Monday, July 11, 2016

I Ain't 'Fraid

Reviews of the new Ghostbusters film are coming out, and they're mixed.  We'll know this weekend how the people vote, but even before its release, the remake has received a lot of hatred.  And its defenders claim it's due to sexism.

I think you can oppose the concept of the film without being sexist.  Classic comedies--and I include the original in that group--are made through alchemy.  Some magical process where everything lines up just right.  Trying to replicate it with a new cast seems pointless, regardless of sex. For that matter, even a sequel--which we got with the original cast--is a bad idea.

The concept of trying it again seems even worse when you realize so much of what worked in the original was built around Bill Murray.  Murray was, and is, a unique character.  Imagine someone trying to remake a W.C. Fields comedy.

Some of the reviews are saying odd things, perhaps bent out of shape by the controversy.  In Variety, Peter Debruge writes the film doesn't really work, being a retread of the first, but still, it's "funnier and scarier" than the original. Come again?  If the film is funnier, then I'd have to call that a true success.

Odder, David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter calls it an "unfunny mess," but still takes people to task for all the hostility. Of course, he does believe a female Ghostbusters was a "promising idea" so I'm not sure if we can trust his judgment.

Anyway, the film will be opening in a few days and all this discussion will be academic.  I'll probably check it out.  I'm skeptical, but I still want it to be good.  And when it comes to comedy, I have an open mind--laughter isn't something you can fake (at least not to yourself).


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