Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Ed Begley, Jr., Michael K. Williams, Steve Higgins
Rated: PG-13 (supernatural action and some crude humor)
By Matt Greene
Ghostbusters is perfect proof that weak trailers and internet trolls should never be trusted. Feig and co. have heard the vocal hordes of overreacting nostalgia nerds and straight-up bigots, and has decidedly ignored them, except to call them out with a couple of decent meta-jokes placed within the film. Is the movie perfect, or even great? No; its unnecessary self-awareness and lazy character writing make it feel too slapdash at times. However, it’s bundle of laughs and good-natured scares keep it from being the “childhood-ruiner” people assumed.
For one thing, it thankfully isn’t the photocopy that the trailers promised. Sure, it similarly follows some ne’er-do-well scientists on a hapless adventure to capture ghosts. Otherwise, much of its likeness is mostly found in its respectably old-fashioned structure and tone, along with some fun Disney’s-Haunted-Mansion-esque FX and cartoonish practical sets. Feig used the passing of years to up the stakes in only the scares department (i.e. awesomely scary mannequin segment). And while I wish these new characters were more clearly defined than as just vehicles for plotting and humor, that humor still shines throughout, with a scene-stealing turn by Hemsworth as a pretty-boy dope.
The smaller comedic moments are what made the original film hold-up for so many years, and Feig does his darndest to continue that style. Unfortunately, some of that forced reverence is its biggest distraction, leaving us questioning, “Was this movie really necessary?” It’s packed to the gills with pointless cameos that offer nothing but annoyance, and the final battle is a hasty and uninspired mess. Luckily, the humor and cast make 2016’s Ghostbusters colorful pop entertainment that’s at least outshines Ghostbusters 2.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
I should admit that while I enjoy the original “Ghostbusters” some, especially Bill Murray’s deadpan line delivery, I’ve also never harbored the nostalgic love for it that most do. A recent re-watch only reinforced the truth: “Ghostbusters” 1984 is merely decent, passable entertainment. Many of the oft-quoted lines from the film (“He slimed me”, “Does this pole still work”, “They go up”) are so lame they sound parody-worthy. So when the 2016 “Ghostbusters” (admittedly bad) trailer— with four ladies donning the Ghostbusters uniforms –received such intense backlash, the sexist motivations of this crowd-at-large was clear. Thus, I entered hopeful to see funny-man Paul Feig (director of “Bridesmaids” and “Spy”) surprise everyone with an improvement on the original.
Much of the fun, improvisational tradition from the first film is carried into this “Ghostbusters” with great comic actresses such as Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Leslie Jones in the ensemble. It’s Kate McKinnon; however, that steals the show. McKinnon gives us a star-making performance here. She is so effective with her rambunctious, physical energy and excitable, caffeinated line deliveries are not only funny, but truly she shows some off genius acting chops. Alas, I wish the rest of the movie was as good.
When it misses, the comedy is so flat it’s painful; and the action elements of this action-comedy are as boring and drawn-out as any you’ve seen this year. The handful of moments where the movie allows it’s actresses to play off one another work, but almost nothing else does, particularly the incessant callbacks to the overrated original—honestly, some are cringe-worthy. Coupled with its refusal to flesh out its characters, this “Ghostbusters” is no better than the original.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars