Do You Need To See The Original 'Ghostbusters' Before The New Movie? Not If You Don't Mind Missing A Few Jokes
The day that sad, close-minded misogynists have feared and fans of actual comedy have waited for is drawing near. The all-women reboot of Ghostbusters is due in theaters on July 15, and no amount of sexist internet vitriol can stop it. Seeing this movie is already a high priority for me as a fan of the original franchise and of this new ghostbustin' squad, made up of comedy royalty: Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kristen Wiig. But the hateful grassroots campaigns that are determined to sink the movie have only strengthened my resolve to do everything this single moviegoer can to make it a success. So what if you want to buy your ticket to watch these ladies kick ghost ass and also be hilarious, but you're a total Ghostbusters noob? Do you have to see the original Ghostbusters first to enjoy the new one?
Before I answer that, let me just say that if you haven't seen the original Ghostbusters , that's a pop culture blind spot that I highly recommend you correct. The 1984 movie brings together three parapsychologists (Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd) and a non-sciencey New Yorker (Ernie Hudson) together to save the city from malevolent paranormal forces manifesting in all kinds of visually interesting/gross ways. Annie Potts plays the guys' understanding secretary; Sigourney Weaver is an early client and also Murray's love interest; and Rick Moranis is her geeky neighbor, who gets in too deep when a ghost takes up residence in Dana's body, not just her apartment. It's not on Netflix, but there are plenty of other places to download or stream the original Ghostbusters . Trust me, it's worth you're time, especially if you're a Murray fan.
If that's not an option, don't stress. Director Paul Feig confirmed in March of this year that his Ghostbusters would not be a direct sequel to the 1984 original and its follow-up, 1989's Ghostbusters II. At a press event for the premiere of the movie's trailer (as reported by HitFix), Feig explained why he went the origin story route instead of introducing these new characters as torchbearers of the tools and techniques invented by the first crew. “I didn’t like, personally, the idea of them being handed technology, ‘here’s how to do this,'" Feig said. "I wanted to see it develop."
Ghostbusters virgins won't have trouble following the plot of the new movie. But there are callbacks a plenty, including cameos by all three surviving original Ghostbusters (Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler, passed away in 2014.), Weaver, and Potts. And if people around you are losing it over lines that are going over your head, you are safe to assume that they're references to famous gags from the '80s originals.
But as long as you don't mind letting some jokes and their meanings fly by, the new Ghostbusters is totally safe for anyone who hasn't seen the first two movies. Though, to reiterate my first point: you really, really should. If only to improve your own quality of life.
Images: Columbia Pictures; Giphy (3)