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Reviews Comments: Insultingly bad Ghostbusters 2016 film/book review by Dreadjaws

I\'m never been a big fan of Ghostbusters. I liked the original two films, but they don\'t mean as much to me as BTTF or Jurassic Park. When a reboot was announced, I was barely interested but cautiously optimistic. When an all-female cast was announced I called \"gimmick\", but I was fine with it... until the filmmaking team decided that if I wasn\'t interested in the film, I was a sexist pig. Despite this, I decided to give the film a chance, but in home video, way after the controversy had ended and I had forgotten the fact that the director had decided my decades of respecting women meant nothing unless I watched his movie.

I watched the extended cut, since I figured it wouldn\'t deal with much studio interference and would get rid of plot holes, as they tend to do. After watching it, I can\'t for the life of me understand the positive reviews. Is the extended version somehow making the movie worse? Did it ADD plot holes and REMOVE character development? Did it remove jokes and replaced them with real estate ads?

Despite not liking films like, say, Grown-ups or Pixels, I understand their appeal. But I can\'t understand this film\'s. Saying the characters are one-note is being generous. The character I thought I\'d hate the most, Patty, turns out to be the closest this movie has to an actual human being. On the other side of the spectrum there\'s Kevin, easily the worst character not just from this film, but from the entire year. He\'s too stupid to be realistic. His cartoonish idiocy just doesn\'t fit the setting. He\'d be out of place in a Goofy cartoon, let alone here. Then there\'s Holtzman, who I can\'t in good conscience call a \"character\". She\'s merely a collection of unrelated scenes that happen to star a person who always looks the same. She doesn\'t have anything I can honestly call a \"personality\". A shame, as she looked the most promising.

The villain has one line of dialogue in the way of motivation, spoken to himself, and once he acquires powers through unexplained means, he never uses them in ways that would actually benefit him. He can possess people, but he doesn\'t try to use subtle ways to take advantage of this. He possesses Mc Carthy\'s character. Does he then jump off the window and changes bodies while she helplessly falls to her death? No, he starts to very visibly and noisily destroy random equipment while other two Ghostbusters are there to stop him. He can actually CONTROL people and uses this powers to make the army dance and then stay paralized. Does he uses this power with the Ghostbusters? NO! He doesn\'t even try and the film doesn\'t even try to handwave this by showing they had a way to counter this ability of his. He merely forgets he has it.

The plot is derivative. There are a bunch of subplots that are introduced and never followed through. I only laughed once, and the joke only worked because of the surprise, it\'s not funny a second time. If there\'s a sequel coming, I\'m not interested.

Comments

  • maninahat
  • 31st Dec 16
I could never understand why people feel maligned by criticisms clearly not aimed at them. Feig wasn't saying that anyone who hadn't seen Ghostbusters was sexist, he was calling out the legion of people who explicitly or implicitly said they won't watch the movie because it had women in it. If you didn't dismiss the movie because it had womz, then the insult isn't aimed at you.
  • Elmo3000
  • 31st Dec 16
Not that it makes your opinion of the film invalid, but you\'d have to subsist entirely on the most outrage-manufacturing YouTube videos to think that the filmmaking team decided you were a \'sexist pig\' for not wanting to see the film, or that \'the director had decided your decades of respecting women meant nothing unless you watched his movie\'.

Gives this review some ugly vibes.
  • marcellX
  • 31st Dec 16
@Elimo 3000

No, it goes more with the overdefensiveness of the film by the other side. The all women cast was announced and the sexist came fort (on that information alone). However once the trailer came out, and many didn't like it (because generally remakes are terrible and for them this didn't look like it was gonna be different) including many who were more than willing to give the film a chance, the director made blanquet statements about the dislike for the movie, in the same way that the director of Gods Of Egypt said that the people who didn't like it, didn't because of SJ Wing the white washing. Personally I don't even believe he has those views of the audience, just another director having a bad reaction to criticism. I mean there were several criticisms brought up by popular reviewers, yet the director only chose to focus time and time again on the sexism aspect.
  • Elmo3000
  • 31st Dec 16
I wouldn\'t call it \'overdefensiveness\' because there legitimately was a massive sexist backlash from some very horrible people.

For all these weird blanket statements I keep hearing about where the director apparently says that anyone who doesn\'t want to watch the movie is a sexist pig, I haven\'t actually seen any of them. And I\'ve looked pretty hard.
  • GKG
  • 28th Jul 17
And I personally haven't seen this "massive sexist backlash" that the apologists of this abortion of a movie have pretended happened. 99% of the backlash was for perfectly legitimate reasons, such as the fact that the trailer looked fucking awful.
  • maninahat
  • 28th Jul 17
What`s that I hear, you`ve never been on youtube?

But seriously, people have made hour long videos trying to argue that Ghostbusters in an inherently male story. They hacked one of the actor`s phones and released her private pictures, just to try to "get even". They review bombed the movie as soon as it came out on IMDB, weeks before it was even released in cinemas. Whilst people are generally negative about bad trailers and superfluous remakes (both the case for the new Ghostbusters), no other movie has ever faced such an exaggerated negative response (with the exception of the since released emoji movie) - bad looking movies breed indifference, not proactive hatedoms that try to harm the people who make them.
  • GKG
  • 28th Jul 17
I\'ve been on youtube, yes, and the the vast majority of criticism I saw of the new Ghostbusters was based on the thing\'s general quality. There was no \"massive\" sexist backlash, the same way that there was no \"massive\" backlash when the newest incarnation of the Doctor was revealed to be female. There was a limited backlash from a very vocal minority that was blown way the fuck out of proportion by online media for the sake of clicks: and y\'know, if Ghostbusters apologists are gonna try and pull the \"sexist backlash\" card, maybe they should look at the way their ilk treated James Rolfe when he said he wasn\'t going to review the movie, hmm? There\'s complete assholes everywhere.

Claiming a story is an inherently \"male\" one isn\'t sexist in itself, the same way as than saying that James Bond is an inherently \"male\" character isn\'t.

The reason the backlash got so big was because Sony (and Paul Feig) deliberately fanned the flames. They got what they deserved. The movie can\'t even pretend not to be mean-spirited, because it is, and it very deliberately insults what people liked about the original.

  • Elmo3000
  • 29th Jul 17
Yeesh. An actual \'The backlash was blown out of proportion; it was a very vocal minority of people who were actually sexist! *10 seconds later* It\'s not sexist at all to say that Ghostbusters is an inherently MALE story that just doesn\'t work with women!\' comment. I must have missed that bit in the original Ghostbusters film, the bit where they defeat the ghosts by virtue of having penises. But apparently it was quite vital.

You claim that Paul Feig and Sony were \'fanning the flames\' of hate, but then you also say that people were really mean to James Rolfe when he said he wasn\'t going to see it. If you go to YouTube and search \'James Rolfe Ghostbusters\', you will find dozens of videos by some of the shittiest people on the internet defending him from \'attacks\', and zero videos actually making attacks. So, whose fanning the flames again?

My favourite film of all-time is In Bruges, and if they remade it with all of the major roles being played by females, it would still be a fantastic movie. There\'s no reason why people should get so upset by female Ghostbusters.
  • GKG
  • 29th Jul 17
Reducing maleness and masculinity to simply having a penis is stupid. Whether you like it or not, some character dynamics generally work better with certain genders: hence my example of James Bond. And if you think that Ghostbusters was only ever about them "defeating the ghosts", then I don't think you really understand what people like about Ghostbusters. You know what people like about Ghostbusters? The fact that nerds were the heroes and weren't treated like shit. You know who the new Ghostbusters movie hates and treats like shit? Nerds.

https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/ghostbusters-reboot-movie-critic-refuses-to-review/

https://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/291025/ghostbusters-james-rolfe-cinemassacre/

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/05/18/the-soft-sexism-of-hating-on-the-new-ghostbusters

http://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2016/10/21/18644329/things-to-do-tonight "...James Rolfe—better known to gamers as the obnoxious You Tuber "The Angry Video Game Nerd," and better known to everyone else as one of the jackasses behind last spring's misogynist anti-Ghostbusters campaign."

These aren't just angry neckbeards posting on Reddit. These are people who got paid to write that garbage. Yes, there was plenty of nastiness being thrown at Rolfe. Defending Rolfe against these attacks isn't "fanning the flames", you are quite literally blaming the victim here.

Here's a humoristic but nonetheless quite accurate analysis of that whole situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWROBiX1eSc
  • Tuckerscreator
  • 29th Jul 17
if Ghostbusters apologists are gonna try and pull the "sexist backlash" card, maybe they should look at the way their ilk treated James Rolfe

Did James Rolfe get his phone hacked and get bombarded with tons of images targeting his family and photoshopping him onto gorillas? If not, then it's not comparable to what Leslie Jones was subjected to.

They got what they deserved.

"We're furious that Sony and Paul Feig and prominent media critics dismissed our opinions as sexism, therefore we will en masse attack... Leslie Jones, who had nothing to do their claims. That'll teach 'em!"
  • Elmo3000
  • 29th Jul 17
On the one hand, I want to be all respectful and stuff. On the other hand, your first paragraph is kind of just... sexism? Especially since we're talking about fiction. I'm not even on TV Tropes. I got bored and opened a dictionary and looked up 'sexism' and kapow, here I am. Ghostbusters doesn't work because some 'character dynamics' in the film are better suited for men. Like what? Which character dynamics, in a film primarily about a group of people fighting ghosts, work better with men than women; so much so that a work of fiction portraying women with these dynamics is automatically terrible?

Kind of weird that you think the new Ghostbusters treats nerds like shit. I thought the female characters were nerdy enough, but ya know, maybe that's just one of those male-only 'character dynamics' and all.

Honestly I didn't know there were that many articles on the James Rolfe thing so I'll concede that point. But I am not 'literally blaming the victim here' because if James is the victim, when did I blame him?

Also what makes you think a female James Bond wouldn't be awesome?
  • GKG
  • 29th Jul 17
James Rolfe got personally insulted and called a manbaby amongst shitton of other things. I'm not trying to go for a "both sides are equally as bad" argument here, but to imply that Ghostbusters apologists were absolutely spotless and extremely respectful is blatantly untrue and doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

For the record, I don't agree with the notion that Ghostbuster's character dynamics would only work with male characters, though I would argue that some of their traits as written wouldn't have as much of an impact if the genders were reversed. Egon's awkwardness makes him even MORE of a nerd because he's male: men are generally expected to be assertive and confident, and thus him not being either reinforces his nerdiness. It's archetypal for sure, but archetypes exist for the reason that they work as far as storytelling and characterization go. What I am simply saying is that considering some character dynamics as being more effective when gendered a certain way isn't in itself sexist.

The new Ghostbusters treats female nerds well (though I think the movie doesn't treat anyone well despite its best wishes, since the characters are barely, well, characters). Male nerds, as exemplified by the movie's main villain, are treated as stereotypical basement-dwellers: in fact, the movie's treatment of men is a thousand times worse than the original movie's treatment of women. Kevin is not an equal counterpart to Janine.

Sony and Paul Feig got what they deserved in the sense that the movie was a colossal flop and that they'll have a hard time living it down. I have no beef against the actors, they're merely doing their jobs and going after them is indeed inexcusable.

As for female James Bond... I'm not saying you couldn't have a successful and compelling female super-spy character on the big screen - hey, Atomic Blonde just came out, so you have an example of that in theaters right now. But there's more to James Bond than just "super-spy": he's very much an Escapist Character for straight men. Someone who, by all means, would be a despicable human being were he to actually exist. But he saves the world on a daily basis, he beds beautiful women by the dozen, he kills bad guys in exotic locations while delivering witty one-liners, and embodies masculine "cool" in almost all aspects of his character. Can real people actually be like that? No. Do real people dream they could do the same thing? Yes. As said before, it's escapism, it's harmless

There's a good reason why all of the Bond actors so far have fit into a fairly similar mold: tall, classically handsome, muscular, suave, deep-voiced (with one exception), and great-looking in a suit. That is a beauty ideal that a lot of men aspire to (and a lot of women desire, since he's consistently Mr Fanservice). You could take a lot of Bond's character traits and put them into a female character and it'd work fine, but it just wouldn't be James Bond anymore: the character can't just be boiled down to "super-spy". I'd be perfectly okay with a non-white Bond: as long as the actor pulls off the character, I'd be quite happy, actually.

TL;DR let the straight guys have their cool straight guy character to project themselves into and the straight women have their Mr Fanservice to ogle and swoon over. It's fine. Its existence doesn't threaten that of female super-spy characters, which I'm glad are starting to find more ground. The James Bond movies are enjoyable even if you don't find escapism in them, as they're generally well-made action flicks, but that escapism aspect makes them special. Yes, it's targeted escapism, but romantic comedies often are targeted escapism for women, too.
  • emeriin
  • 29th Jul 17
The original movie thought sexual harassment was hilarious. Kevin was precious.
  • Elmo3000
  • 29th Jul 17
Eh... you're explaining yourself without saying anything explicit but there's still a whole bunch of incredibly unfortunate implications with what you're saying. Like, you're being polite about it, but it's still very... a newspaper article in the 1970s (unless that newspaper is the Daily Mail, in which case, the 2010s) Or Davis Aurini. Stuff I took away from your comment:

a) Only men can be nerdy and awkward in films - it just doesn't work when women do it. Also, who is Ellen Page?

b) Having the main villain be a sort-of nerdy man is an attack on all nerds and all men.

c) James Bond has to be a straight man because straight men are completely unable to sympathise, empathise, or be entertained in any way by characters who aren't also straight men.

You're phrasing everything very politely but you still sound a bit like you're about to start complaining that the new Doctor Who is a woman.
  • GKG
  • 29th Jul 17
Kevin is a cartoon character. He doesn't work. Janine is smart and sassy and an essential cog of the Ghostbuster business. She feels like a person.

Elmo: You are being deliberately obtuse and your accusations are making me want to drop the politeness. You are comparing me to scum, and it offends me. Stop extrapolating my points and focus on what I AM ACTUALLY SAYING.

A) No. But being a nerdy man carries different connotation from being a nerdy woman.

B) Having the villain be a thinly-veiled Take That towards critics of the film and having most of the men in the movie be either malevolent, jerkish or cartoonishly idiotic does come close to being an attack on men, yes. The original movie wasn't that hateful. Fury Road also has most of the men in the movie being antagonistic, and yet it manages not to come across as mean-spirited for the simple reason that it did its job building the world in a way that makes perfect sense.

C) Did you even pay attention to my point about escapism? Of goddamn course straight men can empathize with characters that aren't exactly like them, the same way anyone can. You can get escapism from characters that are quite different from you. But not every character is an Escapist Character, and not every character provides the same kind of escapism for everyone. James Bond being the character that he is means straight men can very easily put themselves in his shoes and live vicariously through him. We wish we could do everything he does (including, yes, banging gorgeous women by the dozen) and get away with it like he does.

And you know what? That's fine. It's fine for James Bond or Indiana Jones to be an Escapist Character tailored specifically to straight men. That doesn't stop them from being entertaining to other demographics, of course - after all, a movie's a movie.

I'm fine with the new Doctor being a woman.

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