So after a disastrous marketing campaign, the remake of Ghostbusters has finally arrived in cinemas. A lot has changed since my blog on the subject. For one thing the cast went from being mostly silent to at least willing to talk to Graham Norton and Ellen DeGeneres, yet again word on the street (or Internet) is that after multiple on set arguments the cast were legally required to not bad mouth the film, due to Sony not wanting a repeat of Josh Trank’s meltdown during his time on Fantastic Four back in 2015. And given the stuff that went down….can’t say I blame them. Secondly the “all haters of this film are woman hating, basement dwelling, neck bearded, lifeless, Trump supporting (really) friendless misogynist” line of defence has gotten so out of control, to the point where a female YouTuber like Comicbookgirl19 can bash the trailer and go unscathed, despite outright boycotting the film. Meanwhile James Rolfe can simply say he won’t review the film, and somehow make headlines in the process. Hell Melissa McCarthy (and now recently Leslie Jones) went from regularly slagging the film’s director of to her friends and crew mates; to now labelling the trailer’s detractors as sexist so often you’d expect her to be preaching this stuff from her Tumblur account given her body shape. Come at me feminist! Oh and Fall Out Boy released a cover of the original Ghostbusters theme (because) with Missy Elliot (for some reason). So now the film is finally here; how does the birth / potential death of Sony’s Ghostbusters’ cinematic universe pan out?
Being a remake of an old film, the story is not much different in the new film. We follow three scientists: Abby, Erin, Jullian and Patty, the group’s token black Ghostbuster. As they set up their business hunting ghost. The main difference (outside of the cast) is the change of villains. Instead of Gozer, a demon crossing our dimension to enslave us all; we instead get Rowan, a guy suffering from the same condition as the kid from The Sixth Sense, as he builds a machine to summon ghost, as he uses them to take control of New York after becoming a ghost himself. Yep turns out the Reddit leak was more accurate than we thought, despite the dis jointed writing.
Now then the elephant in the room, the cast. They’re good. They’re competent actors that work with what they’re given, and they work well together. That said, if you’ve seen any of the leads act in anything, They are basically doing that again. If you’ve seen McCarthy and Wigg in Bridesmaids, Spy or the such; not a lot has changed as they are just playing themselves really, as per their other work. Wigg is the awkward straight woman, McCarthy is the rude wise crack (to the point that she’s just redoing her character from The Heat), and Jones is the sassy black chick. On that subject, SONY! If you’re going to preach about how progressive you are to your audience; why did you cast the black woman as the stereotypical, sassy, loud black lady? She’s only on the team due to her street smarts, and will loudly scream her lines every other chance she gets, in an attempt to be sassy. No wonder the Social Justice Warriors of the Internet ate the trailers up, it wears hypocrisy like a fancy hat, as they do. To the point where the people involved talk about how the all female cast shows their progressive side; in a story where every male character falls on the spectrum of jackass (e.g Rowan and the mayor) or dumb-ass like Chris Hemsworth’s character. You get the feeling that the film is punishing the guy for being the funniest character in the film by making him one chromosome away from a short bus and a drawl bucket.
On a more calmer note, while the three do well as their characters, Kate McKinnon is trying to pull of the tom-boy-ish tough girl, she does well at it. Her moments were the most fun to watch, particularly the end fight in Time Square. It’s her and Chris Hemsworth that are the comedic heights of the film; even if his jokes all ended being: “ha, isn’t he dumb?!” Their timing and their material were the comedic high lights, while the other jokes are just….meh. I will also say that Jones is probably best written as a character, because while the rest of team are pretty much fearless to the point where the only time they experience fear towards a ghost, is the opening at the mansion. Meanwhile Jones as Patty naturally is scared at the start; and then braves up throughout the story. In a cast of exaggerated performances, she’s the most realistic character.
But the problems are mostly due to the script than the actors who say them; at most, the rest of the jokes will make you chuckle. However i will give the script some pros when it comes to the more serious aspects; such the action and scenes with the ghost. Which just make the film a bit disjointed, as in between those moments, the film is mostly busy trying to crack jokes after one liners. Some better than others.
One other element of the trailer that got torn apart upon the release was the effects that range from weak to “oh good god there are games on the original Xbox that look better than this”! That being said upon seeing the final film, they are well animated and are detailed nicely. But it’s the rending that’s holding it back, making each ghost look like the love child of a neon glow stick, and the rejects of The Haunted Mansion ride. When compared to the live action actors, it’s just embarrassing to see the two contrasting against each other makes it more obvious. However the practical elements, such as the props, the costumes and the like were done well and look good; same with the editing and cinematography
Now given how this is a remake, of course call backs to the original were inevitable; and compared to the rest of the film, they stick out like saw thumbs. I already talked about how the original cast are legal obligated to show up….i mean appear in cameos. With Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson having the best ones, as they are relevant to the events around the cast. While Sigourney Weaver is just there, and Dan Akyrod’s cameo just wants to make bang my head against a wall given how forced it was. And the forced nostalgia keeps on going. As not only do the original cast return, not only do they re harsh elements of the first film’s plot, not only do they force characters like Slimer and The Stay Puff Marsh Mellow Man into it; but they repeat the ending of the first film. Note for note, and the characters don’t take any notice until Rowan starts to attack them; it’s that shameless.
And speaking of Rowan, he was the low point for me. As a villain he isn’t interesting; as he falls under revenge motive #446, the picked on, bullied loner. Now that’s a lame motivation, but he spends his time monologing his motives to himself/ the audience; because having that be explained through the narrative was too difficult without pulling a Frank Underwood…i guess. Also can i just say how the guy has he fastest decent to omnipotence i think I’ve seen in a film. As he starts making stuff himself, to entering god mode by the time the third act arrives. Do you want to know why, so would i. Oh can i just that Rowan’s final fight has the worst effects in the film, with his ghost form looking as fake as it did in the trailers.
In conclusion as much as we may or may not have bashed the trailer, discovered the behind the scenes mess, and called out Sony for actively shaming and bullying the demographic they need to see the film. Yeah Sony, turns out if you get criticism from the fan base of an existing franchise you’re working on, and then label said criticism as bigotry; well then you shouldn’t be shocked that you drove away the people who were going to give you the money you wanted. So is it bad? No. Is it good? Meh….While it has its good moments and the cast being one of the highlights of the film. It is just OK; but I fear that the back lash will probably be the most significant thing to come out the film.
Five out of ten.
Thank you for your time.