Like many people, I was hesitant when deciding to watch the Ghostbusters reboot. It just seemed as though it were another cash grab job which not much care or craft would be put in to. Unfortunately, I feel as though this is the case.
Paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) are dragged into a world of fame and ghost busting (sorry) when Manhatten is invaded by more frequent and interactive spirits. With the help of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) the team must fight the undead and their doubters head on in order to save the city and the world.
First of all, there’s a lot of hate surrounding the fact that the original male roster of Ghostbusters have been replaced with a female line-up, which really isn’t an issue. The team does have some strong chemistry, some funny moments and do in general a pretty good job, the fact they’re women isn’t where the problems lie with the film. I enjoyed the chemistry between Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, despite not being a big fan of Melissa, and I really enjoyed Kate McKinnon’s performance adding a wacky, unpredictable element to the team as well as a mysterious ‘cool’ (for lack of a better word) vibe to the team. Leslie Jones’ character I personally found rather annoying as my preferred type of comedy isn’t what the character tended to display. Simply shouting everything doesn’t make it funny, which is something I struggled with throughout viewing the film.
That being said, there are some funny moments, mainly from Kate McKinnon or Chris Hemsworth, for me personally, who steals the show a bit with some great comic timing and an overall fun performance. However, the majority of the comic moments are out of place, unoriginal gags that fall a bit flat.
Furthermore, a lot of the gags are just winks to the original Ghostbusters films without much reason or purpose. Albeit make reference to and pay homage to the originals as any reboot of a film should, however this film is so jam-packed and obsessed with making in-jokes and nods to the originals that it loses it’s own self-worth and just becomes an obsessive love letter to the older movies. It doesn’t do itself justice and stand on it’s own two feet, which is just rather disappointing.
Adding to the mix a clunky pace and a narrative which is seemingly just there to sew together different skits, jokes and references without any discernible flow ultimately leaves the film lacking in creating an engaging story which the audience can invest in. I found myself being taken out of the experience due to poor jokes, a jarring pace and an overwhelming use of CGI. Don’t get me wrong, the CGI isn’t bad, but there’s just so much of it that it becomes just very dull. On top of that the designs of the ghosts could have been better and scarier (with less of an electric vibe). Just because the tools are there to create a world over-run by CGI ghosts doesn’t mean it works. Bigger and more isn’t always better.
The practical effects on the other hand are very good, and do feel like they’ve encapsulated the aura of the original films. The new gear, equipment etc. looks great. The characters and costumes themselves don’t feel as gritty and real as the originals but rather more cartoonish, which I get is what the studio were going for but it didn’t really work for me personally.
Overall, director and co-writer Paul Feig has made some poor decisions with this project, which is unfortunate because a lot of his other movies have a strong fan base. However, this film is let down by poor dialogue, poor character development, a lack of original comedy, an overwhelming usage of CGI and an off pace, clunky narrative flow.
The film industry is being swamped with just “passable” films that are there for a quick cash grab and not much more. They’re reboots to play off of nostalgia, sequels and prequels to use a pre-established fan base and in general lack creativity and originality.
Ghostbusters (2016) is one of many of these just passable films and has taken most of the heat a lot of these kind of films deserve more of, but sadly get away with too often. It’s not the worst film ever, but it’s far from the best and far from the level of the original.