Ghostbusters (2016) Movie Review
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts… or internet trolls.
The new GHOSTBUSTERS has had a lot of scrutiny. The very idea of rebooting the film had people losing their minds. But when news hit that they were casting women in the popular roles, the internet was filled with ignorant, hateful comments. Then the first trailer broke, fueling the already preemptive negative feelings that they are ruining a beloved classic. To be fair, that trailer was pretty terrible. No, it’s not as funny as the original (neither is GHOSTBUSTERS II or nearly every other series reboot), which has nothing to do with the female cast. However, GHOSTBUSTERS is proton packed with silly fun and slimed with ectoplasmic visual entertainment.
Like nearly everyone from my generation and above, I love GHOSTBUSTERS. Only 5-years old at the time of its release, I loved the playful way these funny guys (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson) caught the exciting and dangerous ghosts. As I got older, the ghost catching part wasn’t nearly as interesting as the humor, which I didn’t initially catch on to. A comedic blockbuster that had a little something for everyone, GHOSTBUSTERS is a rare form of unlikely greatness. But I’m not here to review 1984 GHOSTBUSTERS. I’m here to review 2016 GHOSTBUSTERS.
Personally, much like the superhero universe or Bond movies, I’ve always felt that GHOSTBUSTERS was a perfect world to expand upon in different ways. And casting some of Hollywood’s funniest women (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones) using a proven comedy writer/director in Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS, SPY) thirty years later was a brilliant way to return to the action. Hoping for the best but worried about the worst (again, thanks to that awful trailer), GHOSTBUSTERS lands on the positive side in the middle.
One of my worries was that the film was going to follow too closely to the original without creating its own mark. Thankfully it takes a slightly different approach in story but with plenty of delightful callbacks and even a handful of familiar faces that should please fans. The problem is that it’s just not as consistently funny as it should be. Many of the jokes are generic and easy (crowd not catching a stage diver or goofy dancing). The cast does their best to elevate the humor but they aren’t always given a lot to work with. But it’s not so much the type of jokes that are written, some of it is extremely funny, but it’s the lack of jokes that are written. Too many times the dialogue is empty of humor not utilizing the talented improvisational cast to its best potential while they are stuck standing around reciting meaningless lines.
There’s something strange about that GHOSTBUSTERS’ theme song that gets me excited every time I hear it. The film throws about four different versions at us throughout the film (Fallout Boy feat. Missy Elliott, Walk The Moon, Penatonix, and the Ray Parker, Jr. original), setting the proper tone for a silly movie about a team of paranormal scientists and one subway toll operator who investigate and catch ghosts. The visuals are amazing, as the effects team does a wonderful job filling the screen with dazzling, colorful and spooky PG-13 graphic candy for our eyes to consume. Speaking of eye candy, in a pleasant reversal of the sexes stereotype, Chris Hemsworth proves he can wield the humor as quite possibly the dumbest pretty boy receptionist seen on screen.
GHOSTBUSTERS isn’t a knockout but it should squash the naysayers and is welcomed popcorn entertainment to call on in this unusually dry summer movie season.
It never occurred to me that GHOSTBUSTERS would be presented in 3D, but it definitely enhanced the experience. I’m not usually a proponent of the 3D format but this was a visually heavy-laden film with ghosts, slime and proton streams flying off the screen, directly at the audience. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary but it absolutely adds to the fun.