The reboot to the classic 1984 film Ghostbusters took center stage over the summer, seeking to cash in on the warped cultural authoritarian views growing in today’s society. Its whole premise revolves around a simple yet divisive ideology: that women are virtuous, strong and smart while men are greedy, dumb, sexist pigs. As a result, the film subconsciously seeks to divide genders and races in a regressive and divisive fashion, leaving a bad taste in mouths of the many Americans fed up with blatant “politically correct” pandering.
Despite advocating for female empowerment and inclusiveness, the attempt at “diversity” in the new version falls flat. Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), the African-American woman on the team, happens to be the only character without a college degree and comes across as an unrealistic stereotypical caricature of her race that seems out of place with everyone else on screen.
In the original version, African-American Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) never bothered to acknowledge his race. Yet in this 2016 remake, there was a painful attempt at comedy by Patty that placed identity politics at the forefront. After jumping into the audience and having the audience not catch her, she awkwardly blurted out “I don’t know if this was a race thing or a lady thing, but I’m mad as hell”. The joke was not subtle nor clever, and it overtly tried to put peoples race and gender identities above all else.
Many feminists attribute animosity towards the film to mere male misogyny. However, the ultimate problem with the reboot stems from something else entirely: it abandons the lighthearted libertarian values that made the original film such a feel good cult classic.
The original film’s release in 1984 came during a time of unbridled optimism in the Reagan era. The movie reflects those attitudes in a subtle way. It tells a story that glorifies the underdogs who risk everything to start a small business, encourages proactive crime fighting, and legitimizes the role of religious liberty in society. Better yet, it shows the true colors of an envious Environmental Protection Agency bent on shutting them down at every turn. In many ways, it alludes to what libertarians and small business owners alike have known for decades, and does so in a quirky comedic way that leaves the audience with no doubt in their mind who the real heroes are in the society.
Looking back on it, where the comedic element of Ghostbusters thrived was in its subtle and sarcastic jabs at left-wing institutions. At one point, after getting fired from the University, Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) spoke with his research assistant and eventual business partner, who told him “I liked it here, they gave us money and we didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college; you don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector, they expect results.” While funny, the scene also helped reflect a societal outlook that hit home with those who worked in both sectors.
These kinds of references can be seen throughout the movie. In one montage, they flashed on screen mock newspaper headlines reporting the Ghostbusters growing prominence. Sources ranged from The New York Post, to Time Magazine and a few others in between. The best one came from a cover of The Atlantic titled: “The Politics of the Next Dimension: Do Ghosts Have Civil Rights?” While satirical, it helped re-enforce how sometimes those on the left like to over think and detract from proven methods that help society as a whole. The subtle humor made viewers laugh in a way that did not come across as preachy, making it much easier for viewers to happily follow along.
Ghostbusters back then incorporated elements of diversity in a positive way that avoided the toxic identity politics of today. As mentioned earlier, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), the main African-American protagonist in the film, was a driven, honest, hardworking man who fit in perfectly with the rest of the crew. One of the best scenes occurred when he and Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) discussed references to the book of Revelations and how it related to the predicament they found themselves in. The two characters shared a common bond with religion and showed great on screen chemistry. The same went for the characters of all backgrounds: they showcased their qualities while not getting demonized. Despite being a film released over thirty years ago, it incorporated diversity and inclusion in a sophisticated way.
The original film sought to bring people together and encourage American ingenuity in small business. Unfortunately, the new version overtly seeks to divide genders and races in a regressive and divisive fashion. If director Paul Feig truly wants to understand the reason for the backlash to his remake of Ghostbusters, he needs to properly examine what made the franchise so popular in the first place and stop blaming others for his inability to do so.
Box office numbers released only confirmed the growing distaste for in your face feminism, as the film grossed a meager $46 million dollars on opening weekend despite spending $144 million dollars in production and advertising. To put its showing in perspective, The Secret Life of Pets received the honors of being the top-grossing film on its opening weekend, even though it celebrated its initial launch in theaters a week prior. Luckily, cultural libertarians alike can rejoice around the likelihood that there will be no sequel to this feminist failure.