Let’s Talk About: Ghostbusters & The Nostalgia Problem

  Let’s Talk About is a new category in Tights & Lightsabers with its purpose being to create a discussion. Whether the topic is discussing themes of a certain movie or to break down an archetype, let’s talk about it.

The Internet loves to hate or be offended by everything that they can be offended of. It’s a nice place to be in, but even with all its charm and sprinkles, the Internet is still a rainbow full of jerks. Whether it is by shouting at or shunning the thing which they dislike until it goes away, there is no pause to it. When we talk about movies in this kind of light, most movies get dissed for its content when it hasn’t even been released yet. It’s judging the book by its cover at its finest.

And there’s no better example to discuss this with than the newly-released Ghostbusters reboot.

I waited for some time to post this since I wanted the flames that the new Ghostbusters have caused to die down. Now that the movie’s out and that everyone has formed their own opinions on the film, it’s time for everybody to reflect a bit on what they’ve said about the film before it was out. Having been in development for at least 14 years (you heard me right), fans of the old Ghostbusters have waited for a sequel to the Ghostbusters they knew and loved. Starting from 2002 came the talks of a Ghostbusters III: Hellbent, where the story takes place in a Manhattan in Hell: or Manhellton, for short. But the movie kept getting delayed and delayed, until the script for that film was thrown away around July 2012. An idea of a Ghostbusters reboot blossomed around September 2012. With the death of Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler in the original Ghostbusters) at the age of 69 in February 2014, plans for the sequel started to die.

In a nutshell, the 14-year long ride was nothing short of confusing and only made fans of the films more anxious than ever. So when news of director Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot starring an all-female team of Ghostbusters started coming around in October 2014, all the fans started cheering in excitement for the film!

…Oh, it didn’t happen that way? Well, let’s just proton I didn’t say that. Get it? Proton? Pretend? Cause the Ghostbusters use Proton Packs to fight off ghosts!

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Come on give me some credit, I’m not a comedian.

As it turns out, people didn’t like that idea. The internet cried ‘Outrage!’ about the female-led Ghostbusters and the rants only became more and more toxic and vicious as time went on. Some even claimed that this reboot ‘destroyed their childhood’ which, I have to say, is a bit of an exaggeration. But just as I won’t apologize for that proton pun awhile ago, so did Paul Feig despite fans’ complaints.

Before Paul Feig’s female Ghostbusters reboot came around, there were rumors of an all-male Ghostbusters that started on March 2015 starring Channing Tatum with links to Chris Pratt. Obviously it didn’t come through. While it didn’t receive as much discrimination as Feig’s Ghostbusters, most of the discussion that I found still didn’t approve of it.

So, what was the issue here? Many would agree that fanboys were just peeved that women got the spotlight for once. But there’s something else going on here, something beyond the Ghostbusters. There’s another (while it may not be the main) reason why people didn’t like Ghostbusters; and you & I belong to that problem. Hear me out.

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I ain’t afraid of no underlying social problem!

We Live In A Nostalgic Culture

  And we suffer because of it. What do you think; more importantly, what do you feel about the 90’s? If you were born from the 90’s, you most likely are one of those who think that those days were much better than today and you could totally go back in time if you could. Who can blame you? It pains people to even go look at the news because of the horror shown everyday. Each day feels closer to some kind of end.

  90’s kids aren’t alone. You’ve got the generations of the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, and so on who look back to the good ol’ days. We all have something from our childhood that we adore and love deeply…and again, who can blame us?

  Then came a technological advancement called the Internet. The Internet (if you don’t know, which is weird, because you’re reading my article through the internet) is a virtual archive containing secrets and items belonging to a certain decade, to a certain century. Finally, all the things we love and hold dearly in our hearts can be found with just one click.

  With it came posts and memes which enjoyed the memories of days gone by. 8-bit games, NES controllers, the old look of a Coca-Cola bottle, etc. were and still are celebrated, which should be. Nothing wrong with it. Pepperidge Farm remembers those days. Remember that meme?

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Along with Bad Luck Brian and those stick-man memes, may you all rest in peace.

So everything was OK, but nostalgia took a turn when people started claiming certain things in pop culture as their very own possession, something that cannot be enjoyed as much as you did by another person. Lines like ‘Only 90’s kids remember this’ or ‘This destroyed my childhood’ isn’t just a line fans over the internet regularly say. They mean that things like Power Rangers, Batman, and even Ghostbusters, which they hold dear to their heart, have been desecrated by a reboot or a spin-off or by simply having a much younger fan appreciate it. When people say those things, they talk about THEIR own childhood, THEIR culture, and THEY need YOU to understand that this film or show is the only version that should exist. They claim that there’s only one type of lenses to look at the world: and it’s their own. And that’s when things get messy.

  We may LOVE a specific part of pop culture, but we can NEVER OWN IT. We don’t have the right to tell the younger generation they can’t cherish the same old things we do nor do we have the right to neglect them of a new version of the same thing just because the version we know is the ‘definitive’ one.We especially can’t complain or moan about a movie when we’ve only seen the trailer or the headline of an article about it! And I want to emphasize the reboot part because that’s what the new Ghostbusters is, like it or not.

  That doesn’t mean you can dislike a reboot; you have a right to that. You can tell others you didn’t find Legend of Tarzan that great or that Ghostbusters was just a rehash of the old film with nothing new in the formula. Not liking Ghostbusters doesn’t make you a sexist unless you really didn’t like the film because of its main female stars. Yes, some versions can be definitely better than another, but you can’t tell others they’re wrong for liking something you didn’t.

  The nostalgia problem didn’t start because of 90’s ‘kids’ (Do we still call you kids? You must be 30 years old or at least above 20) and the internet definitely didn’t make it too; the internet just highlighted it. In fact, Tim Burton’s Batman movie, before it was released in 1989, was heavily dissed by fans for its controversial lead, having a black guy play a white guy’s role (Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face), costume change, etc. Did you even know that Scarface (1983) was a remake of the same title in 1932? Bet you didn’t, and no one makes a fuss nowadays that the 1983 version was worse than the first one; maybe because only a few people who saw the first version are alive today.

  End Note

I can understand the frustration of the old Ghostbusters fans when the reboot came out. You waited 14 years for a sequel but got what you didn’t want. Perhaps you wanted to show your kids or grandkids that Ghostbusters 3 was a trilogy that began way back when you were their age. But the thing is, you still have the old Ghostbusters movies. If you didn’t like the new one then you can go back to those ones. Show your kids/grandkids those movies and let them decide if the new or old is better.

Cause in the end, if you liked Ghostbusters or not, what’s important is that kids are taking an interest in being a Ghostbuster. Boys and girls are making impressions of their favorite Ghostbuster. And, who knows, because of their growing interest of Ghostbusters, they’ll search it up on the internet and may eventually stumble upon the older version. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll watch it.

I still find it hard to accept that there’s been 3 versions of Spider-Man since 2002. That a Godfather remake is on the way with Johnny Depp as Vito Corleone. I can’t get my head wrapped around the possibility of a Space-Jam sequel. The issue is: I’m part of the problem and I can bet that I’m not the only one. We’ve all got complaints of new things replacing the old; maybe it’s just the age talking. But we’re in no position to deny others of things just because we don’t agree with it. This goes beyond films or media at all.

Maybe I’m digging too deep in a small hole here, but it’s what I noticed and it’s what I want to address. Nostalgia’s good and healthy, but we shouldn’t be afraid of the new.

 

Do you agree or disagree? Can nostalgia be a problem? Let me know what you think! And what would you like to see me talk about next?

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