Ghostbusters (2016)

Good news.  My childhood has not been ruined.  It is safe and secure.

And to quote the great 21st century philosopher Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

I do not believe that I have ever come across a movie that created such a whirlwind storm of hatred before it was ever seen than the reboot version of Ghostbusters.

The hatred began when it was announced that Paul Feig would be directing a reboot of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters featuring an all female cast.  This news was received poorly as some misogynists hid their hatred for the idea of all-female cast behind cries of an unnecessary sequel and claims that this would ruin childhood memories.

Then came the trailers.  Whoever put together this marketing plan for Sony needs to be fired immediately.  The trailers were terrible.  Immediately, the haters jumped on these terrible trailers as a way to hide their misogyny.  And those people who did not mind the casting of four females taking over had to chose their words carefully so as not to upset the feminists who believed the haters were all the same.

However, surprise, surprise… the reviews started coming out for the new Ghostbusters and they were actually pretty good.  Many people were saying that the movie was nowhere as bad as it had looked.  Even the negative reviews were saying that it was okay.  It was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 74%.

But that did not deter the haters.  They simply dug their heels in and continued to claim that this movie was shit, and that anyone who would give the movie a positive review were bowing to pressure of the feminists (kind of like how Marvel was “buying” off the critics to give Batman v. Superman negative reviews).  I read some YouTube comments on the Schmoes Know movie review of the film and there were so many idiotic comments, spewing vitriol and venom at anyone who might like the film.  One woman made a sensible and intelligent comment and she was chastised and berated for it.  And many of these hate-filled comments were from posters who had not yet seen the movie.

Now, let me say this… if you have seen this movie (with an open mind) and you hate it, that is your prerogative.  Everybody has the right to their subjective opinions when it comes to movies.  If you saw the trailers and decided that the movie looked like shit and chose not to see it, that is also okay.  I have not seen certain movies that I do not think I would enjoy.

However, if you have not seen this movie, then you cannot, under any circumstances, say that the movie IS shit.  That is completely unfair.  There have been all kinds of movies that the trailers looked terrible, but the movie was awesome.  Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise springs to mind.  You may think it looks terrible, but without seeing it, you cannot claim it is terrible.  So many of the YouTube posters, who fall back on anonymity, are in this category of people.

Now, with that out of the way, I went to the IMAX 3D version of Ghostbusters today with an open mind and no expectations.

And I really enjoyed this movie.

Let the hate commence.

I found this movie very funny.  The chemistry between the four main actresses (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Lesley Jones) is off the charts exceptional.  You believe they are friends and you connect with them because of that chemistry.  The first 45-60 minutes of the movie are fantastic.  I was amazed how engaged that I was during that first part of the film.  The CGI is very good, and the ghosts looked fabulous.  The dialogue was very clever and quick-witted, especially with the interactions with McCarthy and Wiig.

Lesley Jones, who looked to be easily the worst from the trailers, was probably my favorite character here.  She was incredibly funny and engaging.  She fit in with the group extremely well, and the character made sense.  Way more sense than Ernie Hudson joining the original team did.  She was an expert in New York City and her knowledge was vitally important to the story.

The story was pretty simplistic, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  If this tried to be too complex, I think the humor would have bogged down and would not have worked as well.

Chris Hemsworth was great here.  He played the bumbling, downright dumb Kevin, the receptionist.  I have heard a couple of different ideas about Hemsworth.  Some people thought he was a stand out with great comedic timing.  Others thought that his act wore thin because he seemed to be cartoon-like stupid that it took them out of the film.  I can see both arguments, but, for me, I laughed ever time Kevin did something stupid, so it obviously did not bother me.

There was also an outcry that every male character in the film was portrayed as stupid and some have indicated that there may be a reverse sexism going on.  Some have said that there would be an outcry if the receptionist was a blonde woman shown to be as stupid as Kevin was shown.  That might have some validity to it, but I would argue that none of the characters of the film were shown in depth enough to make that judgment, except for the four main leads and Kevin.

Another point of contention I have heard is the character of Holtzmann, played by SNL alumni and recent Emmy nominee Kate McKinnon.  Some people thought she stole every scene she was in while others believed that she was acting in a different movie and her cartoon-like performance hampered the film.  Again, to me, I would come in somewhere between these arguments.  I thought she was fine for what she was supposed to be.  Her character was meant to be over-the-top and borderline crazy, and that was what I got.  I did believe that she was capable of creating the Ghostbuster weaponry though, which was her main role in this film.  Because I believed that she was goofy enough to make this work, I did not mind her.

The end credits were a lot of fun, and there was a post credits scene.  This was the best credits I think I had ever seen.  I really enjoyed the way they spliced material into the credits, including a great dance scene from Chris Hemsworth.  This was brazenly original and creative and I hope more films follow this example.

Now, this is not to say that I thought this was a perfect film.  Actually, there were several issues I had with the movie.

The biggest of these issues was the flow of the film was interrupted throughout by cameos and throwbacks to the original Ghostbusters.  A few of these little “Easter Eggs” would be fun, but it seemed like these were coming full steam constantly.  If it was not a cameo by one of the cast of the original (they were all here, except for Rick Moranis), it was a shot that came directly from the first film, or it was a line of dialogue from the script.  A little bit of this would have been clever, but they beat the horse to death with it, over and over again.  I really believe the film felt like it was paying homage to the Ghostbusters legacy, but instead it was only taking away from itself as a film.  Honestly, only a few of these homages even worked where as most of these felt shoehorned/force fed into the story.  They simply drew attention away from what they were trying to do.

The villain of this movie was also REALLY weak.  There was nothing to this character at all.  Rowan North (Neil Casey) was an interesting looking person, and he delivered some effectively creepy lines of dialogue, but there is absolutely zero story behind who he is, where he came from or why he was doing what he was doing.  I don’t need a ton of information on the villain but a little bit allows the viewer to understand and maybe even emphasize with the villain as well.  There was none of that.  Calling Rowan a one-note character is even a stretch.  He was simply a bad guy.

The ending sequence turned into nothing more than a large CGI spotfest.  The action was not compelling or interesting.  There were very few real stakes involved and seemed just to be here for a large scale finale light show.  Each Ghostbuster was able to show off their fighting skills (which apparently they have) and the spotlight was passed around nicely, but there was little to care about here.  Honestly, the thing I cared about most was “would Kevin make it out safely?”.  That shouldn’t have been the first thought in my mind.

I came out of Ghostbusters thinking that this was a really good time at the theater.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie, and I am very glad that it was able to prove the haters wrong.  Of course, there will still be plenty of people who think this is garbage, despite not seeing it, and to those people, I feel sorry.

This is nowhere as good as the original film, but I would go on record as saying I think this is better than Ghostbusters 2.

3.6 stars

 

 

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