Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

So: what ruined your childhood? My actual childhood.

Did the Ghosbusters reboot, starring four women instead of four doughy guys, have any part in that? No.

Were you offended? No.

Oh, so how was Ghostbusters: Answer The Call? Not good.

The plot of Ghostbuster The Reboot is so meandering that I’m less bummed that the movie was (re)made than I am just disappointed because it strikes out at nearly every level. And at two hours, that’s a lot of strikeouts, that I feel bad for the cast getting almost no-hit by plot pitches they’d have to see coming a mile away.

Enough terrible baseball metaphors.  Like Robocop, a perfectly good movie doesn’t need a remake, and like Robocop the remake, if it does get a remake, it shouldn’t be boring. I should add that I’m very biased toward the original Ghostbusters, though I am absolutely rooting for the cast of this movie to make their sequel better than Ghostbusters 2.

The plot: have you seen the original Ghostbusters? It’s kinda like that, but the difference in gender is barely a difference, and why anyone threw a fit over this is beyond me. The real difference is that there were two friends (Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy) who used to love chasing ghosts, but aren’t friends anymore. This is explained in dialog, and sometimes comes up again. When they match the story beat of meeting the first ghost, they’re friends again. Then at some point they (SPOILERS) accidentally kill Bill Murray with an escaped ghost, and they’re not friends again.

Another difference is that there’s an actual human villain (as opposed to a bureaucrat who shows up mid movie once the ghosts are being busted). This guy wants to use the ghosts in order to become a giant spectral god himself. With the heat on the lady Ghostbusters, they might not have support from the city or each other to stop him in time.

That’s actually not a bad plot. I’m really disappointed in the missed opportunities. Wiig & McCarthy (and many other comedic performers, these days) appear in movies where they act out there characters as scripted and then get takes where they ad lib with each other, presumably (and hopefully) in character. I hope that is not the case here. Do viewers assume that the original Ghostbustesr that the SNL & SCTV alum starred in was adlibbed? Ivan Reitman & Harold Ramis worked pretty hard to hammer out a solid script involving intense special effects (for the time, and for a COMEDY) based on Dan Ackroyd’s original treatment, thinking up lines that Bill Murray would come up with if he were faced in those situations. (Or, so they claim).

This movie doesn’t feel planned out or thought out that way (and I’m sorry if I’m wrong in that assumption). A lot of scenes tend to drag, including (especially) the bits with Liam Hemsworth, which are supposedly the funniest parts (they weren’t, except maybe near the end when he shows up with a sandwich). There’s a little bit of women fighting the good fight with the menfolk condescendingly condescending on them. I’m a guy, so maybe I didn’t pick up on more of it, and I’m definitely not helping in this review. However, one of the missed opportunities is that there’s a Ghost Hunters type show in their world. A bunch of dudebros who are obviously dumbass phonies, which the lady Ghostbusters are treated as. I seriously thought that that’d be the showdown, but maybe that’s for the sequel we’ll never get.

For the most part, I was bored. Wiig trying to rescue McCarthy at the end would have had more power to it if there were, I don’t know, more scenes about their difficult friendship, and less about Liam Hemsworth as the comic relief. Why have comic relief when you have four perfectly good comics to begin with?

So why didn’t you stop watching this like you did right away with the Robocop reboot? I can ask why someone felt the need to remake this, but they are comedians who made a comedy. I did have a few laughs. I felt it when Leslie Jones stage dived and no one caught her. (Like, I felt it HARD, even if I saw it coming a mile away, so good job, movie). I could go on about what I like about the original Ghostbusters while poorly attempting to look at this as its own thing. I also decided that if I could sit through Fast & Furious 7, which is an incredibly stupid movie, then I can give this a chance.

Also, if you’re going to make Robocop and not make the parody so over the top that you can’t tell if you’re watching a parody about over the top action movies, and instead make a straight up action movie, I’m not watching that version of Robocop.

 

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