Yesterday, my wife and I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie. I’ve grown accustomed to present-day remakes and ‘reboots’ being a disappointment, but in that respect, the new version did well. The characters fit the story, and the story flowed well. I was entertained. To its credit, the movie contemplates aspects of the Ghostbusters story that the original skipped, like the characters’ pasts, and the development of the tools.
To be sure, the movie turns, like most modern remakes, on overwrought computer-enhanced visuals rather than dialogue. It has its funny moments, but lacks the sparkle and wit of the original. I waited in vain for someone to say something like, “When someone asks if you’re a god, you say ‘YES!’!” The scenes set in the subway were a bit lame, as well: I used to work for the outfit, and know how things are supposed to work. But on the whole, I was enjoying myself, so these are minor quibbles.
What’s more distressing is in the details, where we see how the world has changed in the last 30 years. It isn’t that the Ghostbusters are women this time around: it’s that they don’t know to call themselves ‘Ghostbusters’ until someone on television calls them that. The original Ghostbusters entered the trade to ‘get rich,’ i.e. to make a productive living: the new ones don’t worry about that. And the relationship between the Ghostbusters and the government is different: in the original, the Ghostbusters are left alone until an EPA bureaucrat decides they may be harming the environment; in the new version, they’re called before the Mayor before anything really happens, and are told to go about their business, even though they will be denounced as a fraud.
It’s a pleasant entertainment for a Saturday afternoon, but, alas, you can’t go home again.