Ghostbusters (2016) review
When Sony got the idea to reboot Ghostbusters, I can’t think of another movie that got so much controversy and backlash online. The comment sections of YouTube and countless forums were just full of people proclaiming “Your ruining our childhoods” or “CASH GRAB, CASH GRAB!”. Even before the first trailer (the same video that is the most disliked video in YouTube history) hit the scene, it was clear that people had already made their opinions that the movie would be bad even without seeing what was in it. On the other side were hard supporters that would play the trump card that if you didn’t like the new movie, then you’re automatically sexist. It seems that while Captain America: Civil War was in theaters, the Internet was in the middle of it’s own Civil War over Ghostbusters.
I’ll say immediately that while I was not on the hate train, I was feeling uneasy about a reboot. Looking back at the original (which I’ve already reviewed), Not only is the 1984 film great, but it’s one of the greatest movies of all time. Considering its combination of genius writing and smart adlibbing, the odds of lightning striking twice for a reboot is a billion to one odds. Let’s see if Ghostbusters at least came close.
Dr. Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig) is a Colombia teacher who teaches physics. As she is preparing for tenure, she discovers an old book she’s written about the existence of the paranormal is for sale online. She confronts her coauthor, Dr. Abby Yates (played by Melissa McCarthy) who is still studying ghosts along with a crazy inventor Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (played by Kate McKinnon). The three agree to examine a recent haunting at an old mansion, where they encounter a ghost. They fail in capturing it, but that excites them enough to go out on their own when they all lose their teaching jobs.
Their next assignment is from a MTA subway worker Patty Tolan (played by Leslie Jones). They test out a proton pack and get a recording, but they are dismissed as being a hoax. When Patty joins, the group continues to develop their equipment until they are called to a local heavy metal concert where they show up in full gear and suits. They capture the ghost and receive mass attention. Once their secretary Kevin Beckman (played by Chris Hemsworth) gets possessed, he activates a machine that allows thousands of ghosts to invade New York, leaving it up to the Ghostbusters.
Now that this reboot is out, I can say that the movie is defiantly not the disaster that many people thought this would be. However, it’s also not a good movie. I can only describe the experience as a total “meh”. Much of it has to do with the fact that while the Ghostbusters themselves are fine, the movie Ghostbusters just isn’t good. It’s clear that director Paul Feig did his best to hire some funny women, and they are. The chemistry between these ladies really shows (with the exception of Kate McKinnon who is hit or miss).
The story of these underdogs rising to the occasion is too close to the original. Though it’s not telling the same story, it’s structures very similar, so if you’ve seen the original, your likely to already know what’s going to happen (even if you haven’t, it’s underdog story feels very bland).The effects of the ghosts are also hit and miss as while some like Slimer and some balloon creatures look neat, the rest still look too obviously CGI. Finally as a comedy, that too is…hit and miss, but it’s not the proper humor for a Ghostbusters movie. The original was very quick and witty, while a lot here can go on too long and are even too low brow. A good example is a Patrick Swayze joke (it references Ghost) that at first was funny, but they go one another minute and again to describe the joke. This is where you needed an editor.
Speaking of which, while not a long movie, this does feel surprisingly slow-paced up until the ending, so I could imagine several kids feeling board.
I’ll give this two and a half Slimers out of five. Paul Feig may have understood how to get the right look of a Ghostbusters movie that combines laughs with scares, he does not have the right pace nor enough of an original story to separate it from the original. On it’s own, its meh, but even lower when compared to the 1984 classic. I can’t really blame this movie as no matter who was in the suits, it’s just never going to match the genius of Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston. So who am I gonna call? The original movie even though this Ghostbusters tried hard.