The newly released Ghostbusters trailer doesn’t break a lot of new ground, except for it’s gender-swapping. In fact, I suspect it was put together to offer only that major change, because much of it is entirely familiar, calling back to the 1984 film through settings, slimings, and character types.
Considering how reactionary a large portion of the public has been concerning even switching up the gender roles, I suspect making everything else look familiar was a good bet. I ended up mostly enjoying the allusions and callbacks. The trailer knows it owes the source material too–it gives credits for the original film. Kate McKinnon appears to be an even goofier Egon, and Melissa McCarthy fits into the mold of Ray.
More problematic is the clear connection between Leslie Jones’s character, Patty Tolan, and Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddmore. Tolan, like Zeddmore, is the not-a-scientist of the group and also the person-of-color. Plenty of people have criticized the repetition, stating outright that Tolan could have been a scientist quite easily. Instead she’s an MTA worker, which is at least one step better than Zeddmore, who almost entirely lacked backstory.
Jones has spoken back to the naysayers, pointing out that the trailer isn’t much to go on. She also points out that there’s nothing wrong with being an MTA worker and shared a message she got from an MTA worker fan celebrating seeing the representation.
Although the portrayal of white women as scientists and black woman as street wise MTA worker is definitely problematic, due to the focus on similarities to the original film, I can’t help but hope that all these tropes of the first film will be twisted in the new one. After all, not turning these tropes would make the film mostly pointless. Furthermore, Leslie Jones is spectacularly funny. She exudes strength no matter what character she plays. Case in point: the muffin-missing manager on the SNL skit “Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base.”
Only time will tell, but for now, I remain hopeful in my anticipation of the new Ghostbusters.
For fun, I link for you the teaser recut with the original theme song. Enjoy!