Who’ya gonna call?

Logo used by the "Ghostbusters" in t...
Logo used by the “Ghostbusters” in the film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When there’s something strange, in the neighborhood,” sang out Kiddo at the dinner table. “Who’ya gonna call?”

“Ghostbusters!” his brother shouted.

I looked at my youngest child. “How does he know that song?” I wondered aloud.

“We were playing Ghostbusters at Nana’s.” Kiddo replied before launching back into the song’s refrain. “You know Nana’s house has ghosts,” he added once the song ended.

“Is that so?’

“Yep. We heard strange sounds in the attic last time we played up there.”

Kiddo has been hearing strange sounds everywhere recently, a victim of his overactive combined with perhaps not my finest parenting choice. Over the weekend Lamont and I took Kiddo (and only Kiddo) to see the updated release, so controversially featuring female leads (oh, the horror!) I say perhaps because apparently the casting choice wasn’t supposed to be the most worrisome part of the movie – there were ghosts in it too.

When I originally heard they were remaking Ghostbusters, I thought it was simply more evidence that Hollywood in general, had run out of either a) original ideas or b) courage to risk producing them. When I read that the casting choice, I rolled my eyes. It was nothing personal against the actresses themselves, I find them multi-talented as well as funny. It just felt gimmicky in this case, as if Ghostbusters name wouldn’t be a draw enough. I had no intention of rushing out to buy tickets to see it in the theater. Waiting for the DVD would do.

Then, LT was invited to go and play elsewhere leaving Kiddo alone with Lamont and myself on a dangerously hot and sticky afternoon. Let me pause to say that I have a newly reinforced respect for parents of only children. Therefore as the day progressed and Kiddo mentioned that he was actually interested in seeing a movie that didn’t feature talking animals or thirty-year-olds pretending to be teenagers fighting costumed monsters, I found myself suddenly a lot more open-minded.

This is not a movie review site, but for what it is worth, I enjoyed the show. While it could be considered a remake of sorts of the first Ghostbusters due to similarities in the high-level plot, there were plenty of differences (even excluding gender reversals) for the movie to stand on its own. I will warn you that the opening scenes are fairly intense, especially for younger viewers. If you have some of the smaller set in tow, you may wish to linger by the concession stand a while longer. That is unless you really don’t care about enforcing bedtimes or enjoy engaging in conversations about alternate realms of existence.

Back to dinner.

“Now remember Kiddo, the movie was one hundred percent fiction. We talked about this.” And we had. At length. Both before the movie started and after the closing credits. We talked about it again that first night when Kiddo begged me to stand in the doorway after lights out. And then again when he thought he heard a knocking sound (which was just the TV downstairs), and again when he wondered what the dog was barking at (Lamont hadn’t given Her Royal Highness her evening treat fast enough). I’d known before I bought the tickets that the evening would be rougher than most, but, just like the movie, Kiddo’s performance well exceeded my expectations.

“I know mom.”

“And none of the ghosts were real. Someone made them up with a computer.” I’ve been teaching my son how to layer photos and stitch videos together. Could I turn this into a teaching moment?

“I knnnnoooowww.” (cue eye roll)

“Okay. Just making sure.” That’s a no.

“I got it, mom.”

Yeah, I thought, until bedtime. Even though we had the discussion about what is real and what is not and what goes on behind the scenes, the movie had achieved what all movie makers hope to achieve – the magic of suspended belief. As far as Kiddo is concerned the actresses who played the characters in this version are Ghostbusters and not just some feminine stand-ins for a thirty-two-year-old classic.

And this makes me happy (okay a little old too, but mostly happy).

Did you know that the movie makers actually tried to make the story true to science? Well, as much as any paranormal horror/comedy can be. And when they used words in the script like quantum and superfields, they weren’t just making up them to sound smart like the term, unobtainium, found in some other scripts, or using the terms in the wrong context. The filmmakers actually bothered to pick up the phone and called MIT physicists. Female MIT physicists.

Yep. It’s good to know that my boys are growing up in a time when women in science aren’t the ghosts they once were. Maybe, in thirty years time (or less) when Hollywood decides it is time to remake the movie, again, a casting choice like this won’t seem nearly as gimmicky, and a whole less controversial.

Because in the words of LT, “I no ‘fraid of no ghosts.”