When I first saw that the Ghostbusters reboot had acquired more downvotes than any other movie trailer in YouTube history, my heart sank. Sure, I’d written an article deconstructing the trailer and denouncing its flaws; then again, a year-and-a-half earlier, I’d written another piece praising the new movie for its boldness in assembling an all-female cast of comedians to lead a blockbuster franchise. I may have been disappointed that the trailer seemed broad and derivative, but it certainly didn’t deserve the ignominious distinction of being one of the most unpopular YouTube videos of all time.
That said, the trailer’s mediocre quality seems to have less to do with the negative reaction than old-fashioned misogyny. Indeed, the trailer has become catnip for MRAs who want the movie to fail just because it has female leads. That’s why the comments section under the first official trailer includes gems like this:
The Lazy Potato – Is this movie just here to please feminists? Cancel this movie sony, it’s cancer.
EdwardSponge – Can’t wait for the Feminist Star Trek reboot. and Indiana jones and transformers and playstation. and harry potter and dc movies and marvel movies
alex bailey – feminism = cancer …. and AIDS
William Braddell – It’s amazing to me that Feminists will run article after article decrying the negative reaction to this film as “white male nerd misogyny” but won’t write anything about migrants comitting sex crimes in Europe out of fear of being “racist.” Cowards and hypocrites, every last one of them.
There are three points worth noting here:
1. The “Ghostbusters” trailer provides an interesting litmus test for feminists. This looks like a bad movie, and while it is contemptible that so many have attacked it for sexist reasons, we shouldn’t allow our own ideology to gloss over the obvious flaws here. As I explained in an earlier article, my reaction to this trailer (as well as its successors) is akin to how I felt when first viewing the trailer for “The Hangover: Part II.” Although this movie deserves as much of a chance as that one, it’s hard to argue that both make their film seem like uninspired rip-offs of their beloved predecessors… and where they aren’t ripping off the originals, they’re shoehorning in broad slapstick that induces groans instead of laughs. Nevertheless…
2. This movie ABSOLUTELY deserves a chance to succeed. When I hear about critics who insist that they won’t review the movie, I immediately know that I’m dealing with a misogynist, because guess what? There have been far worse trailers, accompanying far worse motion pictures, that have still been given their fair shake at the box office. While I share the trepidation of many fans who dread being disappointed, the outright hatred directed against this film is inexplicable except as a cover for sexism. This is why so many YouTube commenters are decrying it as a “feminist” film; based on every trailer that I’ve seen, there is nothing political or ideological about this motion picture. You could swap out the female leads with male ones and not have to change a single detail about the dialogue or plot. If you see a trailer with female leads and immediately think “feminist,” the problem is with YOUR views on gender politics, not those of the filmmakers.
3. Because this movie has been blasted by sexists, it now behooves progressives to see it in theaters when it’s released. This doesn’t mean we have to like it, or recommend it to our friends; if the movie is as bad as it looks, I will certainly agree with those who want director Paul Feig (who, as you can tell by the name, is a man) run out of town on a rail. Nevertheless, if this movie fails at the box office, meninists everywhere will point to that failure as a triumph for their cause. Even worse, producers will be especially reluctant to bankroll a film of this scale with female leads… and that will be a devastating blow to future projects, many of which will deserve the success that this movie might not.
Personally, despite the inadequacies of the trailer, I still want “Ghostbusters” to be a great film. I want it to not only live up to the original, but transcend it and become its own distinct and beloved entity. As America prepares to elect its first female president, it would be wonderful for our nation to embrace an all-female reboot of one of our nation’s most famous film franchises. I want this movie to rise to the occasion… and am deeply suspicious of those who wish otherwise.