Ghostbusters & Paul Feig: frequently asked questions

Paul Feig has bitten back against some of the critics of his Ghostbusters film. We look at the arguments that keep coming up.

The golden rule we try and work by at Den Of Geek is never to judge a film until we’ve seen it. Sure, we may lob across the odd snarky comment here and there, but even Big Momma’s House 3 may have turned out to be a masterpiece. Upon seeing it, it turned out not to be, but the only way to be sure was to see the film. The continual attacks on the new Ghostbusters film, I’d argue, are bringing out some of the very worst in film debate. There is a debate to be had here too: is it right to reboot such a cherished older movie? Do the CVs of those involved suggest we’re going to get a good movie? Wouldn’t it be best if it was all just left as it was?

That, though, isn’t always the debate that’s being had. I’ve tried to round up all the key attacks on the film, and give answers based on what we know. The answers, given that none of us have seen the film yet, are often very short.

This film has ruined my childhood.  No it hasn’t.

Firstly, you haven’t seen it. Secondly, if a reboot of a movie franchise some 30 years after the original film has brought your childhood crashing down, then I’d argue – with genuinely no malice – that there may be other issues involved. The original films will still exist, too. The Blu-rays are excellent. Ivan Reitman has never gone all George Lucas on them either. I don’t want to see this film, so won’t watch it.  I genuinely think, if you hate the idea of remakes and reboots, this is the perfect response. If you don’t pay to watch such films, then they won’t make them. If you pay to watch original, standalone films, Hollywood will put more cash into them. The film is a piece of feminist propaganda.  It may turn out to be. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know. Paul Feig hates men.  I’ve interviewed him three times, and he was fine with me. I forgot to check if I’d packed my testicles that day, though. Or maybe it was the wig? This film is insulting to women.  It may turn out to be. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know. The movie is going to be terrible.  It may turn out to be. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know. This movie is sexist, and positive discrimination at its worst.  It may turn out to be. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know. Why are they making a Ghostbusters film with all women in it?  They’re not. There are men in the cast, too. Quite a lot of them. Some of them have speaking parts, I gather.

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But the four leads are women.Yes they are.

That’s just a gimmick, isn’t it?It may turn out to be. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know.

Paul Feig should just take the criticism. He’s paid enough.  He may well become very rich off the back of Ghostbusters. But I don’t believe that having money in the bank is justification for some of the vile abuse he’s been receiving. Some of the stuff he’s had to put up with I wouldn’t wish on Donald Trump. That’s saying something. Den Of Geek is only writing about this film because it gets good traffic.  Lord, I wish it did. It’s no Star Wars so far. In truth, if we wrote a list about the top 25 hot celebrities or something, it’d get a lot more. We’re writing about it because it’s a film that we’re interested in. A boring answer, certainly, but that’s the criteria. Feel free to give us lots more traffic, though. They’re just regurgitating old plots.  It may turn out that way. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know. They’ll remake Back to the Future with women next.  Doubt it.

Plus, the original Back to the Future trilogy has women in it. I don’t like Melissa McCarthy/Leslie Jones/Kate McKinnon/Kristen Wiig, so I won’t watch it.  Entirely fair. It’s your money. If you don’t like the work of the quartet mentioned, then spend it on people whose work you do like. An argument that’s impossible to rebut. There are better actresses they should have cast.  That may be so. But we’re not privy to who was on the shortlist, who turned roles down (Emma Stone has admitted she has), and who the characters in the film are. I love Emma Thompson, and would love to have seen her as a Ghostbuster personally. But if the right role isn’t on the page, there’d be little point shoehorning her into the movie. The casting is a gender gimmick.  I don’t know who the characters are, and I’ve not seen a frame of footage from the film. If it turns out to be a gimmick, that’s when we’ll know. Until then, in common with everyone putting this argument forward, I’ve not seen the film. I don’t need to see the film to know that it’ll be terrible.  Brilliant. It’s your money. My gut feeling is that the Point Break remake will be problematic. Might be wrong, though. I haven’t seen it. Everyone who doesn’t like the movie is just being called sexist.  No they’re not. A few are, but more often it seems that people who call out nasty criticisms are having this argument thrown back at them. People using sexism as a reason to hate the movie are being called sexist.

People who don’t like the movie because they don’t like the idea of a modern Ghostbusters film/the director/the cast etc aren’t being labeled as such on this site. There is also, in my view, a groundswell of people who are not enjoying being called out on sexist reasons for hating on the movie. On this site – given that our backend system shows us IP addresses of commenters too – a few of the most vociferous, sexist critics are posting anonymously, and using more than one username, to effectively debate with themselves in the same comments thread. We’ve seen that happen several times. If the film is garbage, will you eat your words?  If the film is garbage, we’ll give it a review that says its garbage, and put the original on to watch straight after. If we like it – and we’ve not made our mind up yet because we haven’t seen it – we’ll say we like it. That seems a fair deal. The filmmakers have no original ideas.  That may be so. But none of us have seen it yet, so we don’t know. There are legitimate concerns and criticisms, but we’re not allowed to voice them.  Of course you are. Lots of people have voiced perfectly fair concerns over a new Ghostbusters film on this site alone. They’ve proven that it’s possible to not like the idea, and be constructive at the same time. Paul Feig should put up with non-aggressive criticism.  Yes he should. I can’t see an example of where he hasn’t.

It won’t be as good as the original.  That’s probably so. But none of us have seen the new Ghostbusters yet, so we don’t know. Also, if we all stopped watching sequels and reboots that weren’t as good as the original, there wouldn’t be sequels and reboots anymore. People who defend this film are just mouthpieces for the studios.  Ah, the easy, cheap comeback. I’ve seen this a lot. People who defend this film, though, might just be people who’ll reserve their judgement until they’ve seen it. You’re just best friends with Paul Feig.  News to us. The jerk didn’t even send us a Christmas card if that’s the case. The best way for Paul Feig to shut everyone up is to make an amazing film.  This.

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