I’ve left you, my dear readers, completely without content for the last couple of weeks. I apologize for that, it was one of my frequent bouts of writer’s block and procrastination. And since I’ll be going on vacation next week, I’m going to do my best to give you some damn good content before I leave.
As such, let’s talk about the new Ghostbusters movie.
Alright, first off, I want you to know that the original Ghostbusters (1984) is one of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve loved it ever since I first saw that classic on VHS during the mid-nineties, and I’ve loved the franchise ever since. It is, to me, essentially perfect and there is no way in hell any other comedy is going to match up to it.
This all means I knew that there was no way in hell that this new one could stack up. But, this being the internet, every crazy mother*$%#er decided to blow up the “it’s not gonna be as good” to a bloody war crime, with an all female cast being burned in effigy for the crime of not being male. I basically avoided getting into any social media pissing bouts with anybody (a good policy for anyone who frequents the internet), but for those of you who want to know my opinion on the over the top reactions to something that is perceived at “ruining” childhoods, I refer you to here.
As for the plot, it focuses on Kristen Wiig’s Erin, a Columbia University professor looking for tenure. She gets a bit of a fright when she finds out that a book about the supernatural she wrote with her former friend Abby (Melissa McCarthy) is getting a reprint. She goes to convince Abby to pull the book, but a genuine haunting drags her back into the paranormal along with Abby and the engineering savant Holtz (Kate McKinnon). When another ghost sighting brings the New York Metro employee Patty (Leslie Jones) to their door, the four ladies team up to capture ghosts and prove to the greater world that supernatural phenomena exist.
Oh, and there’s this one guy who looks like the 20-something son of John C. Reilly (Neil Casey) setting up devices to give ghosts more power and trying to destroy the world. There’s that, too.
Okay, now that we got the recap out of the way, let’s get to the problems. The characters all feel a bit too immature and cartoony, for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, the actors have a great chemistry and make these characters work for them (especially Leslie Jones, who nails her part right in the head and is probably the most mature character of the main cast), but it just seems kind of off, especially given the fact that the original team all felt like functioning adults. There’s also a lot of what I’m calling Cameo Bingo, where you can’t seem to go twenty minutes without seeing a recognizable face. You can bet all the surviving cast is there to make cameos (save for Rick Moranis, which I found kind of weird), plus a bunch of guys you’ve seen elsewhere and some SNL talent, with the odd celebrity cameo here and there. And while I feel that all the jokes work in the original, there are several gags which fall flat in this one, particularly a running gag of the ladies being forced to look like frauds by the mayor (Andy Garcia) and his bitchy aide (Cecily Strong). Also, Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin is almost completely unnecessary throughout.
But like I said, this movie is not bad. The actors are all game for the material, especially Jones and McCarthy. Wiig and McKinnon are good too, even if their characters seemed slightly more annoying than and quirky than they needed to be. The chemistry between everyone works too, with Wiig and McCarthy working well with each other and believable as two former friends reuniting for a common cause. The action works well and the special effects (particularly the ghost’s designs) are all pretty damn good over all, with even the neon color pallet winning me over after a while. The cameos, while somewhat gratuitous, also work (highlights being Bill Murray as a debunker of the supernatural and Sigourney Weaver as Holtz’s mentor), with only Ozzy Osbourne’s cameo falling completely flat. And the story is actually a pretty good spin on the original’s, even if the whole “evil mastermind” thing doesn’t entirely work.
Overall, Ghostbusters (2016) is a film that’s worth your time and not deserving of the mountains of hate heaped upon it for existing. Go forth and check it out yourself. Seriously, it’s better than you’d expect.