Ghostbusters (2016) Review: An Extremely Bad Idea…The Movie

After months of angry YouTube comments and Tumblr posts, the film that nobody asked for and everyone waited for is here. The all-female reboot of Ghostbusters is upon us. Now unless you are a toddler or a millennial who couldn’t be arsed to watch a film older than 2014, the original Ghostbusters was a 1984 hit turned cult classic starring four blue-collar goofs who teamed up to take on the forces of the paranormal and hilarity ensues. Ghostbusters became a staple of 1980s culture so you can understand why people wanted a 3rd film so bad.

Columbia Pictures

However, 30 years later, Harold Ramis died and the dream was DOA. Then Sony came out and said that they will reboot the franchise with an all-female cast and all hell broke loose. Feminist and Anti-Feminist battled for months on social media over who was the most sexist for liking and not liking this idea. Let me start off by saying this, if you are comparing this movie to the 1984 original, it will NOT meet your expectations and it never was going to. The original Ghostbusters had too much working in its favor and was almost like the perfect accident of writing, actors, timing, and wit.

We begin with Kristen Wiig who plays a teacher at Columbia University, after a book she co-wrote years ago resurfaces on the internet, she goes to see Melissa McCarthy in an attempt to restore her reputation. Instead, she gets roped into a ghost haunting adventure at an old museum and hilarity ensues, except it doesn’t. After being fired from all their jobs because they claim ghosts are real, the women decide to open a ghostbusting business upstairs from a Chinese restaurant and the story shifts into drive. Now there are a lot of complaints here so where to start?  About 5 minutes of watching this, I immediately started thinking about the Scooby Doo films from the early 2000s. The sad part is, this one has much more in common with Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed than Ghostbusters. The CGI and visuals made me think that the Mystery Machine was going to crash into the Ecto-1 at some point and that they were going to play a game of basketball against the Harlem Globetrotters.

Columbia Pictures

Speaking of cartoons, this movie IS a cartoon. These characters push the realm of believability off a cliff and don’t look back. Let’s start with Chris Hemsworth, he plays the male version of Janine Melnitz except his character is literally too stupid to breathe air correctly. His entire arch is being a receptionist who doesn’t know how to use a phone. Even the villain is an idiot with no real reason to be a bad guy. Neil Casey plays Rowan, an anti-social bellhop who wants to destroy the world because people call him creepy at his job. The problem with making your entire cast a group of morons is you feel nothing for them as people because you don’t believe any of these people would really exist even in a comedy like this and best believe this is a comedy. While the original Ghostbusters was a bit more subtle and a lot smarter with this comedy, this version takes the SNL route and instead, tries to deliver comedy a mile a minute. They attempt to hit a joke every 30 seconds but the jokes about have a 35% hit rate. With so many contrasting styles, you can’t tell what they were aiming for here. They start off playing it straight but then proceeds to get less and less believable with as the film progresses.

Kate McKinnon who plays the oddball scientist like Egon Spengler in the original, while at first, she comes off more annoying than entertaining, more her character turns it on in the later stages she actually becomes the best character in the film. Leslie Jones comedic timing is the best out of anyone in the cast. She was indeed the breath of fresh air needed to survive the clunky writing. Wiig and McCarthy don’t really stand out but they aren’t bad either. The film openly mocks the YouTube comments written about it during the production stages. Right before I was about to give this reboot a glowing recommendation, the 3rd act happened.

Columbia Pictures

 I felt like they could have done so much more here. I mean they say they don’t want to be the original Ghostbusters but 60% of the jokes here are all tongue in cheek references to 1984. All the original Ghostbusters characters from the 80s make a cameo and there is even a post-credit reference to Zuul. It’s hard for people NOT to look at the 1984 film when you play the theme song about 5 times in the movie. You go out of your way to set up your own separate universe but you can’t go longer than 2 minutes without going “See…see, you remember Slimer right? See…see” After a while, you just ask yourself why didn’t you just put these actors as themselves and save Cinemasins at least 3 hours of work for his next video.

Ghostbusters is flawed as hell and I couldn’t really get over the outdated CGI and overall tone but there is enough charm here not to make you hate it completely. It isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it’s just there, people will forget about this in 3 months like it never happened. The cast of ladies are great; it’s literally everything else about it that fails. I would give this movie 1 star but there was potential to make an entertaining and joyful film here, unfortunately, Paul Feig and the failed SNL comedy wasn’t the right group to find it.


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