So, here’s the thing, I’m old. Not ancient, mind you, nor over the hill. But I ain’t as young as I used to be and that’s for damned sure. For instance, the first time I saw a Ghostbusters movie I was sixteen years old and hadn’t even had my first car accident…yet.
Straight to the point: I loved the original movie. The creative team behind the film found a wonderful kernel of joy that propelled a great movie. I laughed, I cried, I kissed six bucks goodbye (and that included popcorn).
So now I’m forty-eight years old, just saw the reboot, and I loved it. NOT because it’s the old Ghostbusters, but because it’s the new one. Here’s a secret, and I hope you’re listing Hollywood, reboots, and sequels can NOT be plain old rehashes of the original material. While giving a respectful nod to the original material is important, something fresh and wonderful must be brought before the audience or just don’t bother.
Is this an easy balancing act to pull off? Hell, no!
Fans are fickle and it can be hard to figure out what tripped their trigger in the first place. However, with Ghostbusters, the new team seemed to nail it (perhaps because they were fans of the original, to begin with). The 2016 Ghostbusters did not try to be the same 1984 movie in female form. Instead, they gave us a completely different set of characters with different personalities. However, the camaraderie and friendship that endeared us to the old team is also alive in the new. In other words, they found that kernel.
Forget the ghosts and the gimmicks. The original movie was about misfits. The ghostbusters were losers who nobody would believe and nobody would hire. Nevertheless, they had a lot to offer the world and each other and, through friendship, they overcame evil and saved the city. That’s what made Ghostbusters great and that kernel was front and center in this new film.
Sadly, Hollywood gets it wrong as often as they get it right. Exhibit A in this case would be Men In Black II. In MIB II, we got a sad rehash of all the gimmicks of the first movie with none of the heart. I have also, so far, been unimpressed with the Star Trek reboot.In the new
In the new Star Trek, we have great actors who do a fine job of recreating the original characters, but JJ Abrams has shown he has no understanding of what makes Star Trek great (here’s a hint–it has to do with good stories to tell). Now, to be fair, I have not seen Star Trek: Beyond yet so I can not judge that film–the other two, however, needed another director badly!
As I write this, I know that I am soon to be judged by this same standard. Crazy Lucky: A Space Romance is due to be released by Double Dragon Press next month. It is a sequel to another book of mine, The Adventures of Crazy Liddy, that came out last year. The first Liddy book was a straight up adventure story, and I purposely decided not to do another adventure plot for the new book. Instead, I wrote Liddy into a romantic comedy to shake things up. She’s still Liddy, and I think my audience will still connect with the great kernel of who she is as a character–without my having to rehash old plots and gimmicks. How successful will this attempt prove to be?
Time will tell.