So it's official - the next Ghostbusters film will be a reboot and it will star an all female cast. Since the announcement, there has been much consternation online and, of course, the old feminist debate has reared its head again with a backlash against the news. This aside though, what about the merits of the actual reboot itself?
I'm a huge Ghostbusters fan. As a child of the 80s, I loved the cartoons and the films. One of my fondest memories is visiting my cousin's house and being able to play with her Ghostbusters proton pack as we pretended we were ghost busting around her house. Yes, two little girls playing Ghostbusters. So there's no problem in my mind with an all female cast but director Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold simply need to get it right, which is easier said than done.
Feig's directorial credits include the comedy hit Bridesmaids and the questionable female cop comedy The Heat, whilst Dippold is a writer on Parks and Recreation. I'm a huge Parks fan but I simply just did not get the Bridesmaids 'fandom'. Most fans I spoke to about the film always mention 'that' scene with Maya Rudolph's character Lilian defecating in the street in a wedding dress. You know what? It wasn't that funny. It was obvious toilet humour dressed up in a white dress and the stereotypical female friendships were painful to watch. Buy, hey, that's my opinion. I just wasn't a fan and I didn't relate to any of the characters or the writing. For some, it was groundbreaking female comedy, for me though, it perpetuated needy female stereotypes.
Parks on the other hand is brilliantly written, particularly the female characters; Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is strong and hilariously neurotic, whilst April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) is wonderfully weird with a soft underbelly. Dippold has written these women as interesting people, moving away from the usual comedy typecasting.
And so this is my hope for the next Ghostbusters film. If this reboot is going to work, we need great characters that speak to a modern audience. It's important to remember this is a reboot so we must look at the film with fresh eyes and open minds. There is a wealth of brilliant actresses to potentially cast; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have been obvious choices since the news broke but looking beyond the usual pool of comedic actresses it would be good to see Kaitlin Olsen (It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia)'s name in the mix. Gillian Anderson has come out recently and said she'd love to be cast and I can see her as playing the straight role to any potentially wackier characters. Then there are actors like Paul Rudd, Will Forte, Rob Corddry and even Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement whom I could see playing brilliant odd ball supporting roles.
Having said this, I'm still skeptical. I just don't think we need a Ghostbusters reboot and it's not because of an all female cast or because I'm being a 'reboot curmudgeon' but simply because I'm getting 'reboot fatigue'. Ghostbusters worked in the 80s because it was very much a film of its time - the soundtrack, the cartoon, the toys, the iconic casting of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and co... I fear what we'll be presented with now is a modern, glossy 3D mess starring the usual go tos (Sandra Bullock for example).
I did enjoy reboots like Dredd 3D, Man of Steel and even Predators because they remained somewhat true to their origins yet had a modern edge but I can literally count the number of reboots I've enjoyed in recent times on one hand.
So, will Ghostbusters stand up today? Only time will tell but if the reboot ends up being Bridesmaids dressed up in Ghostbusters uniforms, I'll be sorely disappointed. It's going to be delicate balancing act of a well written script, good casting and superb direction to get this one right.