Friday, 4 March 2016

Is it the Wiig or the hat?

https://youtu.be/w3ugHP-yZXw
Been biting my tongue on this one, but if the rare response to yesterday's second teaser for the upcoming Ghostbusters suggests anything, it's that the business of remaking, or even revisiting a classic film is no less a barefoot hot coal walk than it has been since, well, ever.

According to local legend, actual legend Dan Aykroyd has been spearheading a third flick in the rightfully-popular Ghostbustin' cinema series for decades. And why not? The first installment was unmistakably for the time capsule; its sequel, for the most part, successfully recaptured that proton stream in a bottle a second time around. The-then burgeoning franchise even managed to spawn a very well-written and received cartoon show, still fondly recalled by yours truly. Like the characters' albeit fictional business in the film itself, from a marketing standpoint alone, Ghostbusters clearly has legs.

In all fairness, the trailer opens well, with some suitably haunting piano chords evoking a wonderful nostalgia, only to be unraveled by some truly dunderheaded title cards that seem only to muddle the single biggest question, certainly peaking my curiosity, surrounding the film, itself - is this a soft, or hard reboot? At the moment, it seems more likely to be the latter, but who can tell?

Of course, the heady notion of a new band of busters isn't anything new. A plethora of intriguing names have been broached over the years as being potential, box office-satisfying accompaniments to the original cast. Though, the very thought of injecting some new blood into the troupe always seemed to be dependent on the (other) Fab Four in some way either passing on the torch, or serving as fun, 'Spock Prime'-like mentors, throughout.

Instinctively, given all those carefully-crafted, warm, fuzzy feelings still effortlessly evoked by previous adventures with the professional paranormal investigators and eliminators, the very notion of adding to the pantheon seems potentially tricky, though certainly not impossible. In this respect, surely, it would be far more propitious a bet to simply play to the established cinematic universe's obvious strengths, and attempt to more naturally bridge/transition a new crew with the first? After all, as mentioned above, even with its galaxy-sized web of interwoven continuity, Star Trek managed to do so quite impressively, only a few years back, by the graceful inclusion of actor, Leonard Nimoy in a very welcome, key supporting role.

Cast-wise, this new ensemble all seem to be highly-capable, across the board. Most recently recalling her star-turn in, The Martian, Kristen Wiig in particular is a strong and reliably-humorous presence. Actor-by-actor, I have high hopes for this particular group casting, but as a unit, I also fail to see enough of the instantly-recognisable magic that made that first team so enduring; by this trailer's own admission, now three decades and counting.

The boxy, new Ectomobile doesn't exactly scream 'wow', either. Also, given the choice between these here CG ghoulies and their sadly outmoded, photo-chemical ancestors, my personal preference between these particular pair of palettes still remains as resolute as ever. Fan favourite Slimer is also clearly present, but one wonders why a single ghost would be named "Slimer", if practically all ghosts depicted herein 'slime' characters, also? Maybe this time around, they might actually refer to him as "The Onion Head", as first conceived.

AND WHILE I'M AT IT, the new ghost busting equipment... it feels too, for want of a better word, offensive.

The late, great Harold Ramis is on record saying how he once read an article where teachers and child psychologists were applauding the inaugural film's positive influence, as they suddenly found that kids weren't playing Cowboys & Indians anymore, but rather teaming up in the school yard to defend themselves from the great unknown. Now, it seems, we've got characters wielding (or, in at least one shot, tonguing) decidedly 'bad-ass'-looking proton pistols and grenade belts, and I can't help but feel that one of the original, most important messages has been lost, somehow. As a spooked seven-year-old, I didn't want to blast Pipes into a million strands of ectoplasm, I wanted to safely and securely entrap him within the thrumming, fire-engine-red, Ecto Containment Unit where he belonged.

That said(!), I'm sure the chances are, anybody who hasn't yet seen the original will no doubt get a kick out of this newfangled endeavor when it soon opens in theatres. For me, thus far, I just can't shake the feeling that a more balanced, or perhaps upfront, presence by the original cast, with of course the very sad exception of Harold, could have made for an even more inclusive and thrilling adventure. Well, for me, at least. Considering the profoundly negative response this (admittedly, first look) teaser appears to have conjured, I also can't help but wonder if an even more unique concept may have more effectively allowed its latest, talented contributors to shine, even brighter.

Prove me wrong, NewBusters. I promise, I won't mind if you do. x

1 comment:

  1. "4 scientists" ??! I always thought of them as 3 scientist and guy after a 'steady paycheck'...

    ReplyDelete