Review: Ghostbusters Is Funny And Fun But Not Perfect
Director: Paul Feig
Screenwriter: Katie Dippold (written by), Paul Feig (written by), Ivan Reitman (based on the 1984 film “Ghostbusters” directed by), Dan Aykroyd (based on the 1984 film “Ghostbusters” directed by), and Harold Ramis (based on the 1984 film “Ghostbusters” directed by)
Principal Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, and Neil Casey
Summary: Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
I’d like to apologize for this being so late but this is a movie that I couldn’t let pass me by. The Ghostbusters remake is one of the most hated remakes that has ever been made. There was a large subset of the internet that decided that the movie was terrible before a single image, poster or trailer was released. There were plenty of people dismissing it for legitimate reasons, plus there was also the troubling undercurrent of sexism and misogyny in all of the hatred. Sony has not helped much by releasing trailers that were not very good which gave the people throwing a hissy fit way too much attention. However, I enjoyed director Paul Feig’s previous movies and realized that his style of comedy does not lend itself well to one liners. I was as optimistic as I could be going in.
Ghostbusters is not a perfect movie, but with an energetic cast and a very funny script it manages to overcome some dodgy CGI and the occasional joke that falls flat.
As a critic I realized that I have my blind spots. I know I go into Marvel movies with a very large bias and that dopey fantasy and science fiction are always fun. I enjoy camp way more than I probably should and I’ve been known to rate things higher just because I had such low expectations. However, my biggest blind spot will always be team dynamics. I’ve written about it before and it has come up in many of my reviews, but I can excuse a lot if I enjoy watching a group of people bounce off of each other. The thing that made the original Ghostbusters so much fun to watch was that the four leads were a great group of people to watch. In this case our four leading ladies all have amazing chemistry with interactions that felt genuine and real. I could watch an entire movie of these four characters hanging around headquarters hanging out with each other.
Melissa McCarthy is a great talent but she tends to rely a little too much on the “fat person falling down” gag. I was pleased that McCarthy’s weight is not only never a joke but it’s never even brought up. Kristen Wiig is absolutely excellent as the “uptight one” of the group, but when she cuts loose she’s so funny to watch. There is a moment where she is separated from the group in the beginning of the third act, and while I loved Wiig I feel like she was better suited to the group than on her own. Leslie Jones has a style of comedy that not everyone can get behind, and there was some pushback when it was revealed that the black woman is the non-scientist of the group. However, Jones isn’t just playing a “street smart” person but a character that knows the complex and interesting history of the entire city. She’s a historian in everything but name. However, Kate McKinnon is the one that steals every scene she’s in as our inventor. Her character is someone I’m not sure everyone will enjoy because she is so audacious, but she has amazing delivery and McKinnon’s career will probably benefit the most from this movie.
This is not to say everything works all the time. The third act sort of falls apart and the designs of the ghosts go from “genuinely creepy” to “cartoonish” in a way that I didn’t really like. The first two ghosts we see are scary looking and I wanted more ghosts like that instead of the giant top hatted skeleton in the finale. The villain also falls apart in the end and I really wish movies could find another way to create a villain other than “the genius who is bullied and decides to destroy the world”. His large form at the end is a homage to the stay puff marshmallow man from the original though he never feels real. There isn’t any weight to him and the CGI on him is kind of a mess. Not all of the jokes are great but the ratio of good to bad falls much higher on the good side than the bad side.
Ghostbusters isn’t a movie that is going to change the lives, and maybe even the minds, of old fans that never wanted to like it. However, as someone who wanted this to be good I’m glad it is as good as it is. There are already talks of a sequel despite it not winning the weekend and being banned in China (note: China bans all movies with supernatural elements in them) and an after credit tease makes me hopeful for more. If nothing else I get to see more of these four amazing ladies on my screen and I’m more than okay with that.