Okay before we begin, I want to be clear: I am basing this off the first teaser for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. This is in no way a commentary on the film itself, which I have not seen…yet. I’m only breaking down the marketing methods behind this:
Okay – I hope this avoids any confusion, should you be reading this after the film has been released. With that in mind…let’s dive in.
Speaking from a personal standpoint as someone who has followed the development of this new Ghostbusters, this trailer is confusing. Look at how it starts, “30 years ago, four scientists saved the world…” or something like that. Oh cool, so it’s a sequel right?
Apparently not, no. In a recent interview regarding his new movie, Paul Feig confirmed that his Ghostbusters is a reboot(or remake, whatever the popular term is these days). He even went in-depth to explain his reasoning in avoiding a sequel. Agree or disagree, as director – he gets to make that call. Unfortunately, the people making the trailer must not have seen this interview.
This did the trailer no favors as audiences received an opening that promised a sequel and went into a lot of shots that frankly looked familiar. Remember this library opening from the original? This one:
Well, here it is again!
Three scientists coming together to fight ghosts?
An additional black Ghostbuster who is not initially part of the team (and probably not a scientist)?
Ghostbusters saving the city of New York from an apparent sudden ghost surge?
Well… okay that one isn’t fair. Every Ghostbusters movie should hopefully involve Ghostbusters fighting ghosts in some way. I would hope. Oh, but there’s also Slimer:
Point being, for a trailer that opens with the implication of sequel, there is a lot of retreading common ground. This likely goes a long way to explain at least some of the negative reaction. Personally, I think this addresses most of the fair criticism. The rest is subjective but probably a little reactionary.
“The jokes don’t work. The ghosts look CG (spoiler: they are). The writing sucks. The movie isn’t funny.”
Calm down – we’ve seen less than two minutes. Now, have I seen better trailers? I have. That being said, and this is again personal opinion, is too much emphasis being placed on the trailer rather than the team behind it?
Let’s look at another movie coming out soon: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. That film has trailers that are kinda all over the place. The first trailer offered an emotionally charged look at why Batman and Superman would fight. It didn’t get into too much plot, but provided a hook. The second trailer… likely told the entirety of the movie. Seriously, I don’t know for sure but I’m going to bet that after I see Batman v. Superman, I’m going to feel the same way.
That, in my opinion, was not a well put together piece of publicity. It suggested the unending need for more to satisfy the audience.
“Bored with Batman – we got Superman! Don’t like Superman – how about Doomsday? We also got Lex Luthor! Oh, here’s Wonder Woman! Justice League!!!!”
It cried a certain desperation that Batman and Superman are not interesting enough on their own.
There are legitimate criticisms to be sure, and the most frightening possibility that the studio might be trying to interfere with the movie in a classic example of “wanting it both ways.” That would not bode well.
So is Ghostbusters a sequel or a reboot? Who knows. Hopefully it’s not both.
Is it going to be a good movie? Too early to tell. At the very least, it appears to be in good hands.
Here is a trailer for the original Ghostbusters for contrast: