Ghostbusters: Fun and Ok, Basically

You can’t be oblivious to the controversy that hit this reboot long before the trailer even got out. Hundreds of polarizing opinions hit the net, people were grabbing their digital pitchforks and hurling insults about feminists. For all this big build up, one would wonder if the film itself was really going to be this groundbreaking female blockbuster we hoped (or for the MRA, dreaded) it would be.

Actually though  Ghostbusters was just kind of, well, alright. From the plot to the characters to the CGI ghouls, nothing really stood out as overly bad or super fantastically amazing. As a female myself, I can attest that it was refreshing to see women playing all the main roles of a film, focusing on something other than guys or supporting action dudes, instead they’re getting all their own action. But the problem is that the film itself will always and forever get compared to the previous Ghostbusters, which is a damned shame.

Like most reboots since the dawn of Transformers  a la Michael Bay, Ghostbusters has a pretty solid fanbase. Many of these fans were pissed off for a variety of reasons about the reboot. Most of them that I saw on forums and comment sections were disturbed that the original cast wouldn’t be taking the reigns, as in there wouldn’t be a Ghostbusters 3 with all the same people (even though the original cast doesn’t want to do that anyway). In other words, changes to the source material of any kind were automatically considered a sort of film making blasphemy.

The problem is that any reboot that comes from an old film franchise has to change, it has to have new blood, it has to get modernized, it has to become something different than what it was before. The original Ghostbusters is one of those few films that managed to hit the right tone, the right pace, and even had some amazing effects for its time. Everything in that film was fresh, new, exciting, and redoing it just wasn’t ever going to recapture that special magic.

Which is why reboots need to be able to stand on their own in other ways, such as making an all female cast. The performances done by the women are pretty comical. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig (playing characters Abby and Erin respectively) work off of each other really well when it comes to rebuilding their friendship after a past betrayal. Kate McKinnon (Holtzmann) rocks it as the quirky engineer, and I especially loved her in the third act when we got to see her zapping ghosts with her “toys.” Leslie Jones (Patty) made for a perfect fit with all of them, and it’s a shame the trailers didn’t do her more justice.

Here’s the thing though, all of these women are hilarious, we have all seen them in successful comedies before, but for some reason I get the feeling the director wasn’t letting them improv as much as they’ve been allowed to in other films. Or perhaps the editor was told to cut away at the material and took it too far. Some jokes would be hilarious, but others lacked some zest or punchline, and the inconsistency seemed strange to me. Honestly, the film just wasn’t very quotable. There aren’t any lines that will stick with the audience after the film is over.

Then again that could be put down to not-so-solid writing. Whoever wrote the script needed a crash course in villain building 101, because the bad guy wasn’t very memorable either. I firmly believe that a great villain is necessary to make great heroines/ heroes, and our antagonist for this movie was just…eh.  He existed, without backstory or cause, he moved and did things, like a walking and talking prop. I think that is this movie’s greatest failing, a bad guy who no one is rooting for or against, just nobody cares. And because of that, there’s no real investment in the outcome, because we don’t really care if he’s defeated. It just doesn’t matter.

All in all though, the movie itself is kind of fun. There are jokes that made me laugh out loud, and the action sequences were kind of hilarious too at times. I think there’s also something to be said for even though the CGI wasn’t that great, the ghosts were visually interesting. I want to give this movie props for making an all female cast, even though I think the studio was too scared to let them just do their thing, which I thought was the whole point in casting them but it’s done now.

I kind of want to see a sequel, even though it’s not the most fantastic film, I think it’s by far not the worst. I would love to see the universe expand, maybe get out of New York and go somewhere? Maybe they could even add other characters (female and male). I might be in the minority, but I’d love to see where this could go in the future.

 

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