The flames of the dumpster fire that is the nu-Ghostbusters drama were fanned recently when James Rolfe, AKA the Angry Video Game Nerd, released a video explaining his numerous reasons as to why he won’t be reviewing the new film. Even though he gave a nuanced and well-reasoned explanation virtually free of any sort of anger or contempt for the casting choices, which is pretty ironic for a guy who built his following yelling at shit NES games, this didn’t stop the internet Hot Take™ machine from spooling up. James was smeared as a vile, sexist pig for daring to not see a cash-in sequel appearing to have all the aplomb of the Lost in Space remake starring Joey from Friends that nobody remembers, as the entire internet once again misunderstood the problems with the upcoming Ghostbusters remake.
So, I figured I wouldn’t take the time to explain why James’ views have nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with what the movie industry has become. I won’t take the time to explain why cookie-cutter schlock movies and bottom-dollar algorithm remakes like this movie do nothing but strip-mine nostalgia and name recognition to make a quick buck. I won’t waste my breath pointing out that 90% of the complaints against this movie have jack and fucking shit to do with the all-female cast, and how said casting choices have absolutely nothing to do with feminism. I won’t point out that the first two Alien movies are critically well-regarded and beloved as classics despite being centered on a female main character, while the subsequent movies featuring the same character were trashed not because of the gender of the protagonist but due to the fact that they were garbage-tier sequels cranked out by a Hollywood marketing machine. I won’t even point out that the same industry that gave us this movie also has a trilogy of Tetris movies in the works. Others have already covered that ground.
Instead, I thought I would give my rough sketch for what the new Ghostbusters movie should have been. I’ve kept the same core cast as the new movie, but added ties to the old that allow for an organic passing of the torch. Keep in mind that this is a rough sketch. I didn’t flesh out the characters, I didn’t write jokes, I didn’t go in-depth with the film’s actual events. Rather, think of this as the framework for all that stuff to be hung from.
This idea is going to deal with Egon’s legacy because Harold Ramis is dead, and Egon was the best Ghostbusters character DONT THINK SO FITE ME 1V1 IRL BR0. So you have Egon’s estranged daughter Jillian, played by Kate McKinnon, who loves her father but was taken away from him at a young age. Even though she was pulled away from him, she also heard the call of science and became a respected nuclear engineer. She now has to head back to NYC to attend her father’s funeral, and all the while she’s full of questions about what her father actually did for the city. The only thing that she knows is that he helped the city in a time of great need, nothing more.
She’s does some digging into her father’s past online and eventually finds the contact info for Ray Stantz. Stantz tells her about what her father actually did, and reveals that he’s continued her father’s research in secret. Jillian’s timing is fortuitous, he explains, as paranormal instances are on the rise again just as they were thirty years ago, and now that she’s there they can start the Ghostbusters back up again. He starts showing her the ropes. Their first outing as a team doesn’t go well, as Stantz is markedly too old for this and Jillian has no experience. They get the ghost, but not before frying Egon’s old proton pack and causing enough property damage to be dragged into the mayor’s office. The mayor is none other than Peter Venkman, who after leaving the Ghostbusters decided to go into politics with Winston as his running mate. He’s bitter about a mysterious event that caused the Ghostbusters to break up. Standard boilerplate “The Ghostbusters don’t exist anymore! Let it go!” type dialog ensues, and Stantz get’s depressed about how it seems like it actually might be over after all these years.
Jillian, realizing that the city needs some form of anti-paranormal force, decides to contact one of the groups that she had heard about while researching her father. They’re a two-woman operation consisting of paranormal researcher Abby Yates (played by the ever-so-marketable Melissa McCarthy), and her research partner Patty Tolan (played by Leslie Jones). They run around in a station wagon that looks like a shit version of the Ecto-1. The tech they use to capture ghosts is cobbled together from a mishmash of off-the-shelf parts and based on the early research papers of one E. Spangler. These two have heart, but are desperately in need of a tech upgrade. Jillian, armed with her father’s busted proton pack and his later notes and designs, decides to enlist the help of another nuke engineer and former classmate in order to provide the upgrade. This other engineer is Erin Gilbert, played by Kristen Wiig.
There. I just got the same all-female Ghostbusters team together in a way that shows the necessary respect to the original film. This is the kind of shit that J.J. Abrams knew he had to do when making his new StarWarsTrek films.
All that’s left to do here is for them to have a montage of Ghostbusting with the new gear (whose beams have a markedly different look than the old ones), and then for them to confront the bigbad that has been set up during the whole film. Insert Stay Puft Marshmallow Man joke here, but for the love of God don’t actually fucking use the monster. Cut to the climactic final battle between the new Ghostbusters and the big evil. It looks like the big evil is going to overpower our plucky young heroes, but then suddenly three old-style proton beams shoot out from the darkness. It’s Ray, Venkman, and Winston, all wearing their old gear and helping to fight the monster (with Venkman and Winston wearing suits and proton packs). Stantz: “I hope you don’t mind, I brought some old friends”, Insert crack about unlicensed particle accelerators here, etc. The bigbad eats it after a requisite amount of stream-crossing, and then everyone is having a post-battle discussion. The new team is all “Well, I guess this means you don’t need us”, and Venkman points out that he and the other guys are getting too old for this shit, and he has to keep being the Mayor of Earth. Venkman: “People are always going to argue about who the Real Ghostbusters are (LOL!), but as far as I’m concerned you’re the team we need”. Cut to a revamped firehouse, everybody is training and working on stuff, Stantz is helping the new team in an advisory capacity. Ghost call goes out, everyone runs to the Ecto-2 and speeds off, pan up to the GB logo on the firehouse, smash cut to black, cue old Ghostbusters theme, and there you have it.
So that’s my idea for the new Ghostbusters movie. Sure, it has its problems. It leans heavily on the Jillian character to the point of being less ensemble comedy and more of a character-driven piece, and it requires some handwaving of the lack of documentation on events as large as a giant marsmallow attacking NYC and the Statue of Liberty coming to life. But it ties the film into the Ghostbusters universe at large, properly passes the torch to the new team, and most importantly minimizes Melissa McCarthy’s screen time.
Were this the planned Ghostbusters film, it would be a win for everybody. People with legitimate complaints about the new movie wouldn’t be lumped in with the sexist assholes that unfortunately do exist (see the backlash against Rey in The Force Awakens and the main character of Star Wars: Rogue One if you don’t believe me), and said assholes would be much more obvious targets for clickbait journalists to rail against. We’d get a good Ghostbusters film, and everything would be OK.
Though if this movie flops, it might cause the Back to the Future remake no doubt waiting in the wings to get canned. Maybe the Ghostbusters remake is for the best.