female scientists having fun and kicking ass — especially when Kate McKinnon as “Jillian” goes into slow-motion and licks her guns — I present this one endearing photo of Kristen Wiig surrounded by MiniBusters:
FF2 Media Critics all rave about GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) from our multiple POVs. Hooray for the Team Ghostbusters! Highly Recommended just for the fun of it 🙂
Amelie Lasker: I don’t know what it’s like to have grown up with the originalGhostbusters, but I do know what it’s like to love a movie for its pure fun and to take comfort in going back to it. To me, that feeling explains the excitement surrounding Paul Feig’s 2016Ghostbusters, a fittingly zany new story that is a welcome revival of the world populated by green-gooey, glowing supernatural creatures. (AEL: 3.5/5) Click HERE to read Amelie’s full review!
Brigid Presecky: Screenwriter Katie Dippold & director Paul Feig never stoop to low jokes or a mockery of the female-led cast. In fact, they let the characters be their smart, tech-savvy selves and leave the ‘dumb blonde’ role to a perfectly cast Chris Hemsworth. (BKP: 4/5) Click HERE to read Brigid’s full review!
Eliana Levenson: Like any boundary breaking film, Katie Dippold & Paul Feig’s 2016 remake of Ghostbusters does a lot to challenge traditional gender roles and seeks to not only prove that women can carry an action comedy, but also point fun at the way women’s roles are usually treated in such films. For instance, “Kevin” (Chris Hemsworth), the hot male receptionist with little-to-no brains, serves merely to look pretty and give the women something to lust after. As for the ghostbusting ladies, their ability to kick ass and take names is in no way diminished by their genders. However, while I’d venture to say that Dippold & Feig’s remake lives up to the expectations set forth in the original film, it fails to elevate the material in its lack of realistic character motivations to push the somewhat ridiculous plot. While there are glimpses of deep character exploration, particularly with Kristen Wig’s character, these moments fail to earn their place in affecting the greater plot. There’s no doubt that Dippold & Feig’s remake is a fun ride and serves to prove that women can fill the action-comedy space. However, it feels somewhat like a missed opportunity to not provide these female leads with active character motivations and agency in affecting the plot. Though the Ghostbusters reboot is a step in the right direction for female driven films, there is still work to be done.
Georgi Presecky: With all the negativity happening in our nation and around the world at the moment, it’s strangely cathartic to duck into a theater and watch a group of ragtag scientists save the world in a somewhat-neat, 100-minute package. Sometimes laughter is the best way to bust the kind of ghosts we can’t control. (GEP: 4/5) Click HERE to read Georgi’s full review!
Jan Lisa Huttner: GB16 is manna from heaven in the multiplex dessert. We want to see women to do all the things men do as “action sheroes” without having to do it backwards and in high heels. With nods to past, present, and future, and aided by the same catchy tune Ray Parker Jr created way back when, GB16 sent me out of the theatre once again with a song in my heart ? (JLH: 4/5) Click HERE to read Jan’s full review!
Jessica Perry: Director Paul Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold’s 2016 remake of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters, has all of the components of a hit summer blockbuster, outfitted with action sequences and action stars. What sets it apart from the 1984 installment, is that this time around, the “Ghostbusters” are four strong, hilarious, kick-ass women. Played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and newcomer Leslie Jones, the new team of Ghostbusters outfit themselves with ghost-blasting weapons and set out to save New York City from the supernatural creatures terrorizing the streets. Kate McKinnon’s hysterical portrayal of GB and engineer, “Jillian Holtzmann,” stood out amongst the all-star cast. But each comedian brought something unique and spectacular in their performance; allowing the film to break through boundaries and subvert preconceived gender constructs, effectively taking a positive step forward in big budget filmmaking, and delivering the female-driven box office winner that audiences have been craving.
Kimi Kumar: If you want to watch roles being shifted where women blow things up and the dumb, blond secretary is a male working for a strong group of women, then Ghostbusters is your movie. However, if you want to watch women exude strong acting chops, phenomenal comedy timing, and bring each of their vibrant, distinct personalities to the big screen, then this movie is also for you. Ghostbusters not only encompasses all the elements of a big, successful blockbuster film, but it uses those elements to make fun of itself. Director/Writer Paul Feig (working with co-screenwriter Katie Dippold) takes from the 1984 Ghostbusters — where bad special effects were a part of its humor — and remains true to its form. The visual effects are taken to another level where it becomes hard to believe whether or not we are supposed to be in a scary world full of ghosts. I mean, why are there dragons among the ghosts? It’s a proper, 2016 spin-off of the original Ghostbusters.
Lindsy Bissonnette: Ladies (and gents), suit up! And go see this film. Here’s why: Any SNL-loving person will love the cast, any pre-2016 GB fans will love the story and be in on all the jokes, and if there are any people I’ve left out, you should still go because Kate McKinnon (that’s right I’m listing her first because her quirky creation — Jillian Holtzmann — is a crazy-smart, literal nuclear physicist who will make you pee your pants), Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Leslie Jones are a fantastic team. To anyone putting up a fuss about the gender of these leads, let it stop here. These ladies each bring something really special to the table with their humor, acting, improv styles and personalities. This wasn’t a good film “for women,” it was a good film period!
Peier Tracy Shen: Putting aside its all-female cast and what it does for social representations, we have to acknowledge the fact that GB16 as a summer blockbuster is exactly what it should be and more. In fact, few have done better. The girls are hilarious, brilliant, and sexy; their gadgets are high-tech and exciting; and the ghosts, reminding one of what Tim Burton’s dream would be, are spectacular. There are also adorable moments with Chris Hemsworth (our Thor) playing a lovable bimbo who likes to drop his shirt at all times (and nobody is complaining). Indeed, the filmmakers, including screenwriter Katie Dippold and writer/director Paul Feig, successfully orchestrate laugh-out-loud humor, tense actions, and thrilling scares. So the question is this: If you enjoy watching things blow up, action-packed sequences, and adult humor, why would you miss this one? (PS: 4/5)
Photos from top to bottom
1.) Kimi Kumar, Jan Lisa Huttner & Peier Shen at the Regal Union Square (NYC)
2.) Brigid Presecky, Jessica Perry, & Elly Levenson at the IMAX (LA)
Q: Does Ghostbusters (2016) pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?