Ok, so I’m a big Ghostbusters fan. Not huge. But I have played a couple of Ghostbusters RPGs. And seen the cartoons. So, pretty big.
When I heard about the all women cast of the new film, it didn’t bother me like it did to some. I was a little concerned that the film only came to be after Harold Ramis died. Like maybe someone wanted to do something that went against his sensibilities, and the first film was so good. I liked the second one, too. And the idea that maybe none of the original cast would appear does give me pause, although I understand why they might not want to include them.
Before watching the trailer, I asked myself: what do I want from a Ghostbusters movie? What is it that makes it such a standout in my mind? Certainly paranormal, larger than life action-adventure. That’s one part. Psuedo-serious, psuedo-science fiction is also an important part. The last part is the comedy. Ghostbusters was great because it combined these three things together so well.
Some will argue the comedy is the most important part, and there’s some truth to that. What kind of comedy, then? There’s the blending of four disparate but compatible characters. The sly charm of Venkman. The dry wit of Egon. The wide-eyed wonder of Ray. And the pragmatic disbelief of Winston. With these four characters and their different takes on this fantastic world, we get to see the full spectrum of comedy. Wordplay, slapstick, puns, everything.
Does the new movie deliver? Let’s see what the trailer tells us.
First, paranormal, larger than life action-adventure.
In today’s age of computer graphics, I’d be surprised if it didn’t. I like the style shown in the trailer, and all of the action-adventure elements appear to be there. They don’t appear to have skimped on the ghost graphics or the slime. Check.
Next, pseudo-serious pseudo-science fiction.
The trailer makes sure we know that these characters have the chops. There’s some nod to the old Ghostbusters, but it’s a bit of a leap to understand why the new ones were needed. One sentence in the trailer would have fixed that: “They saved the world, then disappeared.” Unless I missed it, I’m not sure where they went. But otherwise, yes, it appears this element won’t be neglected.
Now, the comedy.
We have four characters again, and it appears that each has her own take. But I’m not as clear as to what every one of them is. I’m willing to wait to see that. What I’m not as clear on, though, is the actual funny. However, in fairness, let’s look at the original’s trailer:
Watching this, I’m not sure I’d have seen the full comedy potential of the original, either. I’d even go so far as to say the new film’s trailer has more funny in it than the original’s, although neither is full on funny.
Which may be as it should be. While Ghostbusters is undoubtedly a comedy, it’s not Airplane or The Wedding Singer. It’s a blending of different genres that just so happens to work: real world people, heightened a bit, dealing with something beyond normal comprehension. My only real concern is Melissa McCarthy, who I have yet to see play a grounded character (although I haven’t seen Spy yet).
All in all, while I didn’t see anything that made me think “I must see this,” neither was there anything that would appear to ruin the franchise. I’m interested to see what’s next.
Eliot has been orbiting show business for over 20 years as an improv comedian, video director, and general guy you might barely recognize. Currently best known for his work on the comedy podcast Never Not Funny: The Jimmy Pardo Podcast. He wrote previously for MacEdition.com, and is working on a collection of short sci-fi and weird tales that will probably be published someday. He is also one of three principals in Modest Games.