B and I spent our Monday afternoon watching the movie fake geek boys love to hate. And I am seriously torn. Because I really, really would like to see this movie as a child. But then I’d have missed out on all of the delicious adult subtext, plus the overturning of cultural norms. But the special effects would’ve blown my young mind. Oh, dilemmas.
So, my dear friend and fellow Orbit blogger Aoife has already told you what’s best about Holtzmann. She absolutely steals the show. She is 100% not there for the straight male gaze. I love that. I love that the only somewhat sexualized woman was for women. And I’m so sad I’m almost completely straight, because being Holtzmann is now my new life goal, and I just don’t think almost completely straight people can even come close to managing that.
What else did I love? I loved that women unapologetically took up space without even giving a shit about catering to the male gaze. They were there to live their lives. They were there to hunt ghosts, and save the city, and maybe eventually get their secretary to properly answer the phone. I love that there was no need to shovel a romance in.
I love that men did not swoop in to save the day. No, the ladies were quite capable of this themselves, thanks ever so much.
I love that no one made jokes at Abby’s expense or even so much as mentioned her weight. I love that no one slut-shamed Erin for lusting after the pretty boy secretary, and how she was brilliant and ambitious without apology. I love that they chose Leslie Jones as Patty, and that she had as much of a hand in saving the day as anyone. I love that she got what is probably the classic line: “The power of Patty compels you!” Unless, of course, the classic line is actually, “I guess he’s going to Queens – he’s going to be the third scariest thing on that train.” Or maybe it’s “It smells like burnt baloney and regrets down here.” She got some damn fine lines, is what I’m saying.
I loved that the movie didn’t make these women into honorary guys. They did the womanly things, like having their nails painted, or wearing feminine clothes, but most critically, they related to others the way women do. There wasn’t rivalry and reluctant teamwork. Everyone was all in for each other. Everyone was allowed to care for each other and the people around them, to nurture but also still kick ass. It’s a subtle thing I noticed, and it brought me nearly to tears, because we don’t usually allow our women action heroes to act like anything but one of the boys (when she isn’t being presented as something for the hero to fuck).
I loved that no one was treated as less than the others.
I loved that there were no “Sexy Ghostbusters” outfits. I adored the fact these women were allowed to wear shapeless overalls and get dirty and not have to look beautiful or show skin doing it. And yet, the movie wasn’t completely without sex appeal – we got Kevin for the straight ladies, the gay men, and the bi and pan everyone. We got Holtzmann for the queer women. And, as a sop to the straight men, we got a little bit of conventionally-attractive sexy woman in Jennifer Lynch, the Mayor’s assistant.
I loved that the Mayor was a man who would have completely failed without the strong women around him.
I loved the cameo with Janine. I loved what happened to Bill Murray’s character. I loved the callbacks and shout-outs to the original.
I adored the design and colors of the new Ghostbusters car.
I loved that the villain was 100% creepy and also instantly recognizable to anyone who’s had to deal with a super-entitled creepy white dude online.
And there was a lot more that I loved, but talking about it will have to wait until more people have had a chance to see it.
There were some imperfections. I could’ve done without the casual ableism and ableist slurs. I’m so done with those. It’s 2016: surely we can do better.
I missed the shit out of Janine. I wish Kevin had been just a bit more like Janine. But then, there’s probably no one like Janine.
The pizza was inauthentic as hell.
And… well, honestly, I could’ve done with a bit more shirtless Chris Hemsworth. Ladies, if we are going to turn the tables and objectify the menfolk, we need to do this thing properly and thoroughly, okay?
I’ll admit something: I didn’t love this one as much as I loved Spy. And I think it’s because my expectations were sky-high. I went into Spy expecting to be disappointed and was blown away by it being feminist as fuck. I knew going into this that the new Ghostbusters was magnificent, passing every test. So there wasn’t much room for surprise, although in many places, it did surprise me.
I seriously do wish, though, that I could experience it again as my 9 year-old self, then report back. Because I have a feeling that would unlock whole new levels of awesome. I still have a lot of nostalgia for the first one, since I haven’t seen it since childhood and haven’t looked at it with eyes that can see its flaws. I think that’s the only reason this one didn’t blow the original completely away for me. When it comes to Netflix, I’ll be running a test, watching them both back-to-back to see what my adult self thinks.
If you’re looking for a bit of summer afternoon fun that won’t leave you grinding your teeth in frustration at the way women are treated, this is the movie to see. It’s funny, fast-paced, and exciting as shit, with outstanding special effects, and not a bit of sexist bullshit. Get to the theatre before it’s gone!
And whatever you do, do NOT leave the theatre until the credits are completely over. Trust me.
I already can’t wait for the next one!