Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The trailer for Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters remake is here and you’ve probably already watched it. And you probably already have an opinion on it. But have you gone through it frame-by-frame and shot-by-shot like a true weirdo? Because I did. Let’s pick this thing apart like real lunatics. Naturally, potential spoilers, idle speculation, and opinions of both the informed and uninformed variety lurk below.
The whole shebang opens with sweeping shots of the New York City skyline, and why not? The original Ghostbusters is a classic New York story that uses the city, its attitude, and its locations to great effect. If it’s not set here, it’s not really Ghostbusters.
These early moments are full of nudges and reminders that you really like the original Ghostbusters. A lot. From the dramatic text about four scientists saving the world to a shot of the new (but oh-so-familiar) firehouse headquarters, this trailer is banking on nostalgia just as much as it’s banking on surprise. It’ll be interesting to see how the finished film blends these two elements – will it go out of its way to throw references at old school fans or will it fully blaze a new trail?
And here’s our fist kind-of, sort-of look at that classic logo. Whether this suggests that the team’s logo begins as graffiti art or inspires graffiti art is unknown, but it’s a really cool image.
Here’s three-quarters of the team, staring in shock at their first ghost. We know from previous reports that the characters played by Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are former colleagues who had a falling out and that Kate McKinnon is McCarthy’s new partner in paranormal research. How Wiig gets pulled into this crazy business remains unknown, but she seems especially unprepared for this whole ghost thing.
One of my favorite aspects of the original Ghostbusters was that its comedy is surrounded by actual moments of horror. The ghosts, even when they’re silly, are genuine threats that can scare the hell out of you. Based purely on the design of this particular specter, it looks like Paul Feig and his team are following a similar route. This would be an effective monster design in a typical horror movie.
Like I said: these ghosts look just freaky enough. Naturally, this particular ghost seems to be a direct callback to the haunted library from the beginning of the original movie, where a seemingly peaceful undead woman turns vicious on a dime.
This trailer knows what we want and it gets to it in record time. Yes, someone gets slimed in this movie and yes, it’s Kristen Wiig, who appears to be the closest thing the reboot has to a Bill Murray analogue. This is one of many moments in the trailer that deliberately quotes the original film. Yes, Wiig getting splattered with gooey ectoplasm is funny, but it’s a direct lift from something we’ve seen before. I remain curious how the film will balance these references with new stuff.
“That stuff went everywhere, by the way. In every crack. Hard to wash off.” Wiig is one of the funniest people on the planet, so if she is going to get slimed Bill Murray-style, at least she’s going to make it her own.
If Murray is the closest thing the film has to a Murray stand-in, does that make Kate McKinnon the new Harold Ramis and Melissa McCarthy the new Dan Aykroyd? Anyway, I mostly like this shot because I enjoy just how completely messy and detailed the laboratory/workshop looks. The Ghostbusters are a fun team because they’re a blue collar operation and because they’re not slick. Their workspace should be a total pit.
If there is one truly direct surrogate character here, it’s the street-smart subway employee played by Leslie Jones. Like Ernie Hudson’s Winston in the original film, she seems to join the team a little later and doesn’t have the scientist background. But what she lacks in advanced education, she more than makes up for in knowing the streets of New York City. I genuinely appreciate how the trailer seems to be laying out each team member’s specific role and what they add to the group and we’ll get to that in a moment.
Once again, the ghost effects on display here are fantastic. They’re colorful and creepy and don’t look like jokes. After all, the Ghostbusters’ mission only really works if you present them with something worthy of fear.