Ghostbusters 2016 Review

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.

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. 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 while everyone else was too busy getting sunlight and exercise to care. The trailers didn’t give people much hope that the soft reboot would prove people wrong but in the act of fairness, I was willing to give this a fair shake, did it prove the detractors wrong…not really.

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. Now I would say that comparing this film to the original is completely unfair, however, this film is nothing more than a fanservice of the original with none of the true formula that the original had. This is a reboot and nothing from the first two films has anything to do with this one. We begin with Kristen Wiig who plays a teacher at Columbia University, after a book she co-wrote years ago resurfaces on the internet, see 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. For those of you on the “I hate this new movie” bandwagon you’ll be happy to know that the first real joke in the new Ghostbusters is a queef joke…if you are done smacking your brain through the back of your head, I’d like to continue with the review.

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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 got douche chills 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.  Speaking of cartoons, I’ll just say it; this movie IS a cartoon…literally. These characters push the realm of believability off a cliff and don’t look back. Let’s start with Chris “I am Thor” 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. But he isn’t the only moron in this sea of stupid. The mayor of New York played by Andy Garcia and his team of goons try to discredit everything the Ghostbusters do and call them frauds. Not in an “I don’t believe you” way but in a “We know you guys are legit but we’re going to pretend that you guys are frauds anyway even after the entire city is attacked by ghosts in broad daylight” way. 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 about 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.

Considering the fact I’ve spent about 900 words tearing this apart, you think I would give this -5 stars and move on. But honestly, the female cast was all pretty solid. 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. So much shit these women got for being cast and none of them deserve any criticism because they all were pretty good. While every joke doesn’t hit, the ones that do are actually really funny, even something as simple as a running joke involving Wonton Soup. By the time I got to the ending, I felt like that the women’s relationship and banter brought enough joy to justify a decent rating along with getting to shove a dump truck full of crow into the internet’s mouth for all their grief. The film even 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 and everything went to shit.

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Ghostbusters is a straight up cartoon. Why? Well after stopping Rowan who kills himself via his own ghost creation, somehow Rowan is able to become an evil spirit with no explanation and possesses people while acquiring the powers of Mister Mxyzptlk. He manages to turn on his death machine letting loose every ghost in a 50-mile radius of Manhattan. Suddenly we turn into a Spiderman film as the women team up to take off ridiculous looking CGI ghosts in front of a blue screen like Rambo in the jungle. After Rowan takes over Thor, he ‘literally’ turns into a cartoon version of the Ghostbusters logo and grows 200 feet tall to attack the city. The women then turn the Ecto-1 into a nuke and somehow use it to reverse the effects of the portal and make everything normal again. They also turn Wiig and McCarthy’s hair white and of course this was given no explanation given for this either.

I feel like I should be angrier here but I simply can’t muster up the rage to do so.  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 for fuck sake, 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. So who wins here? Feminists or Meninists? The answer here is none of you so fuck off. Ghostbusters is flawed to 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.

OFFICIAL RATING – **

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