Notes on News: The Ghostbusters reboot trailer is the most disliked trailer on YouTube – but is the backlash really misogyny?

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Earlier this week, the trailer for this year’s Ghostbusters reboot became the most disliked movie trailer ever to appear on YouTube.

At the time of writing, the trailer currently has 721,728 dislikes, compared to just 230,187 likes. It is also the only trailer in the list of YouTube’s top 100 most disliked videos of all time, which also includes Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ at number one with six million dislikes.

The trailer has met with strong criticism since it was first released in March, but users seem to be especially intent on pushing for a high number of dislikes on the video, with comments reading; “We made it to 500000 dislikes” and “Let’s get it to a million”. It has also been noted by many YouTubers that some negative comments are being removed from the video, which could be further propelling users to dislike the trailer instead.

Some have also speculated that the mass criticism began when it was revealed that the main characters would be played by an all-female cast – including the likes of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig – and that the strong negative reaction to the film’s trailer is driven primarily by misogyny – with supporters highlighting derogatory comments such as “When are people going to learn that women aren’t funny?”

While there probably are people who dislike this trailer simply because the main characters are women or people who just make misogynistic and sexist comments because they are internet trolls, it seems highly unlikely that these people represent all 721,000 people who have disliked the trailer. As far as I see it, people are more likely to be infuriated because there was no call to have Ghostbusters remade. The original film is considered to be a classic by many, and therefore did not need a reboot. It is not an outdated film, a remake of a film that flopped at the box office, nor is it part of a series with several films. Fans of the original consider it to be perfect the way it is, which leads to the question of why it is being remade in the first place. If it is not being made for the original fans, who are unhappy with the reboot, who is it being made for? It is the equivalent of remaking such cinematic monoliths as The Goonies or Back to the Future – which many people would be at they very least sceptical about and would be naturally inclined to dislike it, as it is taking something already deeply loved and iconic and altering it with no need to. One commenter said, “We aren’t disliking the video because of the women….we are disliking it because it looks like it’s going to f***ing blow”.

The trailer also displays a lot of lazy slapstick humour and weak jokes. There may be better jokes in the actual film, but if there are, why were the better jokes not showcased in the trailer? The CGI of the reboot also leaves much to be desired, especially compared to the graphics of the original 1984 film, which were very good for its time and still hold up today. With a $154 million budget, there is likely to be a huge disappointment with the relatively poor graphics for the vast amount of money being spent on producing the film. Other possible reasons for such a negative response to this trailer are the rehashed library scenes, rose-tinted nostalgia in comparing it to the original film, and the seemingly contrived “girl power” message. Not only is mainstream media jumping to conclusions to claim that the dislikes must just be about sexism, director Paul Feig has also taken to arguing with fans who have criticised aspects of the reboot on Twitter. Notably, despite the filmmakers priding themselves for catering to progressive values, racial stereotypes are also identifiable within the trailer too. The white Ghostbusters are the intelligent scientists, while the black Ghostbuster portrays the “sassy and uneducated” stereotype – though this could just be reflective of the structure of the original film.

If the people disliking the trailer simply because women are the main characters were anywhere near the majority, surely there would be a huge number of dislikes on the arguably bigger films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had a female character at the helm of it’s story – but this did not happen, which suggests that the dislikes here are mainly driven by the quality of the trailers and the key aspects of the film being advertised. If the dislikes are for these reasons, a Ghostbusters reboot trailer with male characters would probably have been just as badly received, if not more so. Fans of the original would still have reacted negatively, and those who defend the trailer because it features women as main characters would have no reason to defend the trailer at all.

In a society that is, arguably, becoming more fair and equal, it is important that entertainment reflects this. The existence of internet trolls and users making sexist comments in relation to this film is no doubt misogynistic. But it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of Ghostbusters fans have genuine criticisms about the reboot – mostly attributed to the fact that it is a franchise that was not in real need of a reboot, as well as the large budget for the relatively poor graphics and jokes. This is definitely not because “women aren’t funny”, as one sexist user stated, but because the lines the actresses have been given, in particular the notoriously funny Melissa McCarthy and Saturday Night Live‘s Leslie Jones, have most likely not allowed them to make the most of their talent.

Ghostbusters is due to be released in cinemas on 15th July. Watch the universally panned trailer below.

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Wessex Scene News Editor 2015/16, keen gamer, Pokemon fan and music lover. I often write about new film and game releases, and the occasional gig!

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