Okay… let me preface this with a couple disclaimers. One: this is not a personal attack, I’m not accusing James Rolfe or Cinemassacre of sexism, racism,… any kind of “ism” out here. I have never met him. In general, I like his videos (love Monster Madness, looking forward to that again this year). Two: there are much, much, more important things in the world than what one internet critic had to say (or not say) about a movie, and my reaction to those words. Please go to NPR, FiveThirtyEight, or a host of other sites to see what those are. Okay – cool, let’s talk about some silly stuff on the internet.
If you did not watch, let me sum up: James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd, doesn’t want to see the new Ghostbusters movie that comes out this July… so he isn’t going to. Awesome. It’s a movie – he’s well within his rights not to see it (and to make a video about how he won’t see it). His reasoning, however (in my view), is… pretty flawed and deeply hypocritical – and I have a right to write about it. Isn’t democracy awesome?
Rolfe lists several reasons to justify his not reviewing the new Ghostbusters movie. They include: (1) the first trailer looking like garbage, (2) Ghostbusters having died with Harold Ramis, (3) Having a problem with it being called Ghostbusters (without some subtitle to differentiate, and (4) worried that new audiences will not see the original – that this film will somehow replace it. Again – sure, he’s allowed to say all these things. Why he felt like he needed to say anything beyond “I don’t want to see it.” is beyond me, but hey – you can’t make a Youtube video that’s only five seconds long.
I’m going to break down each one of these.
Yeah, that first trailer… was not great. In fact, it was possibly the most confusing professional trailer that I’ve seen made in a long time (is it a sequel or a remake/reboot?). Whether the jokes work or not is a matter of pure subjective opinion – something I’m not going to get into.
Bottom line though, it is just a trailer. It is a two-minute segment of a two-hour movie, put together not by the director, but by a marketing department. It is fair to say that the marketing department screwed up in their jobs, but what does that really have to do with the movie itself? Not much. Judging a film by its trailer is the equivalent of looking at a book’s cover, then only reading the inside slip summary. Trailers can be misleading. Case in point:
The death of Harold Ramis was tragic, I am not going to argue that. He was a talented comedian, writer, director, and seemed like an overall good-quality human being. Yet creations do not die with their creators. If that were true, Mickey Mouse, Superman, Sherlock Holmes, and many others would all be out of the job.
Ah, but he was more than a writer – he was an actor, he brought life to Egon. Yes he did – and its fair to say that Egon should not be in the new movie. He isn’t, in fact – none of the old team is. Sure, most of the old actors will appear in cameo forms, but the original team has been retired – probably out of respect to Harold Ramis. The original team died with Ramis, as did any chance of Ghostbusters 3 (thank god). Intellectual properties live on past their creators, that is one of the beauties of creation.
Clearly, James feels very strongly about this. Surely, they should have called it something different to show that something came before… except that it is a remake/reboot so nothing, technically speaking, has come before. Hollywood never overestimates the intelligence of the general public when it comes to movies. As James pointed out in his Godzilla Resurgence trailer review published shortly before. Audiences were confused by Godzilla 2000 – with some thinking it a sequel to the 1998 film (I’m going to come back to this later). So if Sony were to call this Ghostbusters: the Next Generation or whatever, that would imply sequel.
This criticism would be much more in line with a film like 2011’s The Thing… which is a prequel to… The Thing. For the record, Cinemassacre has not reviewed the 2011 The Thing, so maybe he is protesting this as well. While I agree with him that Ghostbusters is annoying, it is no more so than any other remake that uses the same title. He has reviewed countless remakes with titles matching the original, so why has now become the last straw?
Will Somebody Please Think of the Children?!
Here is my biggest laugh – and the point that is the most ridiculous/hypocritical (to the point that I felt I needed to write this article). Rolfe goes on to express a worry that this new Ghostbusters will replace the old one for newer audiences. He is bordering on moral outrage that this new Ghostbusters has disgraced the original, not honoring the film at all… it is remarkable that he knows this, considering he admits to not having seen the movie.
It is a surprisingly moral stance, as if the original Ghostbusters is this great force of good and the 2016 remake is an evil force come to undermine it. Of course, he is entitled to his opinion – and he is obviously an avid Ghostbusters fan. That’s one of the stronger points about James, he is a real fan – he would never review a movie that destroys the legacy of a beloved series, a series that he himself claims to be a massive fan for…
… Except for that one time that he did:
Huh. It seems to me that Godzilla (1998) did everything James is accusing Ghostbusters of potentially doing. It cheaply cashed in on a name, while offering a movie that was in no way, shape, or form, a Godzilla movie. Yet James reviewed it. Heck, he made it part of his “Godzillathon,” sliding it right into the Japanese series. He didn’t like the film sure, but he reviewed it.
So, what really makes Ghostbusters different?
I don’t know, but I do know that, to make a video months before a film has been released – to blast that film on completely unsubstantiated standards and beliefs – is crap. I would bet that James would have words for anyone who said “yeah that old 1984 movie, I’m not going to see it. I watched a trailer/Youtube review that said don’t bother. He actually said it may damage/change my perspective of the new movie, and I don’t want that.”
James, you’re entitled to your opinion – and at the end of the day it’s just a movie and who cares, but your reasoning – to use one of your phrases – is bull-fucking horseshit!