I haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters yet (I do plan to), but I already know I’ll like it more than the original. Because I hate the original Ghostbusters.
Which is a damn shame. It’s an awesome concept. It is the triumph of science over religion. Our tech is better than your magic, and by the power of knowledge we will make this world safe for us. And any man can pick up a proton pack and fight the mystical, so it’s also the victory of the common man over the chosen elite – gods and priests. Great stuff!
And they ruin it all right away by focusing on Peter Venkman. The reason I hate Ghostbusters is because I hate Peter Venkman. Right in the opening scene he is shown to be a fraud. He’s supposedly a scientist, and he presents himself as such, but he doesn’t give a damn about the quest for knowledge. He fucks up his own experiment to hit on a girl. He’s on the leading edge of paranormal research – an untapped frontier that will radically change everything we thought we knew was true!! And yet when his male subject displays possible psychic powers (correctly getting “wavy lines” after a series of motivating electric shocks) he completely ignores this. He keeps telling the female subject she’s correct (she’s not), which not only means he’s canceled his experiment on a whim, but which will also likely bring disrepute on his field of research when the lady will inevitably go out and claim she’s been scientifically proven to have psychic powers when that’s clearly not the case!
I have a very deep respect for the scientific process, and the power it’s given us. And I have an emotional attachment to the Quest For Truth. I tend to view science with downright reverence. To see a supposed scientist crap all over science like this pisses me off to no end. I feel an actual religious-style outrage. It’s like I’m a religious person seeing a priest in a movie intentionally desecrating the rituals of my faith. Fuck Venkman!
The hero of the movie should have been Egon. He is the true scientist – he does the research, he created the proton packs. He is the interesting character. (He was also my favorite character in the cartoon.) Instead we spend the entire movie focused on a creepy, quasi-sexist asshole. And we’re supposed to like him??
I actually hate Bill Murray in everything he does. Maybe as a person he’s great, but as an actor he always plays this exact same character. The asshole who doesn’t care about anything. Generally, if I see a movie has Murray in it, I know I won’t like it, and I don’t bother to see it. The only exception is Groundhog Day, both because it’s one of the best scripts ever written, and because in that movie Murray’s character gets his comeuppance for all his assholery, and after hundreds of years finally manages to be beaten into a likeable person! It is nice to see redemption stories sometimes.
In summary – science good, Murray bad.