Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ghostbusters Debate - Opinion and a Half

They are the opinions no one requested, but everyone can't seem to stop talking about. And the focus is on the 'Ghostbusters' reboot.

By now it is safe to assume that Hollywood is scared to take chances on new content. The landscape for movies has changed to focus on licensing pre-existing material that has held success in the past, or on producing sequels, to ensure success for the future. Which makes no sense to me, but there you have it. Of the top 10 movies in the U.S. in 2015, based on box office ticket sales, only one was an original script. 'Inside Out.' In 2014, none of the top 10 movies came from original material. Before you try to argue, 'Big Hero 6' is based off a Marvel comic of the same name. Scroll down through the top 25 and you may see a lot of of sequels and books turned films, and little else.

It's becoming a depressing trend that almost no original content is seen in Hollywood these days. If it's not from a book, it's coming from a comic book, or it's a reboot of a film franchise looking to squeeze out a few extra dollars from ticket holders while it can.

So what does all of this have to do with 'Ghostbusters?' When the reboot was announced, it became a huge point of contention for a lot of fans. This wasn't like 'Jurassic World' which moved the franchise forward into a new direction. This isn't a prequel or a sequel. This is a full on reboot of a really great 1980's action/comedy film that was quite successful.

The A.V. Club has a great article about fandom, and how it's influencing the future of movies (and not in a good way). But it got me thinking about 'Ghostbusters' as a fan. Yes I love that movie. I would watch it as often as I could. Who didn't like Slimer and the hijinks of the cast? And the theme song will live on in infamy. You will hear it on an 80's radio station once a day - it's a guarantee.

But I don't think the A.V. Club article fully addressed all of the fans concerns. They hit the nail on the rise of nerdy culture and social media, and how the two are now transforming the way Hollywood looks at producing movies, by utilizing those comments to create films that people will spend money on. Yet a big reason that some of us don't want a reboot of 'Ghostbusters' is because there was no reason to do it. At all. And the media has been constantly overlook this point to focus on an all female cast and repeating the story line.

The movie was great as it was. Why do we need to tell the same story again? It's been done. Game over. Finished. There is no reason at all to re-tell it with different characters. It would be like taking 'The Shining,' 'Apocalypse Now,' or 'Blade Runner' and rebooting it with new actors but the same ol' story line. All fantastic films that have shaped film history in their own way - and should never be touched for reboots. Ever.

To note, I have no problem with women leading the 'Ghostbusters' film. What I have a problem with is the studio rebooting it when there didn't need to be one. If they wanted to make it a prequel or a sequel, okay. Alternate universe? I could buy that, sure. If this was a passing of the torch to a new generation of Ghostbusters, that's fine. But rebooting the original? No. I draw the line there. This is why I will never watch the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' reboot. The original movie was just fine the way it was. I know the story is slightly different, but not enough to convince me to watch it. Leave old films alone, Hollywood.

While we may not know the full story specifics, and there are some small changes from the first story, much of the content we have seen in trailers and interviews have been very reminiscent of original film. Comic Book Girl 19 posted a fantastic overview on why some of us are just not into the new Ghostbusters. And her point centers around the concern I have: there was no reason to reboot the original. It did very well at the box office, even by 2016's standards when adjusted for inflation. It's not pushing the franchise forward, but holding it back from exploring new possibilities.

New things are great.

But that may be too much to ask for at this point. It's clear by the ticket holders that they are wanting to pay money for prequels, sequels, books/tv/gaming movies, and reboots. So they will keep seeing them until they stop paying. So to audiences everywhere I implore you to stop spending your money on rebooted films and sequels. They are littering and the landscape and not allowing for creativity to blossom. We all have the willpower within us to keep our wallets closed. Look at how many of us held off on giving 'The Force Awakens; spoilers on social media. We can do it. So lets! I'm all for more original, creative content in Hollywood. How about you?

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