In a “staunch” act of “defiance,” YouTube critic for the popular Cinemassacre channel James Rolfe said that he would not review the new “Ghostbusters” movie in his latest “non-review” video. In a whopping six-and-a-half minutes, Rolfe outlines exactly why he won’t see the latest Paul Feig film with reasons that include, but surely are not limited to, the following: The trailer “looks awful”; the “Ghostbusters” franchise “officially ended with the death of Harold Ramis”; the name of the film, “Ghostbusters,” implies a connection with the original story and character that supposedly is not present; the fact that the film “takes advantage of the younger generations” who might not have seen the original and may watch the new one without feeling “the prerequisite of having to see the other movies”; and that now whenever you look up the movie, you’ll see “‘Ghostbusters’ 1984” and “‘Ghostbusters 2016.'” Watch the video above if you wish.
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Rolfe runs through more complaints, like that the original cast members only appear in cameo roles and that there’s not enough fan service for those who grew up with the original film, but it’s difficult to take any of his so-called criticisms seriously not just because they’re petulant and childish but mostly because he refuses to actually see the movie. The fact remains that Rolfe has harshly judged the “Ghostbusters” marketing campaign and has unfairly extended that judgment to the finished film. Though he fully admits that the film may be good, and that he sees many bad movies “knowingly and with pleasure,” his ostensibly fixed principles regarding reboots, the original film’s integrity, and awful-looking trailers keep him from spending a dime towards it. He’s waging a war against the new “Ghostbusters” movie by refusing to pay it the slightest attention. Well, except, the video of him saying why he won’t see it.
Of course it’s Rolfe’s prerogative not to see “Ghostbusters”; neither Feig, the film’s cast, nor Columbia Pictures has made the film mandatory for the viewing public. Yet Rolfe’s public refusal to see the film makes it impossible to take him seriously as a critic, if one did so to begin with, because actually seeing the thing you’re purportedly criticizing is a non-negotiable mandate. However, it mostly calls the veracity of his reasoning into question. Considering that many of his complaints aren’t based on the actual text (how does he know the new “Ghostbusters” movie has no connection with the original story if he hasn’t seen it yet?), it doesn’t take a giant leap of logic and faith to presume that his ideological problem with the film stems from the fact that it stars four women in a previously male-dominated franchise. The gendered outcry around the film has dominated social media and YouTube comments for months now, with fanboys tripping over themselves to defend the original film as if it were a religious text and not a goofy comedy, and to prove they are in fact not sexist just because they’re harshly targeting the film sight unseen. Seeing as fan communities have embraced Batman, “Star Trek,” James Bond, and “Planet of the Apes” reboots (just to name a few), it’s very hard to believe that a new “Ghostbusters” movies is somehow the final straw for these male audiences. There could possibly be no other reason, right?
Anyway, the new “Ghostbusters” movie opens on July 15th in theaters nationwide. See it before you criticize it, or don’t see it and then don’t criticize it with the expectation for it to be taken seriously. The choice is up to you.