Title: Ghostbusters (2016)
Release Date: July 16, 2016
Studio: Sony, Columbia Pictures
Director: Paul Feig
Release Format: Theatrical
Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters isn’t a perfect film by any means. Nor is it bad. It will probably come out to be one of the most decisive films of 2016. This review won’t necessarily reflect the views of everyone because of how divisive the film turns out. You might even have your reasons why to not see it. Some are sure to be entertained, others will not. One thing is for sure. Ghostbusters is back, whether you like it or not.
This time, the ghost fighting group are led by friends Abby and Erin. When ghosts are being sighted all over New York City, Abby and Erin with the help of physicist Jillian Holtzman and MTA-worker Patty are on the case. The more they dig, it seems these ghost sightings are tied to an impending apocalypse brought upon a loner named Rowan.
The story for Ghostbusters isn’t anything special. While it could have easily stood on its own, the director Paul Feig made it seem necessary that there is a need to not go 5 minutes without a reference to the 1980s films. The Ghostbusters theme made famous by Ray Parker is heavily used, with some new covers. Cameos are abundant. From the film’s opening sequence, you can see some bit of potential in the story to be a great one, but it is squandered by these references. Not all references are bad, some are sure to get laughs, but mostly they don’t work. Added, the villain and the male written characters are definitely the weakest part (more on that in a moment).
Another issue with the story is that there are inconsistencies. The use of the proton weapons is the biggest inconsistency of all. Early on, it is stated that the proton weapons are used to trap ghosts. Yet in the film’s climax, they are used out right to “kill” these ghosts. Yes, it is a fictional movie, but the issue is two fold. One side, you can’t kill something that is already dead. The other, the weapons were only capable of being used to capture ghosts. So when were they able to “kill” them?
One of the biggest discussions about Ghostbusters before its release is the hate towards it. I won’t get into the debate of sexism, but it needs to be mentioned just for the fact of the poorly written male characters. Director Paul Feig himself said the haters need to stop hating that females are the leads. The issue lies in that the movie is male bashing. The villain is the cliché fat guy who lives in a basement who is tired of being bullied. Kevin, the secretary for the crew, he is the epitome of stupid sexy man. It just isn’t the lead male characters, but also minor ones as well. Men are made out to be stupid, weird, or ugly. Look, I myself champion strong female leads in movies, but don’t sacrifice strong male leads either. The way the villain is defeated (no spoilers) is sure to turn some heads.
The cameos as well are poorly written, with the exception of one by Sigourney Weaver. They felt forced and didn’t seem necessary other than for fan service.
Now, despite having weak written male characters, there are actually some really great female leads. SNL cast member, Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzman steals the show. Leslie Jones, another SNL alum, as Patty comes as a close second in bringing in the most laughs. Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig, though they do bring some laughs and are interesting characters, but they are type-casted once again. Together on screen, they compliment each other pretty well. There is definitely potential to see them grow in future films.
The ghosts themselves don’t have much character to them. That is fine. What isn’t fine is the CGI that creates them. The CGI doesn’t fit with the tone of the film. Ghostbusters doesn’t feel like it is cartoony, but that is how it looks. It isn’t the worst thing about it unless you see it in 3-D. If given the choice, do not, DO NOT, see Ghostbusters in 3-D. IMAX is fine, but the 3-D and the CGI just don’t mix well. It isn’t the cartoony look, it just will give some people a headache. If you do see it in 3-D, beware of lots of motion blur. This can definitely be remedied in future films.
Even though Ghostbusters does have all these flaws it does one thing that is surprising, It entertains. Of course, it won’t entertain everyone. If you were a hater before seeing the movie, chances are your mind won’t be changed. This will for sure be one of the most divisive films of 2016. If you do go in with low expectations, just want some laughs and some really good female leads, then Ghostbusters might be worth the price of admission. With some potential for growth in the sequel, director Paul Feig might actually be able to make a good Ghostbusters film everyone can enjoy in the future.
- Nods to the originals
- Strong female leads
- Poorly written male characters, including villain
- Cameos feel forced
- Nods to the originals
- Inconsistency with weapons