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BBC Online Interview About Ghostbusters Reboot - With My Participation

 By Paul Rudoff on May. 27, 2016 at 1:58 PM , Categories: Spook Central, The 2016 Parody Remake

I was recently interviewed by Michael Baggs from BBC Online in regards to the new Ghostbusters movie and the overwhelming amount of hatred geared towards it. Michael's piece, entitled Why do lots of Ghostbusters fans already hate the new movie?, was just published, so go check it out.

It's a pretty fair piece, and I hope that I did a good job representing the fans. I actually wrote a lot more than what was quoted in the article. Since I spent a few hours typing it, I thought it would be nice if I copy and pasted my original responses here. I wasn't sure if Michael was looking for lengthy, wordy answers, or something a little more brief, so I did my best to answer these questions without writing the second volume of "War and Peace" :-) Some of my answers could be applicable to more than one question, but I did my best to give each question a unique answer. - Why does the original Ghostbusters hold such a special place in the hearts of so many people, yourself included?

The simple answer is "I don't know". I realy don't know why, out of everything I loved from my childhood, Ghostbusters is the one thing I've remained passionate about, which has actively stayed in my life. Sure, I liked and watched Transformers, G.I. Joe, Back to the Future, Goonies, and other such '80s fare when I was a kid. I own some of that stuff on DVD/Blu-ray and still enjoy it, but I'm not sitting here running a 20-year-old website about them :-)

For everyone else, I think it could be the camaraderie of the Ghostbusters. It's about a group of friends working together for a common goal (busting ghosts).

- Why have so many fans reacted to the 2016 movie with negativity?

Part of it could be that we've all been witness to 20-years-worth of "Ghostbusters 3" ideas and rumors, and the pervasive idea throughout was that the old guys would "pass the torch" to the new group. You see, unlike, say Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters is a concept that lends itself perfectly to a world in which multiple groups of Ghostbusters could exist. Since so much of the new movie was filmed in Boston, these ladies could easily be "Ghostbusters: Boston Chapter" and exist in the same world as the New York guys. Instead, we're being told that the new film takes place in a world where the original group does not exist. Moreso, the actors who played them will now be playing DIFFERENT roles! Some see that as "adding insult to injury".

Part of it could, simply be, because "Children of the '80s" have seen characters that we've grown up with been bastardized by movie studios before in films that, sadly, modern audiences made into cash cows. "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "The Smurfs", both of which were popular '80s cartoons - and yes, I know The Chipmunks originated in the 1950s with Ross Bagdasarian's novelty songs - are two that spring instantly to mind. Both of those theatrical films, one of which was released by Sony (Smurfs), feature broad, juvenile, low-brow humor that was not present in the '80s cartoons. So, to someone who grew up watching those cartoons, the new versions "cheapen their childhood memories in the name of a quick buck". Both of those films also did well enough for the studio to produce sequels that were (or seem to be) just as "bad". So, after seeing that, I can understand why Ghostbusters fans would not want that to happen to their beloved franchise.

- It's easy to accuse long-time Ghostbusters fans of misogyny due to the cast of the new movie being female. Is there more to the criticism than this?

It's short-sightedness on the part of the director, cast, and anyone involved with the new movie to write off all of the hate as misogyny. Sure, there are sexist assholes in our fandom, but those types of people exist EVERYWHERE! Would director Paul Fieg say that any of the WOMEN in our fandom who hate this movie are being misogynistic? Is it even possible to be a woman and hate women simply because they are women?

That said, I see the casting of an all-woman cast as a gimmick, pure and simple. If a Ghostbusters group were to, realistically, form today, it would likely be of mixed-gender, as many of the "franchises" in our fandom prove. It's sad that the overly-PC Extreme Ghostbusters got it right.

For the past five years or so, when the "passing the torch" idea was still being mentioned, names like Anna Faris and Eliza Dushku were bandied about. Apparently, we can't have female Ghostbusters in their '30s (save for Kate McKinnon), even though ALL FOUR of the original guys were in their '30s when they made the original film. I mean, wasn't the whole reason for the "passing of the torch" idea because the original guys were "too old"? I have nothing against older women, but if you want the rebooted franchise to have legs (more sequels, sell merchandise), you need to put it in the hands of a younger group of women. There are many smart and talented young women in Hollywood. Hell, one of my favorite actresses, Alison Brie, is a huge Ghostbusters fan. I would kill to see her don the jumpsuit and pack, and I think she'd be even more excited at that prospect. Instead, we get Paul Fieg's friend Melissa McCarthy and such simply because they're Fieg's favorites.

I also think that a lot of the hatred is because us Ghostbusters fans have been the only ones to keep this franchise alive for over 30 years, and yet instead of making a film that acknowledges what we all love, we're being told that it doesn't exist in favor of the "new flavor" of the month. I've seen the "dry spells" of this franchise where there were many, MANY years with no merchandise; no *nothing* from Sony! Like I said, WE kept what was, essentially, a "dead franchise" alive. We don't want pandering, we don't want something pushing an "agenda" of one form or another, we don't want something that's being targeted *solely* to a different audience... we just want something we can love as much as the originals.

- What do you think and feel when you watch the trailers for the movie - and what are your honest expectations for the film?

The first trailer did the movie no favors whatsoever! I can easily see why it garnered all the hatred it did, though I'm not sure it really deserves to be the "most disliked" in all of YouTube history. I've see things - including full-length movies - that were much MUCH worse.

Whomever is making these trailers is getting better at it with each one. The U.S. Trailer #2 was a big improvement over the first, but International Trailer #2 is even better than that! I will actually admit, I laughed out loud a few times with International Trailer #2 - something I didn't do with the others. Really, had Sony lead with International Trailer #2, I think a lot of people would have better feelings about this film.

Comparing International Trailer #2 to U.S. Trailer #2 from just a few days earlier, it's clear that Sony (or whomever they hired to edit the trailers) has the wrong impression of what American audiences want. We get the trailer with the vomiting ghost, the stupid stage dive joke, and a butt-ton of references to the original movie. It seems like they feel Americans need a dumbed-down, juvenile, pandering trailer. I'm kinda insulted by that. International Trailer #2 trailer pretty much does away with all of the stupidity, and that's a DAMN GOOD thing! Let's hope that the final film does, too.

I know that they've been doing reshoots and it's my impression that they're tweaking the movie based on some of the constructive criticism they've been reading. At least I *hope* that's the reason for the reshoots. So, it's hard to say what I expect from the film based solely on the trailers because some of the stuff in them may not actually be in the final film. I'm hoping that the broad, juvenile, low-brow humor is kept to a minimum, if not completely removed.

I've given my thoughts on each trailer on Spook Central, so I refer you to these articles for specifics on each:

International Trailer #2
U.S. Trailer #2
U.S. Trailer #1 & International Trailer #1

- Will you watch the movie with an open mind, or do you feel that your thoughts on the movie are already a little tainted?

My feelings on the movie were already a little tainted when it was announced that Feig would direct and McCarthy would star. I've seen one of his movies and a couple of hers, and the style of humor they are known for isn't appropriate for Ghostbusters. Like I said, it's broad, juvenile, and low-brow, none of which was in any of the Ghostbusters movies or animated series.

That's not to say that I can't be pleasantly surprised by what Feig and company have done. As much as I absolutely hate Jonah Hill - I want to punch him in the face every time I see him, and he completely ruined a whole bunch of movies for me (Forgetting Sarah Marshall being the best example) - I was surprised by how much I liked him in the 21 Jump Street movie. In fact, I thought that the 21 Jump Street movie was a great way to update an old idea and do it differently instead of simply retreading it. Rather than "rebooting" it cold, they did it as a sequel/follow-up to the original TV series, with some of those original actors in their original roles (including one helluva great cameo/reveal!). Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World did this same sort of thing, too. Yet, that's a concept that Feig can't grasp for Ghostbusters.

I'm certainly willing to give the movie a chance and go in with a pretty open mind. I did that with Paul Blart 2, even though the trailer and TV spots didn't paint the movie in a great light. I saw Paul Blart 1, which in spite of having a horrible lead character, I liked because it worked as a "Die Hard" parody. I was hoping for the same with the sequel, but I was wrong.

- Comedy or scares: How would you and the fans in general want to see a sequel balanced?

I've often said that the original Ghostbusters is mistakenly labelled as a "comedy" when it's really "horror" with some "sci-fi" elements. Hell, it was covered back in the '80s by both Fangoria AND Starlog! Pull out all of Peter's quips, and there are no "jokes" in the film. The comedy - aside from those quips - is based solely on the concept of "ordinary guys in an extraordinary situation". The "comedy" is there to just add levity to the grave situations. So, I'd balance it as 60% horror/apocalypse, 20% sci-fi, and 20% comedy.

- Do you think the lack of clarity between the actual position of the movie - (is it a sequel / remake / reboot?) has affected fans' feelings towards the movie?

That's certainly not helped win over the "haters", I'll say that much.

We're told that it's a cold reboot that takes place in a world where the originals don't exist. A fact that's "rubbed in our face" by having the original actors in different roles. Then, we get a trailer (U.S. #2) that shows DOZENS of ways the movie will reference the originals (and there may be more in the final film). For a movie that likes to pretend that the originals don't exist, it sure is going out of its way to reference them. It's all very confusing and insulting.

- Have you seen Bridesmaids, Spy or The Heat and if so, what do you think of those movies?

I saw Bridesmaids, and enjoyed it, but when it was over, NEVER did I think, "Paul Feig should direct a Ghostbusters movie and Melissa McCarthy should star in it." Also remember that Bridesmaids is R-rated, and features those broad, juvenile, low-brow jokes that we all feared would be in Feig's Ghostbusters (and that first trailer did not prove us wrong).

The trailers for Spy, The Boss, and Tammy, made those films look atrocious. I heard Spy was actually pretty good, so maybe I'll catch it on TV one day. The same with The Heat, since I do like Sandra Bullock. I saw McCarthy in Identity Thief, and MAN did that movie suck! Probably was the script's fault on that one, though.

- There have been rumours of a male Ghostbusters movie and even an 'expanded universe' for the franchise. What are your hopes for the future of Ghostbusters?

The future of Ghostbusters rides on Feig's movie, and sadly, it seems like it's not the best movie to bank the franchise on. Sony would have been wiser to start with a stronger movie, because if Fieg's Ghostbusters bombs, there won't be a chance for anything better to come after it. That makes me sad. One of the worse things that could have been done was to put the "Ghostbusters" name on Feig's movie, and yet it was also one of the best things, too. We would not be getting a revival of Hi-C Ecto Cooler or Ghostbusters Twinkies or any of the "classic movie" merchandise that's scheduled to be released this year if there was not a new movie coming out.

1 comment

Comment from: Jerome [Visitor]

Great interview, you did a good job representing the fans.
Thank you Paul.

Jun. 3, 2016 @ 10:21

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