Ghostbusters (2016)

So, Ghostbusters is a movie I walked away from kind of frustrated with.

At its core, it’s not a bad movie. There are plenty of chuckles. The cast has good chemistry, and most of them are pretty great. I think Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are the weaker links of the new Ghostbusters, but they are still well placed in their roles, mostly playing the straight men to Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, who are far and away the best characters in the movie. Kate McKinnon especially is delightful, and hopefully this serves as a breakout role for her, because she is consistently awesome in everything I see her in. She is the best part of the current SNL cast. And here, she is a total scene stealer. She is always fun to watch, and more than anyone seemed like she had the most fun being there.
I will say Chris Hemsworth’s character is played as unbearably stupid. They should have reined in his shenanigans, because what starts off as comically inept very quickly jumps the shark to actually being literally unbelievably dumb. As in, I don’t actually believe a person would ever be that dumb.

The story is serviceable, though the climax is a pretty extreme tonal shift that weirdly goes into action movie mode. But whatever. I can see why they did it that way, and there were some cool ghost busting moments that represented some fun ideas in evolving the idea of ghost catching tech. And the story doesn’t try to retread the original, which I actually, mostly really appreciate. It seems to want to give you the impression that it wants to be its own thing, standing on its own feet, but it’s undercut by the film’s big glaring flaw in my eyes.

It consistently stops the flow of the movie to explore the meta-narrative of winking at the audience acknowledging its status as a reboot. I could handle the ribbing at the Internet haters, which it does a few times. Even the final moment of the film seems to speak directly to those people. But all the references to its predecessor feel so forced, and it does it so often. The cameos are especially egregious because they are prominent.

It’s more than just wishing that the cameos were the original actors playing their original characters. I admit, I would have preferred it that way. I think the story could have gone through almost no noticeable alteration to the meat of the movie to put this in the universe of the original film. But even playing different characters wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t bring the film to a grinding halt to allow the originals to mug at the camera and wave at the audience every single time.

This probably wouldn’t have annoyed me if I was a kid or just someone who had never heard of the original. But I have. And every cameo and throwback to the original makes it that much harder to not compare the two. Sigourney Weaver is the only time that the cameo didn’t make me audibly groan. Ultimately, being a fan of the original in almost any capacity makes this film a little harder to watch, which is unfortunate, because other than that, it’s perfectly serviceable reboot.

It’s not great, but it’s not the dumpster fire the ad campaign would make you fearful of. I dunno. Take from that opinion what you will. If you go in wanting to hate this movie, you will find ammunition to keep your opinion the way it is. Though, if you do wanna hate, I would suggest skipping this. If only so the rest of us don’t have to hear about your destroyed childhood. For the rest of you, you’ll probably have a decent time of it. It’s never going to be the classic that the original was, though I don’t know that anyone ever expected it to be. I know it’s not saying much that this could’ve gone much worse, but honestly, barring one glaring frustration I have with it, Ghostbusters is pretty ok. And that’s about all I can really say about it.


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