Arguably, the most anticipated film of the summer is finally out! Are Paul Feig's Ghostbusters worth calling for your supernatural needs? Read our official review to find out!
Paul Feig’s reconstruction of the original 1984 Ghostbusters franchise begins much like a Ghostbusters film should start. A creepy old house in New York City haunts its inhabitants which assembles and pull the group of paranormal believers to become the self-entitled heroes of the film. However, we soon find out that these aren’t just any run-of-the-mill, out-of-the-blue hauntings. A sinister plan is in the works, set to bring the living world to its knees.
It may sound like a classic Ghostbusters plot, but be cautious with that mindset. Paul Feig’s female-driven Ghostbusters is its own film. In fact, it probably shouldn’t even be compared to the first film but, seeing as that’s the measuring stick we go off of, we have to do it. It does pay homage to the vintage 1984 film with cameos, ghosts, story, and jokes, but it has a very different feel to it. The pace, rhythm, story, and characters are all very different. Where the original was comedically-smart with a major supernatural twist, the new version inserts an unnecessary amount of jokes to try and make the film side-splittingly funny. However, it ends up falling flat and exhausting. There are still a lot of hilarious moments, to enjoy, but even more that muck up the plot of the movie.
The plot of Feig’s Ghostbusters is remarkably more simplistic than its predecessor. In the first film, we got to see things from the perspective of Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis’ characters. It was understandable and enjoyable getting to see their character’s possession from the evil spirits. In the new version, Rowan North’s (Neil Casey) only motivation behind wanting to take over New York is because he was constantly bullied and wanted his own powers. A villain like this just seemed like a weak enemy to start the series off with. Wrestling enthusiasts would attribute it to a “Squash Match”, where a top guy/group faces off with a scrawny nobody and pummels them to show off their skill. Give credit to Feig, though, when his villain achieves part of his goal, he becomes far more formidable than first anticipated. I just wish I could’ve understood his character more and how he came in contact with the ghosts he was serving.
A lack of explanation and depth of character was a glaring issue, overall. When a supernatural phenomenon would happen the new team would explain the situation in the most scientifically way possible, leaving many of us cavemen types tilting and scratching our heads. There were even some situations that the Ghostbusters never even explained. To me, if you can’t explain something and don’t even bother to try to, then it doesn’t need to be in the movie. This leads me to my point about depth of character. It’s really hard for audiences to connect and understand characters if they don’t give us a reason to care. 2016’s Ghostbusters doesn’t do a great job of giving characters a backstory. Three important characters felt like one-note roles. The villain, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). While Kevin and Holtzmann were hilarious and fantastic, at times, I had trouble connecting with them. Even when Kevin, who was by far my favorite character based on Hemsworth’s superior acting skills, is possessed like it shows in the trailers, I was numb to it. I think they were hoping audiences would care but I found myself laughing and feeling indifferent to the dramatic moment. As for Holtzmann, McKinnon plays a socially-awkward genius with a few screws loose. It’s funny and entertaining but very linear. I wanted to see more range out of McKinnon but there was barely any to show.
As for Melissa McCarthy’s character, Abby Yates, this wasn’t her normal goofy/silly adaptation of a character. In fact, I really enjoyed Abby, mainly because of McCarthy being a little more reserved than her more recent roles. On the other hand, Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert felt misplaced, at times. In the beginning, we mostly follow Erin as she tries to get tenure at the school she teaches at. She’s really the catalyst that sets everything in motion. However when she joins the team, she gets lost among the other larger characters. Erin still contributes and has some hilarious lines but it just wasn’t as big compared to her teammates. The biggest pleasant surprise was Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan. Before this, Jones was relatively unknown to the public. Despite the fact that she’d been on SNL for a few seasons. Personally, I’ve followed her career over the last few seasons and only knew her as the loud, intimidating, sexually charged comedian she portrays on the sketch comedy show. Going into this film she was the actor I was most concerned about. She does not disappoint. Out of everyone, Jones shows the most range while creating a character that could relate with most members of the audience. Jones will impress a lot of doubters and naysayers with this role.
Another problem plaguing the film is it’s choppy editing. Usually, most audiences don’t have to pay too much to the editing portion of films. That’s the mark of a good editor, when you don’t have to notice it. Ghostbusters’ editing issues are obvious. It’s easy to tell all the scenes left on the cutting room floor because there are portions of the movie that just don’t make sense. It’s as if they second guessed a lot of scenes in the editing bay. They even maneuver a dance scene into the credits that explains why the villain had done what he did. I’m not saying they should’ve left the dance scene in the movie but it’s just an overall poor choice of planning to even have all of that in there, in the first place.
What the new Ghostbusters does have going for it is that it’s still very entertaining, hilarious, and action-packed. Actually, this is the most thrilling of all the Ghostbusters films. There is an epic fight scene that really shows off their fighting skills. In an instant, they went from supernatural eggheads to warriors, defending their city. It was quite refreshing to see since the original team didn’t do too much of that.
Overall, the new Ghostbusters is a good start to rebooting the franchise. It’s going to make plenty of money based on the premise and cast, alone. However, there will be those who hate it. As I said previously, this shouldn’t be compared to the original versions. Despite that statement, it still will be and for that most fans won’t be able to see it for the movie that it is. It’s supposed to be a fun, entertaining supernatural movie. Even though I had quite a few issues with it, it’s still an entertaining ride and that’s what is supposed to matter. It’s obvious that there will be sequels coming out, especially after seeing the after credits scene. That being the case, anyone bashing the films better get used to seeing these ladies on the big screen again. For they are the new Ghostbusters we’re gonna have to call, from now on.