Well, it was bound to happen. The new Ghostbusters film has been released which means that the big question on everybody’s mind is:
“Is it the awful dumpster fire that I knew it would be?”
No, not really.
“So, wait. Is it good?”
Don’t get ahead of yourself. No, it’s not good but it’s not awful either. It’s a middling movie that is ultimately forgettable. That’s the worst thing I can say about this movie, and actually it kind of upsets me to say that this movie is just lame. It’s got a couple of pretty good jokes but the overall product just fell flat. It was soporific at best and annoying at worst.
There’s been a lot of hate surrounding this movie, and I won’t deny that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with a reboot of the original Ghostbusters. It’s one of those perfect movies that came out at the right time and hit all the right notes. Spectacular cast, excellent writing, groundbreaking visuals, it is was just so astounding for the time that any type of remake would squander the magic of the first. Honestly, this didn’t do that. I don’t even consider this a part of the franchise (even though it technically is).
The biggest controversy surrounding the film is the shift from male Ghostbusters to female Ghostbusters. Frankly, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I enjoyed Kristen Wiig's performance since she was the most dynamic character. She had real issues surrounding her character. A professor seeking tenure who’s old friend has put up their old book for sale. There’s drama there. At least something exciting. Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones are where the majority of my problems with the movie lie. They don’t feel like actual people. The 1984 Ghostbusters had their four characters who each had interesting personality traits and banter. While Dan Akyrod’s Ray and Harold Ramis’ Egon are the two straight men who are never in on the joke that their line of work is ridiculous, the true genius lies in Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman. Bill Murray's performance solidifies the original Ghostbusters in the annals of film history for his excellent comedic timing and masterful delivery throughout the film. Sadly, the 2016 Ghostbusters severely lacks in a dynamic team build. The four leads are all caricatures making the overall effect of the film fall on its face.
My biggest problem with the film is not in the actual actresses. They did a good job with the characters they were given. Kate McKinnon’s performance became a little too over the top for me until it eventually became a straight up nuisance. No, the real problem lies in the writing. This film was written like a standard comedy film, drudge in a sea of shitty comedies, instead of being written as a Ghostbusters film. Ghostbusters (1984) is a groundbreaking comedy film. It went with a concept that could’ve ultimately failed if it hadn’t been written so self seriously. The original cast were not in on the joke. The new cast is in on the ridiculousness from the outset, and they want to remind you every ten minutes: “Hey, remember that other movie that this one is based on? Huh, do ya? Because we do.” And don’t even get me started on the cameos. By God, they were abysmal. Another huge issue that I had was the blatant lack of continuity. The capturing of the ghosts and the process that comes along with it are explicitly stated within the film. They capture the first ghost and hooray! A joyous celebration ensues. Yet, later in the film the Ghostbusters are straight up murdering poltergeists left and right (which in itself is ridiculously stupid). The writers blatantly disregard the rules that they themselves established! These are points to show that the actresses aren’t the issue here. The real problem is lazy writing. This practice is what should be boycotted. If you’re going to remake a universally beloved film then try your damnedest to make sure that the plot is fool-proof with the potential to be better than the original. Sadly this is a film that appeals to the lowest common denominator of film goers.
The real star of the film is Chris Hemsworth. He’s absolutely hilarious and stole every scene that he was in. He was given the role of the bumbling, stupid secretary and he excelled in the performance as Kevin Beckman. He really is the standout of the movie and has a comedic touch that would fit right in with the team from 1984.
Again, I may have ripped the film pretty hard but it’s because I really love the original Ghostbusters, it's a classic that is still one of the most popular films in the world 30+ years on. The remake isn’t awful but it isn’t good, certainly not as bad as the immediate panning it received when the first trailer was revealed. I hope that before Hollywood decides to remake a classic film franchise they get the writing department in check, no one wants their precious memories chewed up and spat out for the sake of a few dollars
So, I leave you with my final thoughts. One of my favorite movies of all time is the original RoboCop. I firmly believe that it is a masterpiece of a film which rocketed satire and action into another hemisphere. And then the 2014 RoboCop reboot came out. It wasn’t bad by any stretch and further explored the "what it is to be human" dynamic, but it was entirely forgettable. Ghostbusters 2016 is like that but a lot more forgettable.
Oh, and don’t think that the audience didn’t notice how team Ghostbusters beat the bad guy. Photon beam right to the genitals? Real subtle.
2 out of 5
+ Ok Performances
+ Some Good Laughs
– Unoriginal and Uninspired
– Lazy Writing