Ghostbusters (2016) – Official Trailer #1 (REACTION)
I’m not going to beat around the bush with this reaction here; this trailer has bombed online. The notoriously hard-to-please online audience were already out for blood before this trailer debuted whether it was out of devotion to the original 1984 horror/comedy classic, or out of a general hatred to the creative team’s decision to make this an all-female cast.
And just to clarify, there is plenty wrong with the trailer, but I’ve seen so many comments, tweets and forum posts over the past 12 hours which are just straight-up woman-hating with smatterings of racism thrown in there. Knock that off, internet.
But when you take a step back and look at the trailer for what it is…yeah, it is a heavily flawed trailer but I don’t think it’s an outright failure. It has a couple of funny jokes, the ghost-designs are striking, the iconic props from the original just leap off the screen and look as great as your childhood memories deemed them to be and…yeah, Kate McKinnon looks absolutely awesome here.
But there are also a lot of issues present here which are probably only confined to the trailer, but still need to be fixed with future trailers and marketing material. For one, what are the personalities of the four Ghostbusters? Melissa McCarthy, famous for her outrageous personalities on-screen and physical comedy feels phenomenally restrained here, almost to the point where she seems to have no personality. Kristen Wiig has fierce dramatic and comedic range but here seems reduced to…just a scientist. Leslie Jones comes across as “just black”, especially when she’s the only one of the group who doesn’t know science but is relying on her street smarts as well as her “HELL NAW!” towards the end. It also doesn’t help we only get two shots of Chris Hemsworth and he never says a word.
That’s probably why Kate McKinnon comes across so well in this trailer by comparison. Because even though she gets relatively little dialogue here, her personality is apparent through her mannerisms, her expressions and her few actions. She’s the live-wire, the funky hipster of the group with a knack for mechanics and an adoration for what she makes.
We also have an issue with how the trailer opens which is flat-out bizarre. This 2016 reboot is, for all intents and purposes, an out-of-continuity reboot where the events of the 1984 movie never happened. Yet this trailer opens by recalling those events and the wording of the on-screen text insinuates that those events did happen in this universe and that this reboot is a sequel, even though we know that it isn’t. That’s just going to confuse everybody and it opens the trailer on a sour note.
I also think that one issue with the marketing of this reboot is that the original movie crossed numerous genres. We had horror and comedy but there were also many action beats and moments of off-kilter romance. That movie is so broad and nailed that genre-hopping so well that it means different things to different people. This trailer had to hit those demographics at the same time if it wanted to make a positive impact all-around and judging from the online reaction it failed to do that. Part of that feels like director Paul Feig may not be right for this material. Feig’s “hook” as a comedic director is taking entire genres and gender-swapping them to prove that women comedians can be just as funny as male comedians and that approach worked really well with a wedding movie (‘Bridesmaids‘), buddy-cop films (‘The Heat‘) and spy flicks (‘Spy‘) but with ‘Ghostbusters‘, he’s not adapting a genre, he’s adapting an established franchise. A highly original and beloved 80s one to boot.
So in this trailer there’s not a lot of comedy and action and they feel very separate from one-another instead of being solid companions. Hopefully the final movie can find the right balance and marketing a movie like that is not easy. But maybe a good marketing team can make it work. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Sony.
And Sony is the final key to the puzzle here and is the final reason why I think this trailer bombed as hard as it did. Over the past year, I’ve noticed their trailers have had incredibly similar templates. The voice-over that never winds up in the final movie (not to mention being flatly performed and monotone), the product-placement that they insist has to be in the movies AND the trailers (the shot at 1:47 OPENS on a big Blu-Ray and Revlon billboard in Times Square) and the obligatory line saying “We might be the only ones who can stop it”.
Seriously, every live-action blockbuster trailer Sony has put out recently has included a line like that. In ‘Goosebumps‘ we have “We’re the only ones who can do this“, in ‘Pixels‘ we have “We’re the only ones who can do this!“, in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘ we have “I’m the only one who can stop them” and now we have ‘Ghostbusters‘ with “We might be the only ones who can stop it“.
Seriously, check out those four above links. Those links will take you straight to those lines in the trailer to save you having to find them for yourselves. I’m certain there are more, but hopefully you get the picture.
It’s clear that the marketing team at Sony are working from a pre-established template when it comes to cutting trailers (it would explain why so many of their movies come across as products as opposed to actual movies). They have an incredibly predictable formula and when that is applied to something as beloved and varied as ‘Ghostbusters‘ while simultaneously being involved in marketing a movie that is notoriously difficult to market that corners of the internet went in WANTING to hate…and couple that with a trailer that wasn’t all that good to begin with despite not being an outright flop, it created a perfect storm of a badly received trailer that may actually kill all the hype and goodwill it had going for it.
I am rooting for this movie because I like the talent on board and I don’t want this movie to suck because it’ll be used as a sexist punching bag for the next decade and I don’t want to be a witness to that. But while I have seen much worse trailers recently, this one just didn’t do it for me. But my fingers are firmly crossed. I wanted to say that this trailer came and saw and kicked ass but…really, it just wound up being really ho-hum and mediocre.
‘Ghostbusters‘ (2016) will be released in the U.K. and the U.S. on July 15th 2016.
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Posted: 4th Mar 16