By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I’m still leaning on the dislike side of whether Paul Feig’s reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise will be good. Was he involved at the construction of the trailer at all? Probably not, and the person who made this trailer implies 30 years have passed since “four scientists” (technically, three university professors and a dude off the street) saved New York City. This summer, a new team will answer the call.
Feig said his film will have no connection with the original movies. Misdirection has been done before. Remember Star Trek: Into Darkness? Obviously someone at the editing room knows otherwise. Why make references to the classic 80’s film at all? Does that trailer editor know something that this director is fibbing about? When considering the canon and established lore, ever since the incident with Vigo the Carpathian of Moldavia, supernatural activity took a dive. The ghosts of the past are buried, and there’s no need for paranormal investigators to put a cage on the spirits who decided to linger about. They pose no threat!
Enter Ghostbusters the Video Game (available on multiple platforms, like the Playstation 3 on Amazon), which is officially considered a continuation of this universe. Here, the team are now official city contractors and are training new recruits so their operation can branch out to other cities. Walter Peck, now head of the Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission, is a continued nuisance and museum curator Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn discovers the architect who designed the building that Gozer landed on, had a grander plan. Ivo Shandor also created the network of tunnels to channel ectoplasmic slime through the city that was used by Vigo. Ivo returned as a ghost to assume Gozer’s place but as with any cheery eyed marshmallow giant who must explode, the plans have to be put to rest.
I can see how Feig’s version can continue from the originals. Since then, perhaps all the ghosts have no purpose anymore. This detail explains why some spirits are just lingering about in the trailer, whereas others (influenced by some mind control) are attacking mortals. Because of all the collateral damage that’s taken place, perhaps Peck has forced the original team to disband and discredited them. In the trailer, the one lingering image of the classic logo in the subway suggests that old team is not forgotten.
Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddemore now live under new names (explaining their appearance in Feig’s version despite earlier reports of them making cameos as other characters) and when a new team takes up the call, their cameos exist to endorse their activities since they cannot do anything about it since the Feds are still after them.
As the trailer explains, this new team is fighting someone who is releasing new ghosts into the city. Ghostbusters can’t be ghostbusters without Slimer, and whether or not he’s the one and only depends on how much of a presence he will be in this movie. As Professor Erin Gilbert intones, “Someone is creating a device that amplifies paranormal activity, and we might be the only ones who can stop it.”
The dialogue sounds very familiar, harking to the first film, but the tell-all is in the sequence where they meet a ghostly curator. The screen suggests a library or museum. Is Feig’s movie a shot-by-shot copy of the original? Some enthused fans may argue there’s plenty of homage to the first film, much like how Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a copy of A New Hope, but why bother when this movie is supposed to be a reboot? I’m only slightly annoyed at one scene where the team is in New York’s Times Square. The scene where one spirit moves towards the camera to become a ghost feels ripped right of Raiders of the Last Ark climatic moments when the guardians of the chest decide it’s best to wipe out the Nazis.
One curious detail that is not answered in the trailers but may in the movie is why the ghosts are either blue or green. Could their colour be an indicator of their aggressiveness? There’s no rhyme or reason as the spirits can be silver like in Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction. If red phantoms exist, the Scooby Doo gang really must cameo in addition to the originals! The blue spectres seem to be the truly aggressive ones.
The same old jokes will no doubt be used. This film looks like it’s going to be updated for the Millennial and CGI generation to enjoy. The original film’s trailers and the movie itself inspired me to be a paranormal investigator. This new one does nothing at all. In the scene where Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) encounters a spirit in the subway, I cannot help but be reminded of the scene when Zeddemore gets a ghost train blasting through him!
The lingering sense of creepiness from the past films are certainly gone. This movie wants to play every supernatural moments for laughs and spectacle instead of being scary. The original films always had that sense of unease which I enjoyed. Even the video game captured that feeling. Watching this trailer is like watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on an acid trip. There’s no frights to be found. It will fly for some but for others, this film deserves to be squashed. I’ll be waiting for a cheap Tuesday to see it, should I desire to see if my theory ring true.