|Even the mascot wants no part of this|
Most people (my age and a bit older) regard 1984's Ghostbusters as a classic. It had all of the workings of a successful summer blockbuster. Now I know that Mike and I go on and on during our podcasts about the glorious 1980's, but there's a solid reason for it; Back then the studios didn't rely only on eye candy and short attention spans to sell tickets, they actually banked on substance. If a film had no real heft to it back then, odds were high that the film would fail.
Nowadays, a huge budget and a forgettable song from the moment's talentless siren, is all you need to fill the theater. Sorry, but as a movie lover, I need more. Even when a sequel/reboot/re-imagining/whatchamacallit of 80's films come out, they're usually just emptiness surrounded in candy-coated shells parading themselves as a worthy successor. "Just because you throw a cat in an oven, that don't make it a biscuit!" (Wesley Snipes in White Men Can't Jump)
You all know where I'm about to go with this. Just because three out of every four critics (75%) are afraid of being called sexist for denouncing a film with an all female lead cast, I will be honest and give you my fearless review. Is this movie sexist? Kind of but not really. But it's no worse than the many decades of women in films that were used for nothing more than being pretty little things, housewives, and irrational psychopaths. The more I think about it, it's actually funny that every male in the new Ghostbusters fits into one of four categories; They are either shown as dumb, cowards, assholes, and/or evil.
Maybe it's important to bring men down a notch so that women can finally establish themselves as capable in movies? Or maybe I'm reading too much into this whole thing? It is just a comedy. A comedy that's not very funny nor worthwhile. I actually hate the modern approach that has been taken with the making of this movie. My complaint is not about the talented cast themselves, but about nearly every aspect that surrounds them. Even something as simple as the musical score is ineffective. The original score and soundtrack from 1984 helped to connect us to the scenes and characters. This time around, I can't even recall there being a score in this.
The story is also just a redo of the first's plot, but with different characters and today's technology. Come to think of it, this is no better than last year's Poltergeist remake. Just like with that film, Ghostbusters struggles to connect us to the characters and uses homages to its original to make itself worthy. That's not good enough. Also, the movie is so basic that even the big budget action scenes are as inept as last year's Pixels. But Pixels didn't have something that this one does.
This film has got writer/director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) to soften the blow. The overwhelming amount of failures of this film in contrast to the original, should be enough to have me rating this as the worst film of the year, and have me rolled up into a ball in my closet while listening Ray Parker Jr.'s original theme song and spouting obscenities to my suit that quit fitting me long ago.
However, Feig has found a way to orchestrate this wad of mediocrity into a watchable film. He's like the Ambien that you've taken and has gone into affect as you witness the carnage and heartbreak of a multi-car pile up; It sucks, but you willingly accept it. The acting talent here is also wasted. What charm that there was before, is all but gone. In it's place, is the same old shtick that temporarily makes you giggle and quickly forget what it was soon after. Kristen Wiig (Paul) and Melissa McCarthy (The Heat) are exactly what we're used to; inhibited (Wiig) and sarcastic (McCarthy). These two talented actors are held down by their type-casted standards. Leslie Jones (Top Five) is also held down by what the studio thinks is a funny black woman.
Besides being loud and controlling, she even wears a belt that says, "No You Didn't". That would be funny in a Soul Plane sequel, not here. All of their jokes come off like a weak sitcom, except that there's no laugh track to signal when I should bust a gut. Thank Gozer for Kate McKinnon (The Big Gay Sketch Show) and Chris Hemsworth (Vacation). Along with Feig's direction, they keep me interested throughout. McKinnon brings an eccentric energy that made me smile even when I was grinding my teeth. Hemsworth's sense of humor and his star presence, were practically the only things that had me laughing.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Ghostbusters 2016
The Good- The Ghostbusters worthy intro scene, the props (devices) looked realistic and not too flashy, the clever-fingered Dean, Hemsworth's boomerang sandwich, and the balloon attack
The Bad- The cameos from most of the original cast (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts) were forced in for a cheap validation, instead of a cool connection. The Villain (Neil Casey, Kroll Show), is bland and devoid of depth. He just scowls at people and mutters to himself about how much he hates the world. Funny? No, no it's not.
The Ugly- (Ozzy Osbourne accent) "What in the f***ing hell am I doing in this Goddamn movie? Is this another Austin Powers picture? I like boobies and parsnips. Sharon!"
The new Ghostbusters is a complete waste of time. It's easy on the eyes but that's it. Instead of having Slimer fly into the camera at the end, we get him cruising in a car with his over-exaggerated girlfriend (big hair and puffy red lips) for cheap kid appeal. If that's not symbolic enough of this insult, I don't know what is. Wait a second! Shouldn't she be driving the car now?! Stay after the end credits for a tease into the inevitable sequel.
Rating- 4 out of 10
PG-13 | 1h 56min | Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | 15 July 2016 (USA)
Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon