Ghostbusters and the Kobayashi Maru

I knew something was wrong when there were too many kids in my screening of “Ghostbusters.” I’m sure the suits at Sony studios thought the opposite.


The new “Ghostbusters” is fun and clever at times but Paul Feig and the new cast was always in a Kobayashi Maru, a no win situation. Bill Murray knew that and why after decades of pitches and trucks full of money promised he always said no.

 “Ghostbusters” is fun.  It’s a good time in a theater on a hot summer day. I thought director Paul Feig coming off of “Bridesmaids”, “The Heat” and “Spy” would be able to give it a new twist. I don’t understand why people flipped out about an all female cast. The cast is the best thing about this movie by far. They just aren’t given the best script to work with. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are the straight characters setting up laughs for Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. The villain is hardly formidable. Scenes jump from plot point to plot point. At no point was I remotely worried they wouldn’t save the city.

All that said, Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann steals the show away and hopefully we’ll see her in more in the future.

 The first trailer says: “30 years ago…..Four Scientists Saved New York.” There’s a shot of the firehouse, the logo and the new team. The whole movie I was confused. Is this taking place 30 years later? Are they starting from scratch? There are cameos but are they really the same characters? This was super frustrating to figure out what was happening. Why couldn’t they pull a Force Awakens and have the movie be 30 years later after the first film? Maybe they stumble upon proton packs and newspaper clippings that were destroyed.

 Shannon and I were the only ones who stayed after the credits, mostly because we were dancing to the song at the end. We were the only one who saw the Easter egg. Leslie Jones is listening to a tape or paranormal sounds on her headphones and asks the gang if they had ever heard of anything called Zuhl. They shrug. So that’s what they want to do with a sequel. They want to pull a Star Trek: Into Darkness and dust off the villain from an earlier film. Almost 30 years and tons of writers and this is what you came up with?

 Since the first film, there seems to be a push and pull about whom this is for? Is it for kids so companies can sell toys and make cartoons? Why not just hire the director of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or a Pixar director if you want it for kids? Come to think of it, I’m sure Pixar could make a dope “Ghostbusters” kids movie. Why have Paul Feig direct it if you want it to be a family summer blockbuster?

 When I came home, the first two Ghostbuster movies were on AMC. The first one is a classic, scary at moments but definitely creepy. The tone is spooky even though it’s a comedy. Everyone is playing it straight from Egon to Louis Tully (Louis is hilarious but he doesn’t know he’s hilarious.) Everyone is playing it straight except for Peter Venkman who is always armed with a quip and having a good time even as his girlfriend turns into a dog. We all want to be Venkman.

 I hadn’t seen “Ghostbusters II” in maybe decades. One of those movies I saw at the theater a ton cause it was at the dollar movie in the summer and friends were always going. At 8 years old, I liked it but it didn’t capture me like the first one. The first one makes you want to be a Ghostbuster. The second one makes you want to ghost out of the viewing.

 “Ghostbusters II” is not as terrible as I expected it to be. I did notice that it wasn’t as creepy in tone and it just didn’t have the teeth the first one had. I looked up “Ghostbusters II” on IMDB to find out what happened with this one. There was a popular “Ghostbusters” cartoon out at the time and it was tailored to kids. The screenplay cut back on smoking and innuendos in the sequel. There’s more slime.   There are more scenes of Bill Murray holding a baby than I’ve seen in any other movie of his. (Has he held a baby in any other movie? I knew he held a doll in “Scrooged.”) Then throw in that the script is almost beat for beat the same as the first one and you can see why Bill Murray didn’t want to do a third one.

 For years, Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd tried to convince Bill Murray to make a third movie. He wouldn’t budge, this from the guy who did two Garfield movies. At one point, the guys who wrote “Year One” had written a script for a third movie. This is what Bill Murray told GQ.

 “It’s all a bunch of crock. It’s a crock. There was a story—and I gotta be careful here, I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. When I hurt someone’s feelings, I really want to hurt them. [laughs] Harold Ramis said, Oh, I’ve got these guys, they write on The Office, and they’re really funny. They’re going to write the next Ghostbusters. And they had just written this movie that he had directed. Year One. Well, I never went to see Year One, but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporized. That was gone. But it’s the studio that really wants this thing. It’s a franchise. It’s a franchise, and they made a whole lot of money on Ghostbusters.”

 Once it became evident that Bill Murray wouldn’t take on a third movie, the major players started looking for a new generation of Ghostbusters. At one point, a Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill/Judd Apatow reunion was rumored. I’m so glad Oscar didn’t grow up to be Seth Rogen.

 Only a few names come to mind to direct a “Ghostbusters” movie. J.J. Abrams, comedy isn’t his wheelhouse but he did resurrect “Star Trek”, “Star Wars” and kept “Mission: Impossible” going. The perfect choice would be Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the directors of “21 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie”. They took two movie ideas that had no place being made much and turned them into great movies. They have the style and chops to make a great “Ghostbusters movie.” Apparently they thought that wouldn’t be challenging enough. They decided to take on a Kobayashi Maru of their own directing the Han Solo movie.

 Streams crossed that if there is a sequel they will take more chances.





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