Let me be frank: It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t scary, and it had major tonal issues all throughout. I wanted to get into it but the movie itself kept pushing me away. If that puts you off, then, let me say the movie doesn’t deserve all the hate it’s getting.
Yes, I am a white, thirty-something, male who loved the original movie. Now that I have sufficiently pigeon-holed myself, let me, also, tell you that I don’t care that they went with a female-dominated cast. In fact, I truly think it could have been a refreshing take. Role reversal is nothing new and it does not hurt the originals in anyway. It could have really shook things up. It could have made a name for itself. But, they were so afraid to break new ground that the movie ended up just being bland and boring. However, the movie isn’t all gloom, doom, and despair. There were some real glimmers in the movie that really drew me in. Unfortunately, that just made it all the more disappointing when it failed.
First off, the main cast are all great. They are all talented actresses, so it’s puzzling why so much of the timing is off and the comedy is so forced and lowbrow. I think direction is a key factor in the movie’s awkwardness. It seems like the cast had very little direction as they seem to be winging it for the majority of the movie. Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth are the only two that got a laugh out of me. Chris’ character was absurdly stupid, almost to the point of insulting, and yet, he still managed to bring charm to the character. I was absolutely surprised that Leslie’s character resonated with me. When I saw the trailer, she just seemed like the token character that was more stereotypical than anything. But, she really shone in the movie and was the only character that felt natural. She definitely doesn’t deserve any of the animosity she has incurred over the past few weeks and should, instead, be complemented on her role. The other three just seemed to be trying too hard. They had more ticks than a homeless dog and the mugging was so over the top that I think Jim Carey would tell them to key it down a bit. I thought the chemistry between McKinnon and McCarthy was decent enough but, McKinnon was just so over the top it made the whole thing feel like a standup routine. I had hoped the animosity between Wiig’s character and Mccarthy would actually create some character development in the story but sadly, it was just a quick blip to make her seek out McCarthy. The constant cameos from the original cast members just forced me to continually remember the originals and how much better they were.
I, actually, liked the CGI. Well, some of it. The first ghost was really eerie and had an otherworldly feel to her, as well as, the prison ghost. But, it quickly devolved into a CGI saturated nightmare at then end. I think I blacked out from boredom at one point. However, I do remember remarking how incredibly fake and cartoony the buildings looked in the final transformation. The rest seemed pretty much par for the course. Nothing really outstanding but not horrible either.
While we are on the subject of cartoony, the antagonist was laughable and terribly written. It seems apropos that he turned into a giant cartoon at the end. The plot was just as two dimensional. With such an overly used villain trope, puerile humor, over simplified plot points, and one-dimensional protagonists, it just felt incredibly rushed and sloppy. It didn’t warrant the notoriety that the girls somehow obtained. The scenes with the mayor were completely pointless, unearned, and just awkward but, it’s hard to pinpoint that amongst a veritable sea of awkward scenes.
One thing that I really felt shone was the steampunkish, gritty tech. I really enjoyed seeing it being developed, as well as, the sometimes nonsensical techno babble they used to explain it all away. This is one of the few places in the original that I felt was a little weak. I know the tech just magically appeared for pacing and that it really wasn’t integral to the story but, I just really enjoy when they use crazy pseudo science to, at least, attempt to explain the outlandish inventions.
Overall, this should have been a bold, groundbreaking, game changer. But, for various reasons, It was just another forgettable, although completely harmless and goofy, reboot. One of the biggest issues I have with it is that they were trying to capture the serendipity of the original. The success of the original was a fluke. You can’t set out to recreate that. While I guess social pandering and controversy can be used to rake in the money instead, I really wish they had thought outside of the box and really broke the Ghostbusters mold. If you want to make a movie that says “women can make great movies too” then, make a great movie. Don’t make one that constantly calls back to its superior predecessor.
Make it scary with glimmers of humor for levity. Better yet, play it as straight horror. Deconstruct it. Make it an in-your-face suspenseful horror/thriller that plays the protagonists as strong female leads that have their act together and work well together. Don’t make them bumbling Jonah Hill ripoffs.
I, obviously, didn’t like this movie. So, you might be wondering why I stated it doesn’t deserve the hate. The answer is very simple: Ghostbusters 2016 is a typical addition to a long list of reboots, requels, and re-imaginings that Hollywood is cranking out at breakneck speed. If you hate on this movie, you have to hate all the other garbage coming out. Despite all the talk and controversy, this movie is harmless. It shouldn’t even be a blip on the radar. Yet, so many different groups have given it so much more attention than it deserves. This movie does not “destroy my childhood” or “overthrow men”. It is a goofy attempt at, in all honesty, a goofy concept. But, it just fails to capture it’s subject matter and the ineffable prestige of the Ghostbusters. Perhaps, if this had not been trying to fill such big shoes, it would have been a light-hearted and entertaining romp. But, it is constantly overshadowed by its lineage and pays a heavy toll for it. So, no, it doesn’t deserve the hate. That energy should be, more constructively, spent in trying to change the system itself.
So, as the kids are saying:
Instead of faulting a triumphant participant in a flawed system, chastise and admonish the organizations that motivate and encourage conduct which propels you to such heights of displeasure.