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‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Gets Theme Song…Proves Reboot is a PC/Franchise Cash Cow?

Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures

Author: Nick Lauer

The theme song for the rebooted Ghostbusters film, which has an all-female cast that does not AT ALL imply political correctness, is the old theme song remixed with heavy metal-like harmony over the original 1984 melody. The song also uses the same lyrics as the original (Except for a 30 second rap by Missy Elliott), except someone took a little too much liberty with the auto-tune. Let’s be clear, this is no different from a bad cover version of the original song. I hate most cover versions, and find them as an excuse for singers to avoid creating their own creative expression.

Rarely do I see an ‘updated’ version of a song and say, “This adds to the original or speaks for itself”. Usually, it’s simple. Slow down or speed up the original song with a different artist’s vocals, and you have gold. For the Ghostbusters reboot theme song, Fall Out Boy essentially cranks up the noise, and in some parts it feels like it was written in the same musical vein as FOB’s 2013 song, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up). There is declaratory nature to it. What song isn’t? Especially these days, where every artist feels they have to send a message. The theme song for a movie is just that, it sets the theme and tone for the movie. This is the tone presented in the Ghostbusters reboot:

Ray Parker Jr.’s original 1984 version (which was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars) was made with a slightly spooky but upbeat 1980’s funk. It was ingeniously made as a reflection of the commercials in the film that the Ghostbusters made to advertise themselves. Yes, it had the trickling of creepy noises, but it was fun because Ghostbusters was a comedy. Things have changed a lot since the 1980’s, in terms of what defines a genre.

If this rebooted version was released in the 1980’s, it would be considered a parody of horror films and ghosthunting. Over-the-top humor, which will be brought to you by Leslie Jones (who apparently thinks being a loud black woman isn’t a stereotype), that has no degrees, volumes, or tonal builds into funny moments. This reboot really feels like a parody of the original. It has to be, because in no universe does this kind of theme song get approved as the lead song for the reboot of a comedy classic, unless they plan to essentially take a shot at the (more tame) 1984 classic.

At this point, this lazy theme song (along with scenes in the trailer that imply duplication of scenes from the classic) show what we’ve known all along. Columbia Pictures isn’t hoping to make a good film, they want to profit off an established franchise. A third Ghostbusters was in development hell, until Harold Ramis (known better as Dr. Egon Spengler in the original two films) died. This is when the studio greenlit another Ghostbusters film. The cast is assembled, and in no time, Paul Feig signs on as director. I should point out he is known for parody-like films like Spy and The Heat. These films take female characters and put them in male typical roles, usually serving to point out that women can do whatever men can do. That’s great, but we already knew that.

Chastain: “Remember me? I stopped Osama Bin Laden…but you wouldn’t know because my film was called pro-war and I lost the Oscar to a whiny girl in yoga pants.”

I’ve been aware of strong women since Ellen Ripley. She stopped an evil alien infestation FOUR times , while all the men around her were cocky and arrogant. I knew that when Sarah Conner stopped a Terminator with a bad ankle and a compactor in a factory. I knew that when Rey kicked serious Sith butt, and when Maya stood in front of her CIA boss and said, “We need to do something about this monster!” I already knew what a strong women was. You know when I didn’t know that? When they spent the movie saying, “I can do whatever you can and you’re a misogynist!”.

Force-Fed Stereotypes and Misinterpretations

I didn’t see it, when Jennifer Lawrence called Katniss Everdeen the greatest female heroine ever. She spent four films crying about “Peeta”, and begging Haymitch to help her figure out what to do every time. Whenever she took charge, she was completely ignorant to the situation around her and only wanted what she needed to survive. She is a whiny brat, but since my generation is conceived of whiny brats who think they have all the answers and that everyone else is out to get them, I can see why that character appealed to people (Or any Jennifer Lawrence character for that matter who always seems to throw a pity party). Do you see what I’m getting at here? Great characters don’t spend all day needing to prove they are great. They just do it!

Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures
The full team, ‘Ghostbusters’ hits theaters on July 15. Image: Columbia Pictures

Usually, those who have to say it end up stumbling for most of the film, until they finally get their crap together at the climax when there is no other option but to survive. We dare criticize these ironies and we’re called horrible people? We criticize them, because we think people can be better, rather than petty.

Who is to Blame?

Columbia Pictures has been doing this for a while. When Sam Raimi was forced to stick to a set release date and had no control of the script for Spider-Man 4, he left, and Columbia Pictures decides to reboot the franchise with a Tony Stark-like Peter Parker of emo and ego traits. Both Amazing Spider-Man films were undersold, and never came close to Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy in prestige or at the box office. Men in Black is about to join forces with…the team from 21 Jump Street?! What the heck?!

So, I guess this “updated” theme song does stand as an accurate theme for one thing: the laziness of Hollywood. Enough with remakes! Enough with the ‘Oscar-bait’ films that follow a narrow, set precursor of items! Enough is enough! It is time for someone to walk into every boardroom in every studio, put a new script down, and say, “I have something better! It’s original, I’ve worked years on it! Given a chance, audiences will too (if it’s as good as I think it is)! If not, take a chance and read it yourself!” In that scenario, is this a good theme song?

These are the Ghostbusters and Ray Parker Jr. is the only one who can ever say he made a theme song for that story.

For the Record…

On side note, I want to personally thank Bill Murray. A man who was tripping on his own feet for years about being in the third installment, forced Dan Ackroyd to keep rewriting the script to compensate if Murray wasn’t involved. And then he signs on to cameo in this atrocious reboot, without a second thought! His priorities are spectacular. His own character Peter Venkman would have blasted him for acting like a sell out.