Ruby: Well, now you’ve seen Ghostbusters. What were your thoughts?
Ginger: I don’t want you to think of this as a tirade, but I will be talking for a while. Get comfy.
There’s More To An Homage Than A Cameo
By Ginger Blaze
When 21 Jump Street – the movie, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum – first started getting advertised, I called my sister and told her they took that TV show that started Johnny Depp’s career and made it into a movie. I waited for my sister to sigh and shake her head and then I said “…as a comedy.” The change in my sister’s attitude was almost immediate. She thought about it for a moment and then said “…well, that’s different.” When that movie came out, it was a hit. I loved it – and I hadn’t really watched the TV show (not just because my parents deemed it inappropriate for a seven year old girl with way too much imagination already). And I learned, through internet research, just how incredibly delicately they handled the transition. There were cameos, sure, but those cameos played their characters from the original show. There were nods, both obvious and subtle… But they were careful about how they presented themselves. This wasn’t a reboot, and it was; and it wasn’t homage, and it was. They continued the story – from a new, fresh angle – that had started two decades before.
I did laugh during Ghostbusters. I did enjoy myself. I thought it was funny and I squeed with happiness with every cameo or nod back to the original stories that I LOVE watching and re-watching and quoting and…
Okay, look, when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster when I grew up. Okay, technically, Janine was my hero and I wanted to answer the phone with “Ghostbusters, whaddya want?!” more than anything. My friends and brothers and I played Ghostbusters. We watched all the Ghostbusters cartoons. This was the greatest ghost-related movie of all time and in all history, and I was unafraid of telling people this.
So, when I first heard they were doing a new Ghostbusters movie, I was excited – I wanted something like 21 Jump Street for the franchise. I wanted Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, and William Atherton to all make cameos, and if they all would, I wanted them to nod to their previous histories as characters from Ghostbusters. Or, honestly, if that wouldn’t happen (since, apparently, there were statements on social media that they wouldn’t), I wanted a subtle nod… Channing Tatum’s character in 21 Jump Street is named Jenko; there was a character who died in the original series named Jenko. I wanted something quiet and subtle and loving… Ray Stanz’s niece or Janine and Louis Tully’s daughter or a student of Peter Venkman. Maybe a human villain who had a mentor named Walter Peck, trying to take down ghost hunters of any sort as a vicarious revenge… Just…something.
The movie was funny. The movie was enjoyable. The movie had cameos that made me happy. The movie had ghosts. The movie had people busting ghosts. The movie had no loving treatment of the original.
Each and every time a character said they were the first scientists to do this; each reinvention of the proton pack; each cameo not having any relation to the previous films – each one of those twisted the knife in my heart. I realized this movie would have been better if they had not used the name “Ghostbusters.”
In the movie Maverick, starring James Garner, Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson, Danny Glover has a cameo – Glover, of course, being Gibson’s other half in the Lethal Weapon franchise. They both appear to know one another, but not, and the infamous line (“I’m getting too old for this…”) is uttered. But Maverick is not a Lethal Weapon movie.
That is what Ghostbusters: Answer The Call was. A movie with cameos. The cameos, while showing support from the original cast of this new vision, were there to try to convince the audience that it was okay to embrace this film…and would have been unnecessary if they hadn’t called themselves Ghostbusters. And, while I loved them…in retrospect…they were there because the film was trying too hard to make us love the New Vision.
I guess, in the end, my final statement is simple: it was a fun movie. But I can’t call it a Ghostbusters movie. It’s a Busted Ghost movie.
Ruby: Wow. You did talk a lot.
Ginger: I know. I thought about writing it up and handing it to you, but that would have taken effort.
Ruby: You could start a blog and post it somewhere.
Ginger: …yeah, I guess, but…who’d want to read that?