Ghostbusters <3 NYC (Spoilers)

You know, something that I really appreciated about this Ghostbusters, and it was a fairly subtle thing.

But action movies love to destroy cities. Since 9/11, action movies often model that destruction on… well, 9/11. Because now we know what it looks like when a skyscraper falls.

And I find it upsetting. It’s one of the reasons I often don’t enjoy action movies anymore. I understand why digital artists use the references they have, but it’s just traumatic to me.

And Ghostbusters, of course, takes place in New York City. So I was anxious going into this. But the way they destroy the city looks NOTHING like 9/11. Even when people were running through the streets, there were lot of lights and colors, there were swoopy, colorful ghost streaks that illuminated everything so there was never, ever a moment where people were running through a dark cloud of smoke or debris.


The final ghost monster destroyed the city like Godzilla does, by punching things, by moving through the city like a monster. Nothing fell over, nothing toppled. And the one skyscraper that got destroyed didn’t collapse. It got pulled apart, into a vortex, and looked like a puzzle coming apart. When the vortex closed, it put the building back together.

Not only that, the movie was very 80s in the sensibility that there were tons of aerial shots of New York City, but they did it in such a way that it showed the city as a whole and not the absence of the towers in the foreground.

And that doesn’t mean anything to the young people going to see this movie. But it meant a lot to me as a fan of the first movie, who also lived through 9/11. The team that made Ghostbusters did a really phenomenal job of staying true to the Ghostbusters roots in New York City, but also in erasing the very real tension that comes with even a fictional destruction of America’s Hometown.

So that was something that I particularly appreciated about the new Ghostbusters. It was hilarious, it was scary, it was worthy– and it was really thoughtful in very subtle ways.