Film Review – Ghostbusters (2016) (Second Take)
Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters (2016) is here whether you like it or not. This film has gotten it fair share of flack since it was first announced. First, it was because it was reboot, then a female cast, and then the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. While fans of the original Ghostbusters (1984) may moan about this being a reboot and an unnecessary retread of a beloved film, it is now in theatres to either delight or evoke displeasure in its viewers.
Full disclosure: I came into my screening of Ghostbusters ten minutes late which rendered me a bit confused as to the relationship basis of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig). I gathered later on that Abby and Erin had grown up together and bonded over being taunted and their belief in ghosts. Both are also involved in academia and I assume that is how Abby became friends and colleagues with Jillian. After “successfully” documenting a ghost and releasing their footage online, all three are kicked out of their respective colleges for their pursuance and belief in ghosts. But they are fighting the good fight, so they set up shop on their own to continue their research, while also employing a secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who is not too bright, but incredibly hot. On their first investigation, they meet MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who experiences a couple of incidents with a not-so-nice prison electrocution ghost. Patty is now a believer and recruits herself as part of the Ghostbusters team. There always has to be a villain in these films and weird, creepy Rowan North (Neil Casey) fits the bill in his determination to release hordes of ghosts onto NYC.
I tried to separate my viewing experience with this Ghostbusters from my childhood memories and associations with the original. There are obvious similarities between the two, but the four main characters were different enough that I could not really tag who was playing who from the original. I saw them more as a mixture of the original four. Kevin is a combination of a couple of characters and Rowan is just was off in his own new Ghostbusters world. The cameos of a handful of actors from the original are a nice surprise, and they did not play their Ghostbusters (1984) characters which helped immensely.
Yeah, I laughed. I’m not going to say I did not enjoy parts of the Ghostbusters because when you put Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy together, you are going to get some good laughs. Unfortunately, some parts went a little too far in terms of trying to garner laughs, and others just were not funny. There is a lot of trying to get laughs versus let’s do something original and hilarious. By the end, I was ready for it to be over.
The CGI in Ghostbusters is pretty good and even better when you realize some of the ghosts are actors in makeup with some CGI effects. I loved the ghosts in the original and that library ghost scared the s**t out of me when I was little, so I am a little biased. The slime is still there (and Slimer) so it is all good. Unfortunately, I saw the film in 3D and had a major headache by the end. It is definitely a post-conversion 3D job that will not look good unless you are watching the film with your head pointed straight ahead the whole time. Go to a regular showing for this one and save your money.
Ghostbusters (2016) is an okay film that tries to tread a new path for the Ghostbusters legacy. The question is did this film have to be made? Nope, but if there is name recognition, in demand actors, and a director synonymous with comedy, why wouldn’t the studio want to make tons of cash? It does not have a great reputation right now, and it will be interesting to see how many old and new fans make their way to theatres this weekend to invoke nostalgia and to make new memories. It at least has girl power and a cute guy to objectify. Stay after the credits to see the studio solidify its need for a sequel if it makes enough money to warrant it.
My piece of advice is to see Ghostbusters with an open mind and try to separate from the original.