Calling the new Ghostbusters movie “self aware” is putting it mildly. It’s a fun filled vessel of smack in the face contemporary relevance. Not that it attempts to be political or self righteous; that’s exactly what it doesn’t do. It carries a message without being overly smart or witty, it just is what it is: a lighthearted action comedy about four women hunting ghosts. It’s exactly what it was back in the 1980s. It’s not trying to be hip and edgy, it’s not trying to be soulless hommage to it’s predecessor nor a satirical take on it.
Ghostbuster is what a Ghostbusters would be like if it never existed before and was made today without the source material. Apart from the basic formula it is entirely original and effortlessly holds its own as a proper popcorn flick, perfect for sleepovers and Halloween parties. So much better than Jurassic World, that had lean heavily on winks and references to its 1993 forerunner. I can only a imagine how flat and disconnected it must have felt to children that never saw the original. Unfortunately, Ghostbusters is getting flak from a whole different type of “kids”.
Rarely did a movie create so much controversy just because of its lead characters. The four titular ghost hunters are women. And apparently this is a problem for a lot of adult men that grew up with the old movies and feel it as if this “ruins their childhood”. I’m not even going to sum up everything wrong with that; but let me shine some light on a particular aspect of that strange behaviour. Ghostbusters, regardless if you talk about this version or the older ones or the cartoon series, is not a movie that takes itself very seriously. And neither should you. People mistake the nostalgia factor for some sort of intellectual value. And that is hugely out of place and unnecessary.
Ghostbusters is a silly comedy movie about four adults in jumpsuits hunting ghosts by shooting energy beams at them. This is hilarious and fun and endearing and everyone should love it. It was fun thirty years ago and it’s fun now. And that’s also the reason that the new movie was made: it’s fun and people love it. The 2016 Ghostbusters movie wasn’t made to piss off men, to function as a display case for third wave feminism. It wasn’t made to show how bad the old movies were and how good and smart we are today.
It wasn’t made to do that, but it is a product of its time and it shows us what a silly, light hearted horror comedy looks like in 2016. It has four women in it because it can. It pokes fun at abusive YouTube comments, viral videos and passive-aggressive Redditors. It has Chris Hemsworth in it as dumb pretty boy and a quirky woman scientist that flirts with other female characters. Because that’s how we roll these days.
So did I watch Ghostbusters glued to the screen, enchanted by its thrilling scenes and brilliant dialogue? Nah. Was I theorising about the rich lore and the complex philosophical themes for days on end? Of course not. I enjoyed Ghostbusters, I had fun and I wasn’t being a petty sexist man child complaining about a movie being different then it was in 1984.