Now that it has finally hit theaters, people can properly assess Paul Feig’s remake of ‘Ghostbusters’ as opposed to judging it by the casting choices or a terribly cut trailer. Fans from all over have begun to weigh in on the new take on the classic paranormal action comedy and it seems that though there are shimmers of positivity in the reviews, the majority still take a rather cynical view of the polarizing film. As a critic, it’s definitely in my nature to be cynical at times, but my analysis of this particular piece of cinema doesn’t call for it because of how much fun I had overall while watching it.
Unlike my ScienceFiction.com colleague and fellow movie reviewer Dave Taylor, I’ll start with the bad news. Despite its potential, ’Ghostbusters’ is just good and not great. From a screenwriting standpoint, some elements of the story simply didn’t make sense and other parts were lazy, most notably in the third act. The villain could have been established better as well rather than being a caricature. Obviously they weren’t reinventing the wheel here since we’ve already seen the story of three scientists and a motivated “common man” coming together to save New York City from ghosts, ghouls, and specters looking to terrorize the realm of the living, but there were just some pieces here and there that could have been executed better or more thought out so that they wouldn’t have been so corny.
However with that being said, where the movie lacked in some areas, it more than made up for it in others. For instance, the cast shined bright in this reboot. Chris Hemsworth as the ditzy secretary and Leslie Jones as the no-nonsense, street smart perspective of the team definitely had some great moments throughout the film that drew some big laughs. Although, the real star to me was Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann. It was extremely hard not to crack a smile every time the character appeared onscreen and opened her mouth. She may have played the goofy engineer, but she was truly a badass and in some ways the glue that held the team together. And each star was given the opportunity in the spotlight because Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy weren’t as over the top as they usually are in their films. Too much McCarthy (like in ‘Spy’) isn’t always the best thing, but the writers and director scaled her comedy back a bit to a manageable amount that didn’t overpower everyone else.
Another thing that worked really well for me was the way that they showed the trial and error of the Ghostbusters’ equipment. This was their first mission together and most of Holtzmann’s tools had gone untested up until this point. Not only was it cool to see the proton packs evolve, but it was also very, very cool to see female scientists onscreen in a major Hollywood blockbuster bringing this technology to life.
At the end of the day, I only had one major complaint about ‘Ghostbusters’: How do you set a movie in a major metropolis like New York City and only have one Asian character with lines? (For those wondering, that character was Bennie the delivery boy, who was played by ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ star Karan Soni.) But since that’s a problem throughout the entertainment industry and not just this isolated film, it’s hard to come up with any other reasons for me to generally dislike this reboot. It was reverent to the original films, particularly with the great cameos from most of the original cast members, while taking risks that really made it stand on its own. Even though the third act had problems, the final battle was pretty enjoyable to watch. And once again, the best word that I could use to describe the movie was fun.
‘Ghostbusters’ was an amusing two-hour summer popcorn flick that offers a nice opportunity to get out of the heat for a little while that isn’t a complete waste of time. I’ll even go so far as to say that with its problems and everything, it was the most fun that I’ve had in a theater this summer since ‘Captain America: Civil War’ came out. Sure, this trend of reboots and remakes is super annoying, but not all of them are terrible. They might even be entertaining and worth the watch. And if it’s not your cup of tea, you can always go back to the originals waiting for you at home where your childhood is still intact.