Movie Name: Ghostbusters
Studio: LStar Capital
Release Date(s): July 9, 2016 (Premiere)/July 15, 2016 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
When ghosts start rising in New York City, who you gonna to call? Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) finds herself recently fired from her job at Columbia University and teamed with her college friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and her assistant Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) are out to capture and study ghosts with the help of their dense “secretary” Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth). When they get a tip on potential ghost activity in the subway from MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), the Ghostbusters suddenly find themselves in business (whether the city will allow it or not). Someone or something is stirring up ghosts in NYC and the Ghostbusters must stop it before it is too late!
Directed by Paul Feig, Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy which reboots the original Ghostbusters from 1984. The movie was met with pre-release criticism by internet trolls who believed that women shouldn’t have been cast in the roles. Upon its release, Ghostbusters was harshly criticized and considered a box failure despite almost doubling its budget.
I saw the original Ghostbusters in the theater and loved it. I saw the second Ghostbusters and even as a kid realized that it wasn’t that good. With years of development hell, I didn’t really care if another Ghostbusters developed. When the film was announced, it was originally going to be a sequel/light reboot, and I didn’t really care if the cast was women or not…I just wanted it to better than Ghostbusters 2.
Unfortunately, the movie fails here (but not by much). The movie doesn’t seem to have the right pacing (something Ghostbusters 2 didn’t have as well). It takes too long to get going and then doesn’t really do much. The characters don’t seem to do much “ghostbusting” and the villain is even less interesting than Gozer or Vigo. The movie ends up just being a big special effects blow-out at the end with little heart, bad jokes, and a waste of talent.
With so many eyes looking at the movie due to the casting of women, I wish that the movie had done a better job with the script. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig play the same characters that they always play with quips and interjections that just don’t have the spark of the original. Kate McKinnon does the most with her character as the Egon of the group but Leslie Jones is the biggest disappointment because instead of making her the doctor or scientist, she’s delegated to the MTA worker which seems like a bad stereotype if the writers were trying to switch up the genre roles (they could have switched up social stereotypes as well). I imagine what the script would be like if they had made Wiig or McCarthy the street worker and I think it would have been better. Chris Hemsworth adds jokes as the dim Kevin and the movie features cameos by original Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Dan Aykroyd along with Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver.
The visuals for the movie are also somewhat lacking for the years it took the make the movie. The Ghostbusters’ equipment is smartly modernized and McKinnon invents fun new weapons. The weapons however don’t make sense…they don’t capture the ghosts, they blow them up or grind them? It isn’t quite clear what that would really do.
Ghostbusters was unfortunately quite dull and not a good film. It wasn’t the fault of the women, but the fault of the script and the characters developed for the women. What hurts about Ghostbusters is that haters can use “women were bad” to justify that the movie was bad and defenders can say “you just hate it because of the women”. I don’t think either was true and that Ghostbusters was bad because it was bad and misguided. The critical failure of the movie cast into doubt the plans for the sequel or the other ventures tied to the franchise…Ghostbusters may be ghost for a while.