It seems I have been waiting for this film my entire life. Okay, maybe not this film. But a film where a group of badass women (and I say women, not girls) conquer the screen without a sniff of testosterone.
When I found out I remember being so pumped that I announced it to my office ‘pals’, totally forgetting I was supposed to be working at that point. Although I’m not a major fan of the original (the humour doesn’t quite hit me), I could tell that this was going to be something new and refreshing and I couldn’t hide my excitement.
Sadly, my view wasn’t shared by everyone. I was in the cinema watching something or other and the Ghostbusters trailer came on. Naturally I was enthralled but in the fleeting silence between the end of this trailer and the start of the next, someone shouted (in a man’s voice) ‘SHIT’. Now I knew that the film wasn’t the most popular but this genuinely shocked me. I’ve been going to the cinema weekly for years (still haven’t got a life yet) and have never encounted anything like this before. Was it because a nostalgic generation wanted to hold onto their original gem? Or was it just the utter refusal to see these classic characters replaced by females?
On social media streams the film was torn apart by self-made sexist critics who labelled it as lazy while openly stating that the Ghostbusters were MEN, grr. I suppose it’s something we’re beginning to consider (and in my opinion, challenge) a lot more these days with stale characters continuing to thrive. Take, James Bond. Will I ever see an actor casted who isn’t a white, British man? Probably not. Spider-man is another good example. In the past few years I’ve seen three actors portray Spidey. All of them white American men. Surely it would shake things up a little bit to change up the original script. I mean each film doesn’t follow the comic or book scene by scene so why should a minor detail such as the actor make a difference? As long as the character traits (in Spidey’s case a teenager) remain the same does it REALLY matter what the character looks like?
Anyway, back to the less scary stuff. Ghostbusters. So Paul Feig decided to cast four diverse women, ignoring all the roars from the original fanbase and those who couldn’t give a crap about the franchise but jumped on board just to air their primitive views. Let’s be honest, why wouldn’t Feig want to work with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy again? If their previous films are anything to go by, surely anyone would jump at the chance. And having Kate McKillon and Lesley Jones on board too is a match made in heaven.
Feig and the gang sent out a big ‘fuck you’ with the message that women can be successful scientists too and guess what? They did it all by their oestrogen-packed selves.
In films, nine times out of ten (possibly more) even successful women need the help of a man somewhere along the way and that’s what makes this film so important. It may not have the most vivid plots or funniest gags, but it gives little girls everywhere four diverse female role models to admire. Ghostbusters allows little girls to dream big and aspire to more than marriage.
Holtz is a perfect example of this. Played by McKinnon (who is just as animated as her character), Holtz is a true basass and the idol I desperately needed growing up. She’s a tomboy, quirky, clever and a little odd all at once. She’s perfect. At first, I didn’t quite know what to make of her curious glares and unusual quips, but by the time she was licking her ghost-zapping gun I conceded. This is the type of character we need to see more of on screen. This is the princess I needed growing up. Not everybody fits into society’s classification of ‘normal’ and that’s a bloody good thing.
Patty (Lesley Jones) is equally as entertaining. Her stark humour resonates and it’s great to see such a down-to-earth female dominating the screen. It’s worth mentioning that Jones is also an absolute diamond in real life too.
For the first film I’ve seen in forever, there were four women and not one needed the help of a man. The only downside comes in the shape of Kevin. But to me, this is a backlash at the long tradition of the sheer ridiculousness of throwing a dopey female assistant into a film to get a few laughs. Yes Kevin is unbelievably stupid and yes Erin (Wiig) sees him as a piece of meat and I’m not entirely sure whether fighting fire with fire is the right move, but this is clearly Feig and the writers pointing the finger to the past. Does it make you angry? Good. Now you know how we feel.
Overall, the plot didn’t quite live up to my expectations and it’s not really that credible as we never seen the character’s lives outside the main plot. I over hyped it and the sense of humour was a little off at times – maybe it was aimed at a more American audience or maybe I’m being selfish and just forgetting that the film’s primary audience is children, but I’m cool with that. Move over *everysuperheroever, these girls and boys just got a new role model.
The industry needed this film. Women needed this film, because heaven forbid male roles get passed into the hands of women, like they’d actually be capable of pulling it off. Well they smashed it. Women in boiler suits striding into battle? I’ll take that over a dress any day.