Sunday 20 October 2019
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With Ghostbusters, the love story is all about science – by Kris Abel


There are no boyfriends in Ghostbusters. “The love story here”, co-writer Katie Dippold explains to ELLE, “is about four weirdos coming together to form a club, and learning to belong to each other.”

That process we get to follow, which includes the team developing and building their own technology, is the movie’s strongest element as it creates activities for them to bond through their shared passions regardless if those interests find an acceptance from the outside world.

“The way that everybody related to each other really reminds me strongly of my circle of friends from the MakerSpace scene”, creative technologist Alex Leitch says on our show, “the way that we depend on each other, fight with each other, and laugh with each other, and get on each other’s nerves. It really is a very accurate portrayal.”

The tech-speak you often hear in the movie about “cryo-coolers” and “freaking Faraday cages” is all grounded with accurate science, partly supplied by Lindley Winslow, assistant professor of physics at MIT and one of the film’s consultants. She’s responsible for the whiteboard equations you see, the technical descriptions you hear, and the lab equipment chosen, right down to its grimy, garage-like clutter, a surprise to the movie’s producers who were expecting something sleek, with glass and aluminum. “No, our labs are much more like Ghostbusters than what you see in Star Trek” she tells NPR’s Science Fridays with a chuckle.

That depth of detail and history behind the objects onscreen not only gives the characters a much-needed credibility, but also the convincing conversations needed for the actors to convey a passion for what their characters do. That most viewers may not fully appreciate the tech nods to “RF Shields” and “aluminum housings” is balanced out by the way the group follows their exchanges with delightfully goofy dance sequences, including us all in the sheer joy of their own making.

The lack of panic in the way Holtzmann (played by Kate McKinnon) dances after she sets her lab on fire, hinting it might actually have been intentional and under her control, speaks to the joy of taking risks and making discoveries without the need for a long lesson in particle physics.

“I wish there was more of that in the world, in general” Dippold shares, “I hope kids today can watch the movie and grow up with the goal of finding those bonds, not chasing a boyfriend because they ‘need’ one.”

We want our love stories to have happy endings and I wasn’t sure how Ghostbusters could find something that works for this journey, but when Jillian Holtmann (Kate McKinnion) takes an unexpected moment to propose a toast, what should have been a tired trope from countless other movies, I think you’ll be surprised at how it provides the perfect note for what the whole journey means.

Want to see and hear more? Join us at the Innovation Café where Kris explains the new Pokemon craze and the science behind the Ghostbusters movie on  soundcloud and on our youtube channel.

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About Kris Abel:

Our Tech Guru Kris Abel spends his time looking for the coolest people and things to hit the technology scene, as well as new apps and devices you need to know about and he shares it all at the Inspiration Cafe on What She Said Talk heard Sundays from 6 to 7 on Jewel 88.5


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