Classic Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Ghostbusters” which originally appeared here.

Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) for help. Also joining the team is Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a lifelong New Yorker who knows the city inside and out. Armed with proton packs and plenty of attitude, the four women prepare for an epic battle as more than 1,000 mischievous ghouls descend on Times Square.

Another film off my list of most anticipated films of 2016. I won’t speak about this film’s controversial nature as it has been covered to death but I’ll just say that I don’t hate the idea of this. Sure, a sequel to Ghostbusters 2 would be nice but this one can still work. Based on those involved here in original cast members Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, writer/director Paul Feig, known for many great comedies, and the talented cast, it has every chance to succeed. Whether or not it does remains to be seen.

Because this is a reimagining rather than a reboot, the film has to give its new characters a new origin story. The film revolves around a pair of scientists named Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Wiig) who were both interested in ghosts and other paranormal phenomena until Gilbert left Yates in order to pursue more accepted forms of science. The film doesn’t fully explore this, relying solely on McCarthy and Wiig’s chemistry to fill in gaps. One day, Gilbert is pulled back into the fray and reunites with Yates, now working with an eccentric engineer named Jillian Holtzman (McKinnon), once they are tasked to investigate a potential haunting. Seeing a ghost rekindles Gilbert’s former passion, leading her to once again work with Yates and Holtzman.

Watching the three of them grow into what they’ll eventually become was fun to watch thanks to their great chemistry but where a lot of the dialogue was meant to be funny, it unfortunately was not. Some of it was funny but the majority of it was just bad and didn’t work. This was also the case for the rest of the dialogue. What made the original Ghostbusters films so successful was that it showed that characters knew the science but could still be silly. This one showed signs of this but it could have been much better.

To try to balance things out, the film introduced a few non-scientist characters with a street-smart New Yorker named Patty Tolan (Jones) and a good-looking, yet dumb receptionist named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). They definitely helped to lighten things up a little. Tolan is just an extension of Jones’ personality which contrasted well with the other characters and was full of energy. She may not have been necessary but she was fun to watch along with the others. Kevin was great too despite not having much to do here. He was great at playing a dumb guy while also having some funny lines and had great chemistry with the other characters but much of the novelty behind his character is seeing Hemsworth like this. It was so different from any other role we’ve ever seen him in which is probably why he took it.

Of course there’s a conflict here and it isn’t exactly the clearest. It consists of a man named Rowan North (Neil Casey) who places devices in certain areas of New York City in order to amplify paranormal activity for unclear reasons. These reasons weren’t clear because the film didn’t bother to develop North as he was nothing more than the creepy-looking guy. He didn’t have much of a backstory other than it seemed like he may or may not have been bullied all his life. He wasn’t that exciting of a character and was mostly on the lame side. He just wasn’t much of a match for here which made their whole showdown very underwhelming. The better conflict here was with the establishment in Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia) and his assistant Jennifer Lynch (Cecily Strong). Seeing that this film has its own world without experience with ghosts, they are trying hard to hide their existence from everyone. This lead to some great interactions between them and the Ghostbusters. They praised them privately and scolded them publically to try to hide the existence of ghosts. This helped make the Ghostbusters more endearing, giving us reason to root for them but the film could have gone further with this.

Despite the somewhat weak material, the acting was very good here. We already knew that these four actresses had great chemistry which made them all fun to watch. You just can’t help but to feel like they could all do much better than this since we know they are all capable of much better. Out of the four, the best one has to be McKinnon’s Holtzman. The eccentric engineer stole a lot of the scenes because of her energy and overall craziness. She definitely had some great moments and some of the best lines of the film. Hemsworth was also fun to watch as we can obviously see that he was also having fun here. McKinnon may have stolen a lot of scenes but Hemsworth stole many scenes as well. Being a Ghostbusters film, it doesn’t forget the previous two films. You can expect many references and cameos to that regard.

Overall, while this film wasn’t really necessary, there is still enough promise here to justify another film, this film just lacked execution. There was some fun to be had but the material did not come close to the talent of the four leads.

Score: 6/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, and also like me on Facebook. Would you like to write movie reviews for this site? Contact me above or via social media for more information.

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