So recently another trailer for the upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot was released and yet again, in my opinion, it failed to look anything more than a poor attempt to bringing new life to the 30+ year old franchise. Reaction to the trailer was poor from the majority, but this was in turn met by a reaction that has plagued the whole marketing for the film, that anyone who doesn’t like the look of the film is just upset that features women in the lead role of an iconic franchise.
Those comments are ironic in many ways, mainly because they’re wrongly assuming that people don’t want to watch the film and will bad mouth it because it stars women, but making that comment is itself sexist.
The original trailer for the new film was released several months ago now and it has already gained the less than favourable distinction of being the most disliked movie trailer ever on Youtube. There are several reasons for this, but not once during the comments did I read someone stating that the film would be poor because it has female leads, instead a lack of genuinely funny moments, racist stereotypes and an exceptionally slow tone made one of the least impressive trailers that you’ll ever see for a Hollywood blockbuster.
You could almost tell that the studio knew that they had messed up with the first trailer as a new one was released within a few days of the first that showed Chris Hemsworth’s character, but seemed to overplay him being in the film, almost like a “shit, they didn’t like that trailer, let’s try and get the comic book nerds on side” type of way of doing it. Now I really like Chris Hemsworth as an actor, I can’t recall watching a film that he was in that I didn’t like him in, and if I’m going to go and watch it then it will be to enjoy another one of his performances again.
Releasing a new trailer didn’t change opinions though and the majority still disliked the trailers, and that’s the point at which some said that people just didn’t like it because it starred four women, and that people didn’t like the film for sexist reasons. What complete and utter nonsense.
Now before someone gets on their high horse and starts accusing me of only not liking the look of the film because it stars four women, take into account that it’s practically impossible for me to be sexist against women because I am a male-to-female transsexual. If I was sexist against women then I certainly wouldn’t be spending a lot of money to become one for the rest of my life.
When they initially announced last year that the new cast would feature “funny women”, I did genuinely struggle to think of actresses that I find funny, and when the cast came out I was unimpressed. Now, I’ve never seen anything with Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones in it, infact I’d never even heard of either of them before then, so obviously I can’t comment on their level of comedic talent (although judging by the trailers, the latter certainly doesn’t contain any), so instead I’m going to concentrate on Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.
Several months ago I did review a film starring Wiig, to be more precise “Welcome to Me”, and it was pretty poor, and before I wrote this I looked at Wiig’s filmography, and other than “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” I couldn’t think of anything that I have seen her in that I enjoyed her performance specifically, and possibly the reason was that in that film she played a very serious character, but in the others she has attempted to be somewhat amusing.
Then we get onto Melissa McCarthy, who is about as funny as falling eye first onto a pin. She is like the female version of James Corden in which most of her “humour” seems to come from her weight. For example, in the trailer for “Tammy” (which is diabolical might I add) she is seen struggling to get over a counter, and it’s just not funny, and nor is anything else that she has been in.
Neither of these women strike me as fitting the category of “funny women” and that’s why I was initially skeptical.
If you’re going to claim that you’re going to hire “funny women” then hire women that are actually funny. There are plenty of funny women in Hollywood and I can give you four right now that have proven comedic chops, chemistry built from several years of already working together and are all actually likable, I present the female cast of the brilliant “Parks and Recreation”.
Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza and Retta (in the order they appear in the picture) were perfectly cast for “Parks and Recreation” and had they been cast in “Ghostbusters” rather than the four aforementioned women then I suspect that there would have been far more excitement towards the film, especially as all four are actually funny.
That’s not to say that the poor looking film is all the fault of the four female leads, afterall, they can only read what they’re given by the writers and director, so if people are criticising a film for poorly told jokes and a poorly paced trailer, you have to also have to look at all of those behind the scenes.
The problem with the film so far is that the ghosts look ridiculously cartoonish and the comedy seems exceptionally slapstick, which isn’t in the tradition of the franchise. Now, I know that the first one was released in 1984 and obviously times have changed, but slapstick comedy has never been truly successful at the cinema since the days of Charlie Chaplin, and I highly doubt that’ll change now. One of the many reasons for the success of the original films is that the writing was nailed on perfect and the jokes weren’t in your face like the trailers have made the new one look.
For me, and a lot of people that I know (both male and female), there isn’t a single redeeming feature about it. I’m not a huge fan of the originals, I do like them but would I actively go out of my way to watch them? Probably not. It looking crap has nothing to do with people not liking women in the leading roles. Certain franchises are crap because they’re simply crap, not just because they have female leads. For example, “Alien” is a great example of a female lead franchise that people love, whereas franchises such as “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” are awful, but they’re not awful because they have a female lead character (although to be fair Stewart does a fantastic job of dragging the latter even further down), they’re awful because they’re simply poorly made films….especially the latter franchise.
To suggest that people don’t like the look of the new “Ghostbusters” film because it’s female lead is not only sexist in itself, but it’s also downright wrong.