I Ain’t Afraid of No Review!
I’ll be completely honest I didn’t realize how big of a following the original “Ghostbusters” had. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in the 1980s? Still the most incredible thing about this 2016 reboot of the 1984 classic is the harsh and fierce backlash that it received. We’ve seen countless remakes throughout all of film history of many beloved classics (and of movies from the 1980s). Yet, this is the one that the internet couldn’t handle? I would think after “Ghostbusters 2” (which is a fine sequel but nothing special) that perhaps we would have all been tempered with expectations regarding the franchise.
Never the less; let me state my own personal experience with the franchise before I go in say what I thought of the 2016 remake of “Ghostbusters” (yes I’m calling it a remake not a reboot). I love the original “Ghostbusters”. I grew up with it as a kid and as I’ve gotten older it’s become one of my favorite comedies of all time; resting comfortably somewhere in my top ten comedies of all time. The sequel as I’ve gotten older I’ve liked less. I still enjoy it and like to throw it on after watching the first “Ghostbusters” but it’s not even among my favorite comedy sequels (which is a pretty short list). I watched a little bit of the cartoon series “The Real Ghostbusters” (but didn’t really get into it) and played a little bit of the 2009 video game. After years of development hell I think the idea of a “Ghostbusters 3” wasn’t something I was really interested in seeing (especially after the passing of Harold Ramis). Then the remake was announced and internet exploded.
So let’s move on to the 2016 version. And, I’ll be honest I pretty much hated all of the marketing for this movie. I hated the trailers, I hated the clips, I hated the posters (I really hated just about everything with the exception of the cast and director). It wasn’t that it was a remake that I was hating (I’m someone who actually really appreciates the new “Robocop” for instance) it was the marketing that was garbage. This has been one of the worst recent marketing campaigns in movie history. Then when the reviews came out that started another firestorm because some were pretty positive and some were negative, so everyone is taking sides; I became excited to see the movie so I could finally judge the movie for myself and figure out if this really was going to be the worst movie this year (like the trailers made it out to be). I went into the theater and……. spent quite a bit of the movie laughing.
The 2016 “Ghostbusters” is not the worst thing since the Yankees dropped four games in a row to the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship Series like I was expecting. Which, that within itself isn’t a compliment considering how low my expectations were. However the 2016 “Ghostbusters” does provide a pretty solid fun experience. It’s nowhere near as good as the original film but it does provide a solid introduction into a brand new set of characters that I would honestly like to see more from.
The plot of the 2016 “Ghostbusters” is similar to the original 1984 version (with a couple of key differences). The movie centers around 4 misfit scientists (well actually to quote the movie “3 scientists and Patty”). The four believe in the paranormal and want to try to prove the existence of ghosts by capturing one. This leads to them starting their own business and creating new technology to do that. The four of them then eventually get caught up in an evil plot from someone who wants to unleash ghosts upon the Earth.
The four Ghostbusters are Erin (Kristen Wiig), Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian (Kate McKinnon), and the New York City Transit worker Patty (Leslie Jones). The best part about this movie is the four women that lead the film. They all have incredible chemistry with one another and terrific comedic instincts. The four are their own unique characters that share some similarities with the original four Ghostbusters but stand on their own apart from their counterparts. Melissa McCarthy shows a lot of restraint in this movie by not falling back on her normal shtick being able to play louder when the scene called for it and subdued when she had to be quieter. I thought I wouldn’t like Leslie Jones in the movie but I actually quite enjoyed the energy she brought. Kristen Wiig is as good as she ever was here, but the real stand out here is Kate McKinnon. Either you’re going to love her or really be annoyed with her. For me though, McKinnon easily supplied the most laughs and provided fun moments throughout the movie.
They have a secretary as well this time played by Chris Hemsworth named Kevin. This movie really makes me want to see Hemsworth do more comedies. He is another huge standout as the dumb hunky secretary. Some won’t like how dumb they make him but for the type of movie this version of “Ghostbusters” is I think it more than worked for the tone that director Paul Feig. Chris should try doing more comedies he has incredible comedic timing.
So what didn’t work about this movie? There are three things that jump out in my mind; the fan service, the villain and the third act. The amount of fan service and winking that is done towards the original honestly becomes overbearing and just painful to watch. I don’t mind fan service in proper doses but this was way too much and not well thought out at all. Everyone gets a special cameo and none of them (with the exception of Ramis) had a good one. It was a stab to my heart to see Bill Murray used in such a cringe worthy way (to put it in perspective he did better work in the “Garfield” movies). I mean how can you make Bill Murray not funny? Shame on you movie. The villain in the movie is terrible as well. His motivations were dumb and half assed and didn’t bring anything to the movie story wise. He quite honestly detracted heavily from the film. Why did we need a human villain? Aren’t ghosts and demons villain enough? And the third act is just bland and generic. There is maybe one or two moments that stand out (one involving the Ghostbusters logo). But after that it feels like the typical third act blockbuster destruction finale without any of the execution to make it really fun. The movie does well in building the premise to this third act (like the original did) but it doesn’t have the payoff like the original did.
Is there anything this movie does better than the original though? Well I would say the “outsider” (or the fourth) Ghostbuster is better implemented into the group and the plot in this movie than the original. Erie Hudson always felt like more an afterthought in the ’84 version whereas Leslie Jones’s role felt more fleshed out and thought through. I would say that the creepier moments might be around on par with the original. But, then again I didn’t find it all that scary to begin with (even as a kid). I would say though I think I laughed more through this remake than I did watching “Ghostbusters 2”. However I think “Ghostbusters 2” is better put together from a story structure point of view.
So all in all I came around a bit surprised by the movie. The movie isn’t perfect for sure and isn’t as good as the original movie but I did find myself laughing quite a bit from the movie. Does every joke land? No they don’t (especially in the third act) but I think this movie has far more laughs then misses. The story could have used some polishing and the fan service needed to be cut out but I loved these four women together. The movie achieves something that I wasn’t expecting. When watching this movie I was watching it as its own thing and not really thinking about the original film. I thought I would hate it and instead thought it was a pretty solid movie. The biggest mistake Sony made when making “Ghostbusters” is spending close to almost 144 million dollars and to have visual effects look so subpar. But, again I came away having had a good time and did not get the worst movie I was expecting to get.