Kent is on indefinite leave from the podcast, as he continually refuses to adhere to our strict dress code guidelines. Writing in Kent's place is our friend, mentor, and will-executor; Gentry Jones. Gentry is an advertising executive for a local corporate firm that we're not allowed to explicitly name. Gentry will share his thoughts today regarding the remade and cerebral Ghostbusters (2016).
Warning: Some Minor Spoilers Follow
Ghostbusters (1984) was and still is a great movie but it lacked a sort of oomf, that could stick with audiences long after the movie was over. That oomf I'm referring to is aimless and heavy product placement. Have no fear because, Ghostbusters (2016) fixes those mistakes and gives audiences what they crave, bowing down to the corporate behemoths with ease. Now, I know what you're gonna say, "The original Ghostbusters had the refrigerator shot with all of the groceries, and what about the Twinkie reference, or the newspaper shots?" These are all small potatoes compared to what the new and improved Ghostbusters accomplished, casting a wide-ranging shadow on all movies that have preceded it. To examine the many expertly placed product placements is much too great a task, and we'll focus on the few best examples this movie has to offer.
About five to ten minutes in, viewers are treated with possibly the best use of product placement in history. As Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), and Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) encounter an apparition for the very first time at a haunted mansion, the camera switches back from the faces of the main characters back to the apparition. With the camera switching back and forth the tension builds as the ghost moves closer, and before the ghost makes a move, Holtzmann pulls a can of Pringles out of thin air and begins devouring the delicious parabolas. This helps remove any confusing and boring tension from the ghost's presence and allows the audience to disengage from the movie momentarily. In that brief moment, while viewers are with their own thoughts, they can pose some questions to themselves such as: "When was the last time I had Pringles?" "Do they sell Pringles at the concessions?" or "If I had Pringles right now, would I regain a state of childlike happiness". What would otherwise be blatant advertising is craftily concealed behind a comedy-like routine, known as a non-sequitur. This Pringles advert is a giant feat alone, but the innovators behind the film knew they could take it further and take it further do they ever.
Roughly halfway through the movie, we're back with our main characters again Gilbert, Yates, Holtzmann and Patty Tolman (Leslie Jones), and they're munching on some pizza in their office. The scene is introduced on close up's of the character's faces, hiding the true maker of the glimmering pizza. At this point viewers are glued to the screen, unsure where this mysterious but delectable pizza came from. The director taunts viewers with brief shots of a corner of a pizza box, or a side of it, before finally revealing the true creator. As the camera slowly pans out, sitting in the middle of the table are the pizza boxes in full, viewers are relieved to see the familiar face and logo of Papa Johns. The comfort brought by a brand most viewers know and already love is overwhelming. The audience I was with let out a collective sigh upon the revealing, someone shouted "I knew it was the Papa, I knew it." The ability of the movie's product placement to touch audience members hearts in such a way, makes it the perfect flick to see for any occasion.
As the end grew nearer, an epic climax was in order to give this film a proper send off. Viewers were not disappointed as the main characters began a fight against a multitude of ghosts in Times Square. The director wastes no time putting subliminal advertising in the shots of Time Square. Viewers will notice a cameo of a large Twinkie in one of the billboards with a slogan "That's Big". That's big indeed a cameo from the twinkie conversation featured in the original. This is unheard of and really helps push the movie from great to a masterpiece. The other billboards that fill the scenery are just an added bonus to an already spoiled audience.
From the opening scene, the film gives off an aura that's hinting towards something greater. As audiences watch along, they learn that this is a movie they can relate to on a deep psychological level. These characters eat the same chips, same pizza, browse the same websites, even visit the same cities as they do. After the credits roll, audiences pour out onto the streets in search of their nearest convenience stores and Papa John's pizza places to fulfill their cravings that have manifested them for the last 116 minutes. Product and movie have become inversely related thanks to this film's perfect immersion of the two, allowing the movie-going experience to extend long after the end. The filmmakers deserve a lifetime achievement award for this genius work of art that they've created. I eagerly await the future creations spawned from the work of this movie and from the creators themselves.