The 'Ghostbusters' Trailer Breaks The 4th Wall

by S. Atkinson

The first official Ghostbusters trailer was notable for one thing: how it polarised viewers. Given the number of talented, popular actresses in the movie — Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, SNL star Leslie Jones — the hostility the 2016 Ghostbusters trailer generated, getting over 800,000 thumbs down and only 238,000 thumbs up on Youtube spoke volumes. But now the makers of the film have released a new Ghostbusters trailer that seems to contain a sly response to their haters, and it's too clever for you to miss.

The comments under the original trailer are pretty gruesome, with remarks like "Let's ruin an original movie and make all of the characters women JUST to please misandrist feminists! If that's not sexist, I don't know what is" being the norm rather than the exception. This implies that it was the all-female casting of the movie that upset the audience. However, director Kevin Smith argued that it wasn't the casting but the trailer itself that caused such uproar.

In an interview on podcast Hollywood Babble-On , Smith said “Whoever cut this trailer needs to be sat down, and I’m not going to call for their job to be taken away from them but they need to be scolded. It could’ve been all men with the same jokes, and it still would have sucked. The trailer’s not strong, and that doesn’t mean the movie’s gonna blow, like again the fucking pedigree of this movie is undeniable. There’s no way all these people involved don’t make a fucking funny, at least watchable fun movie.”

And, in the latest trailer, there's a sly reference to the controversy. We get to see a split second moment where a news presenter delivers the following line: "What do we think of the new Ghostbusters? Are they to be taken seriously?" It doesn't just work as a line within the Ghostbusters universe; it also feels like the news presenter is breaking down the fourth wall and addressing us, the audience. So why is this line so significant? It's a smart moment that deflates the whole fuss surrounding the issue of the trailer with humor. It feels like a self-referential tongue-in-cheek nod to all the sexist comments the film has been getting for boasting all-female ghostbusters.

This is also something the intro to the trailer builds on, when a male character says of the ghosts “Whatever it is…no one should have to encounter that sort of evil. Except for you girls, I think you can handle it." This line also works on two levels: as a vote of confidence that these women are tough enough to take on the ultimate evil (and so are perfect for the roles of ghostbusters) and as a sly nudge about the evil of misogynistic internet audiences.

Even better is the way the trailer goes out of the way to prove that these girls are more than capable of handling it. It contains more action than the humorous original, features the girls showing off their ghost-handling prowess even more so than their obvious comedic timing. The entire trailer is built around the concept that these girls can handle anything, and they are to be taken seriously. And anyone who doesn't believe that is missing out. It's amazing, and a message that might have been missed without that one line from the news presenter. So, if there are still any people out there doubting that the upcoming Ghostbusters will be the best addition to the franchise, well. We must not have been watching the same trailer.

Images: Columbia Pictures (2)