Over the weekend, I saw the gender-swapped Ghostbusters remake. Here’s what I thought about it:
It was meh. It was okay.
Why, do you ask? Is it because of the gender-swapping in particular that causes me to lower my esteem of the movie? Surely the answer must be that I am somehow okay with all the TMNT sequels and Transformers sequels after the first one, but a female Ghostbusters is a bridge too far?
…er, no. And don’t call me Shirley. First of all, I haven’t bothered to see any TMNT movie after the third one, or any live-action Transformers movie after the first one. Second, and more importantly, not only did I not think the gender-swapping ruin the movie (let alone my childhood), but I actually think that it was a great thing and more franchises would benefit from it! That’s not where I thought the movie fell flat. Here’s where I thought it did:
- -Some of the jokes felt forced, even when I was laughing at them. I never felt like it was a laugh-out-loud riot. Then again, humor is subjective so your mileage may vary.
- -The movie did not feel authentic to New York City. Whereas the Original Ghostbusters felt like a science fiction comedy in a real New York City, this movie felt like a science fiction comedy in a Californian’s idea of New York City, especially someone who has never lived or even been to New York City. For instance, the character Erin says her name is “Erin, with an E”. If you come from the Northeast United States, there is a difference in pronunciation between “Erin” and “Aaron”, so the “with an E” wouldn’t even be necessary. Another example is how Patty Tolan (i.e. Leslie Jones character, a.k.a. the black one) works as a Subway Booth Clerk yet has clearance to go down to the tracks. Anyone who has ever lived in NYC can tell you that Subway Booth Clerks never, ever go down to the tracks. They don’t have clearance to do so and it’s far too dangerous. A third example, which has been pointed out by a lot of people, is that the Ghostbusters were eating Papa Johns when there are much better options for pizza in NYC. Granted, the first TMNT movie had similar product placement with Domino’s Pizza, but that had a better explanation (or just an explanation) in that the pizza was late so the Turtles had to reduce how much they were going to pay the delivery man, implying that it was their best option to save money in NYC (a lot of things don’t make sense in that movie but bear with me). All of this gave me to the impression that the people who were being paid to know NYC in the movie (and I don’t mean Patty Tolan or Leslie Jones) failed to do their jobs.
- -How I felt about the ending was like how many people felt about Mighty No. 9 (but not me): They tried to do something different to differentiate it from the original, but it ended up making me feel underwhelmed.
Note: I haven’t commented on the possible racism in the movie because I’m white. If you are a person of color, your opinion matters more (or at all) because you actually deal with racism in ways I don’t. So that’s why I will reserve judgment until I hear people of color debate on it (unless the opinion is near unanimous in some direction).