I had a whole pre-amble written but you know what, it’s not necessary. I love Ghostbusters. You probably love Ghostbusters. A remake sounded like a bad idea. The trailers looked bad. People were angry. The movie is out. People are still angry. I saw it. It’s totally not bad.
People were ready to hate this movie and I get it. Ghostbusters is one of the most beloved franchises out there and the original is an all-time classic. So is the sequel, I don’t care what anyone says. Now the movie is out and if you don’t want a dark glimpse into the world of “how DARE you have an opinion!” I would maybe stay away from the comments sections of anything to do with this movie. Except for this one. You’re in a safe place here, don’t worry!
The story of 2016 Ghostbusters is, well, largely the same as the story from the original Ghostbusters. Three scientists with an interest in the paranormal come together to seek out ghosts, to then later be joined by a fourth member of the group and together they have to take on a force that is ready to wipe out New York. It’s the origin story and it plays out with most of the same beats you would expect.
I was largely ok with the four leads prior to seeing the film. I’ve enjoyed some of their work, and disliked some of their work, so I had no strong feelings in either direction. They all have a 50/50 success ratio in my eyes, though I admit I wasn’t overly familiar with Leslie Jones, only having seen bits and pieces of her SNL gig from the last couple of years. While Jones does double down on screaming her dialogue a little more than necessary, I thought all of them did good work here. McCarthy is largely the straight person, with Wiig a close follow-up, only occasionally getting to bust into her usual brand of oddness. Kate McKinnon…well she certainly goes for it. I can see why her performance may divide people. She’s more quirk than character, acting strangely for no discernable reason and barely coming off as an actual human being. That being said, it made her interesting to watch and she had a couple of my favourite lines based purely on the unique way they were delivered. Chris Hemsworth is enjoyable as well, even if his role amounts to nothing more than “he’s way, WAY, dumb.”
While the cast is certainly giving it their all, the jokes still do fall flat fairly often. There are some clear moments of improvised banter that go nowhere (I wonder if that had to do with adjusting to a PG rating), and a running gag involving McCarthy ordering soup is DOA every single time they go back to it. I also found the pacing to be a bit off in a few scenes, where it felt like dialogue that should be rapid fire was given too much room to breathe. So while Ghostbusters didn’t deliver any belly laughs, enough of the jokes hit that I was consistently enjoying myself.
The story, while incredibly simple, did have 2 issues in my eyes. 1) The villain, Rowan, is straight up bad. He’s a creepy hotel janitor who spends all of his screen time spouting dialogue you would expect to find written in the updates of a 15-year-old’s Live Journal. Then he is completely gone for the final act. Ghostbusters has given us numerous memorable villains, but Rowan is instantly forgettable. Also, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I felt they could have used a montage in here. The Ghostbusters go from catching their first ghost, to the big finale where suddenly they are seemingly masters in all forms of combat and weaponry. Even just a 30-second training montage could have helped bridge that gap. Certainly not movie-ruining, but something that stood out for me.
The movie definitely looks fantastic. The visuals are consistently bright and colourful and this is the first time in a good while that I felt the 3D added to the experience. I liked a lot of the ghost designs, though nothing newly created here is going to hit the highs of a Slimer or a Stay Puft (both of whom do indeed make appearances here). Kudos to Paul Feig as he has made the leap from comedy to large scale blockbuster quite admirably.
There are naturally a lot of nods to the original movie, but thankfully this version usually tries hard to be its own thing, with the references not taking up too much space. Some of them are definitely shoe-horned in (there’s no reason for Rowan to ask the Ghostbusters to choose his form other than “hey remember?!” and the post-credits scene is a little on the nose) but usually these moments are fleeting and they don’t wholesale take full scenes and redo them. Oh and yes the original theme song does make an appearance (after a very well-done opening scene that I have not yet mentioned actually) and thank god for that because holy shit the updated version by Fall-out Boy is just inexcusable. Thankfully they only expose it to us for about 30 seconds before we are allowed to go free and hopefully forgot that song ever happened.
I know this is about the most unpopular thing you can say on the Internet right now but fuck it – I liked Ghostbusters. It is a perfectly pleasant watch that comes nowhere close to the classics but doesn’t taint the franchise either. My childhood is still perfectly in tact and don’t worry because so is yours! Your childhood wasn’t raped at all! Unfortunately, it’s not all good news because we still live in a world where people use that expression but maybe we’ll get there eventually! If you hate this movie, fine, if you like it fine. We need to set aside our differences and stop fighting over a silly summer movie most will have forgotten even exists in a few years! Opinions exist! If you can’t handle that people are going to have different ones than you then life is going to be pretty miserable. Movies you like are still going to get made, it’s all going to be ok. Now let’s all have a pleasant weekend and resume this all again when Star Trek comes out in a week.