"Ghostbusters (2016)" Movie Review
In the 27 years since Ghostbusters II arrived in theaters, there’s been a fair amount of hope from fans that a third film would one day arrive. Even Harold Ramis’ passing in 2014 didn’t completely squelch those dreams, so long as Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Dan Aykroyd were still on board.
What we didn’t hear much of, though, was a clamoring for a remake.
After more movie remakes than anyone could ever want in a lifetime (Total Recall, Point Break, Poltergeist, and Annie among them in the past few years alone), do we really need to keep sticking different actors into the same story, just so a studio can make some money?
The 2016 version of Ghostbusters does nothing to help further the cause. Sure it’s occasionally funny and at least fairly entertaining, but it brings absolutely nothing new to the party... which makes it rather useless in the long run.
Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones take over the roles (though the names have been changed, ostensibly to protect the innocent) made famous by Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, and Hudson. The plot, likewise, is by the book--ghosts arrive in New York City, and a rag-tag group of scientists (and one non-scientist) band together to save the day.
The script, co-written by director Paul Feig and The Heat’s Katie Dippold, does very little to build off the inherent comedy in the story. Instead it relies more on punchlines that have nothing to do with anything. At one point the women riff for a while on their favorite Patrick Swayze movie, apropos of nothing; it’s as if Feig and Dippold dug into their writer’s notebook for some funny-ish notes they’ve each made over the years and then decided to simply unload many of them throughout the film.
There are a few solid comedy moments, including cameos from the original cast, but by and large much of the movie seems forced and wholly unoriginal--including the ample time that’s given to meta comedy, as the women poke fun at the real-world criticism of the gender-swap casting.
Speaking of which, that casting has clearly made headlines in recent months, and the four comediennes do their best to try to make Ghostbusters work (McKinnon, in particular, shines brightly), but I can’t help but think there's a much better way for them to spend their time and talents. They could, perhaps, give us something unique, new, and innovative.
The original Ghostbusters landed in 1984, and after all this time it’s still a favorite, even a classic in many circles. And there’s no doubt it’ll still be talked about thirty years from now. This 2016 remake, though, will probably ooze its way out of our collective consciousness in less than thirty days.
Worth the 3D glasses?
The one thing Ghostbusters does have going for it is the visual effects--many of which are made even better by 3D. Feig even goes outside the box (letterbox, that is) on occasion. If you're determined to check out the film, spring for the plastic glasses.