The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Who You Gonna Call? Controversy Surrounding “Ghostbusters” Reboot

Credit to Blazing Minds
Credit to “Blazing Minds”

The Ghostbusters reboot that premiered July 11th, 2016 has been the center of media controversy. The movie is based on the 1984 film of the same name, but rather than having an all-male, all-white, and all-straight cast, the movie went for the opposite. The main four protagonists are females. Leslie Jones, who plays municipal historian Patty Tolan, is a black woman. Lesbian actress Kate McKinnon plays eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann. While this reboot attracted attention from many people who were excited to see an all-female action movie, it also generated an enormous amount of hate from fans of the old version.

The trailer for the Ghostbusters film has over one million dislikes – more than any other trailer on Youtube, and it is filled with comments such as “You know, up until this movie came out, I had no problem with feminists, or thought that was anything wrong with them. This movie opened up my eyes to what a plague they are”. Also, actress Leslie Jones had deleted her twitter due to online harassment of extreme racist and misogynistic nature. On August 23, her website was hacked by people who posted racist imagery and intimate photos of her; this is now a case for the US Department of Homeland Security.

The attack on Ghostbusters has only one positive outcome: the movie has had a lot of publicity. Good or bad, this leads to intrigue and views. As of August 20th, the movie has a box office of $208,316,046 worldwide. While this is not by any means a stellar box office for a blockbuster, (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had a total box office of $872.2 million), it still has a few weeks until it is out of cinemas.

Despite the bad press the movie has on user-run forums like Reddit and 4Chan, critics seem to enjoy it. The movie has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 73%, and critics have responded with praises such as “It’s a brand new work, firing off top-quality zingers every 10 seconds (The Guardian), and “That rarest of big-studio offerings — a movie that is a lot of enjoyable, disposable fun” (The New York Times).

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The movie itself is quite progressive. It centers around four females, three of whom are extremely advanced in STEM fields, demonstrating a positive reflection of females in typically  male-dominated fields. None of the characters are hyper-sexualized. Only two of them are considered “conventionally attractive,” and those wear practical, non-sexualized clothing. The film easily passes the Bechdel test and the “Sexy Lamp” test (which is a test with the only requirement being that a female character cannot easily be replaced by a “sexy lamp,” indicating that the female has a larger role than eye candy). Chris Hemsworth, who plays a male secretary (signifying a gender role reversal from the original film), just barely passes the “Sexy Lamp” test. Jillian Holtzmann is heavily gay-coded: her characterization implies a homosexuality in a sensitive manner. The director Paul Feig confirmed that she is a lesbian during an interview.

Essentially, this movie is made for females. There aren’t any gratuitous “male gaze” scenes, and the movie portrays women as intelligent, confident, diverse, and three dimensional. All the hate that is geared towards this movie seems to be of racist or misogynistic origin, which if anything, proves how good this movie is.

By Erika Undeland

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