Author: jael bartnik | Multimedia Editor
The all-female cast kicks ass, despite dude bro distain.
Quick disclaimer: If you want to get your weeney dude bro boxers in a twisted knot over how the new Ghostbusters film isn’t going to be as good because the main characters are women and not men, please don’t read this article. It will further increase the massive sexist bro wedgey that is festering in your backside.
Considering the new Ghostbusters film is out in theatres, I decided to do a compare and contrast of the old and the new. This won’t be your standard film review, but more of a necessary comparison of the two.
First, I watched the original and of course all those warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia came back. But looking past the nostalgia factor, the original Ghostbusters (1984) was pretty good. Who can forget that signature soundtrack and the memorable logo that graced the opening credits? Costume and set were interesting, the characters each had their own quirks, and of course, the special effects for its time were pretty convincing. At least I remember being terrified when Sigourney Weaver’s character gets pulled into her glowing refrigerator, and I damn well know some of you were terrified by the giant gargoyle dogs! There was a playful balance between scary and light-heartedness that made the film enjoyable.
But, the film gave off a distinctly “boys only” feeling. Despite having female characters incorporated into the storyline, they didn’t really occupy any positions of power or authority and were also subject to most of the Ghostbusters shenanigans. There is also a moment when the secretary makes a comment about needing more assistance by which Bill Murray’s character jokingly responds that she could go and find a job cleaning houses or waitressing, implying that this job is as good as she’s going to get so quit complaining. Also, Peter Venkmen was pretty distinctly hitting on one of his experiment subjects at the beginning of the film. Pretty sure I’m not the only person who was kind of weirded out by that. I do realize that there is a time period excuse and probably reasons that folks will use to justify this dated form of mildly sexist comedy, but then again, you’d be justifying it rather than addressing the actual problem.
In comparison, the new film makes great strides in making a comedy that is inclusive to women and questions race, gender-norms, and sexuality, and makes light of different male archetypes that perpetuate a patriarchal hierarchy. It even addresses gate keeping in academia with the Dean (played by Charles Dance, aka Tywin Lanister) and the obstacles that women face when attaining tenure and being taken seriously in an academic setting.
Another thing the movie makes light of is the venom and malice that men leave in comment sections to shame women through social media. The new Ghostbusters includes cameos from some of the original cast, such as Dan Aykroyd, who produced the film, and Bill Murray. Even Sigourney Weaver makes an appearance at the very end and Slimer, the silly green ghostly glob is incorporated into the film.
With all of the original gadgets and a plethora of new ghosts that spread slime throughout the city, not only did the new Ghostbusters do the original justice, but it made the franchise more inclusive without losing any of the edge in it’s jokes or the nostalgia points earned. Wait, does that mean it’s possible to be funny and not further marginalize folks based on gender, sexual orientation, or race? Yeah, actually! You can. And also while blowing up the Stay Puffed Marshmallow man and ghostly pilgrims. So allow me to ask you one question: Who ya gonna call?