The 'Not-So-Critical' Critic:
on GHOSTBUSTERS (2016, 116 minutes, PG-13)
The Quick of It -
My earlier life can partially be defined by the movie GHOSTBUSTERS (1984). You have the mixing of humor and geekness with the flair of the 80’s era (meaning the better parts… not large hair, glam rock, and the Cold War). The cast included the top comedic stars of the time - Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramos. The effects were impressionable to a young mind (ghosts could be just as cool as scary) and the jokes kept you rolling.
And now to the present…
The announcement of a new GHOSTBUSTERS was a thrilling prospect. Then all went spiraling when it was said that it would be an all-female cast. The rollercoaster continued in a twisted spin as Paul Feig (SPY, BRIDES MAIDS, THE HEAT) was set to direct, which he has shown to do well with female lead roles, but we need strong personalities held together with strong writing. An added advantage was his working with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy on previous projects, a chemistry must have been present to sign on to a high profile title like this. The fans did not seem hopeful. And the die was finally cast…
In this new GHOSTBUSTERS, Wigg plays the uptight Professor Erin Gilbert who gets pulled into the paranormal world by her old friend Abby Yates (McCarthy). Erin is up for tenure at Columbia when she discovers a book she wrote with Abbey, one on the topic of paranormal activity, has been republished and could ruin her chances. Let the shenanigans begin.
The movie had its moments. Wigg and McCarthy are joined by Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, more “Saturday Night Live” cast members, to fill out the new team. They worked well together and did not seem to overshadow one-another. I think since the studio went for a milder rating, to reach a larger audience, it made for a duller edge in comedic wit. There was one surprising feature to the movie. I will say that the funniest moments did seem to include Chris Hemsworth, as Kevin. I never thought I would say that… ever. But here we are, cats and dogs living together... mass hysteria! He was the shining comedic star.
The special effects were on par with the current CGI technology. They were rich and vibrant, making for a visual centerpiece to this film. The shots for the epic ghastly finale were twisted enough to make you remember ghosts should be scary, even though I would have been running up and down the streets trying to see everything. I thought the one weakness was the lack of a powerful antagonist. Neil Casey (Rowan North) plays his part well but there just isn’t that sense of impending doom you want from a GHOSTBUSTERS film.
Dan Aykroyd said it best, that this film is a tribute to the first. There were plenty of parallels, quick nods, and never once did I think they were trying to outshine the original. I will say that I feel even though there were parts that could have been improved upon, I found this movie to not be the disaster everyone was expecting.