I’m going to start off this column with a little disclaimer from a guy that works out here in this crazy “industry”: all we want to do is make the fans happy, but we have to feed our creativity too by keeping things fresh and interesting.
It’s a fine line and a tough one to navigate especially in this Internet-socially-networked-Twittering day in age. Fanboys are averse to change, but the filmmakers don’t enjoy doing the same things over and over (unless money is involved in which case, like a certain familiar face, we’ll do anything you say). On one side of the coin: the formula sells. Things that are familiar are embraced and generally are a sure bet for the studios (why do you think we’re about to see A-Team, Battleship, and countless other remakes and reimaginings in the next few years?). But on the other side of the coin: the formula can backfire and if something is played out and overwrought, you have another Batman and Robin or Home Alone 3 on your hands.
Troy, why are you bringing this up? Didn’t you lash out about nitpicking people last week? What are you a one-trick pony? Yes, I did talk about nitpicking last week and no, I like to think of myself as a half trick pony. But the reason that I bring it up is to spawn a bit of a discussion among the fans about something that’s always confused me (and to provide a little bit of a forewarning).
Here’s what confuses me, and what I was hoping might be the topic of discussion amongst the various comments and message boards that this article is fortunate enough to reach… the general temperature that I’ve been taking from the Ghostheads on the message boards is that nobody wants things to change, especially when it comes to Ghostbusters III conversation. Ranging from responses like “My God, if Will Ferrell is in this movie I swear I will boycott it”, to one of my personal favorites, “If that pot smoker Judd Apatow is involved in this movie, it’ll be awful.”
First of all, new actors are inevitable, but in regards to the second comment, you know how much self-medicating the lead stars of Ghostbusters partook in back in the day (and might still), right? That argument against poor Apatow and only a small part of the humor in his films always cracks me up. But in all seriousness, the confusing thing to me is why the majority of responses and concerns always seem to revolve around a fear of things changing when it comes to the new movie…
…but for all that fear of change, one of the biggest criticisms against Ghostbusters II is that it followed the formula of the first film too closely.
In fact, drilling down even more specifically, there’s someone (and I won’t mention names) in the community that doesn’t care for the second film because it was a “rehash of the first film.” But in the same breath, he says that he also didn’t care for the fact that they changed the Ectomobile from the first film. This certain fan was so outraged that there wasn’t an all-new story the branched out from the formula where a 50-foot giant walks the streets of New York (play on words somewhat intended to elicit visuals of Stay Puft and Lady Liberty selling themselves), but yet was also outraged when the creators of the film took some creative license and changed things up within that formulaic structure.
So where does the real fear exist as a fan? That things will change? Or do you fear things will be the exact same thing that you’ve already seen? I’m curious to hear what your concerns as a Ghosthead are with the things to come in the next couple years.
As a point of reference, and maybe even a discussion point – let me point out something else that I’ve found intriguing. Without diving into the ugly history of it all, I remember when the 88MPH “Legion” comics first came out; there was quite an outcry that the series essentially dismissed that the second film ever happened. But in playing the new Ghostbusters Video Game (which I cannot stress how amazing this game is, if you’re still holding out – run, don’t walk to pick it up especially now that the price has dropped) – nobody has mentioned the fact that it essentially dismissed a good chunk of the second film as well. And (gasp) they changed the proton packs. And all of the changes seemed to be seamless. In fact, I can’t imagine a Ghostbusters pack without a slime tether now (and it seems that such additions have carried over to the IDW Comics).
I have to forewarn you, there will be things in the third Ghostbusters film that will be different. How will you react? Will you enjoy the fact that something fresh and new is being presented to you, or will you be nostalgic for a 50-foot prostitute, I mean, Marshmallow Man…?
Speaking of discussions let me quickly answer a question from the old reader mail pile. This one was actually posted over on GBFans by good friend, Dan AKA:
“Can I have you khaki Hot Topic Ghostbusters work shirt?”
Yup — send me your address and it’s yours. If I can find it.
Wow, that one was way too easy – you guys have to send me some tougher questions for next week. Drop me a line at email@example.com – no question is too big, unless you want me to come help you move your apartment or something in which case I might have to reconsider my offer.
[The Private Sector is a weekly syndicated column written by Troy Benjamin presented every Wednesday on Ghostbusters.net, GB Fans, and Proton Charging as an op-ed look at the goings on in the world of the Ghostbusters franchise. Learn more about Troy at www.troybenjamin.com]