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Ghostbusters – The Nick Review
July 13, 2016Posted by on
Thanks to some random luck while bumbling around the internet, I was able to score tickets to see an advance screening of the new Ghostbusters movie tonight. The film has been incredibly controversial since it was originally announced mostly due to the gender-flipped leads and the fact that it is a remake of a classic and beloved film. In the latter’s case, I can understand the resistance even if I didn’t share it.
Let me establish this: the 1984 original is my favorite film of all time. I have seen that so many times, the movie is tattooed in my mind. Ghostbusters 2, while I like for nostalgic purposes, I find to be kinda terrible. It has its moments, but it is such a lazy retread. I also watched a lot of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, had a bunch of toys, and drank an unhealthy amount of Ecto-Cooler. Point being, I grew up with Ghostbusters. It is part of who I am and, in some small ways, the films informed my development.
With that in mind, how did I find Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters? I really enjoyed it. I truly did. The film is incredibly worthy of bearing the Ghostbusters name. It is funny throughout and legitimately scary at times. I found it incredibly refreshing that, beyond some broad strokes, it doesn’t retell the same story from the 1984 original. It mostly does its own thing.
The writing is to be commended (mostly). I really got a good sense of balance between the four ghostbusters as they met and developed their friendship throughout the film, which is really what this film is ultimately about. It provided a good, emotional arc to be invested in, while, at the same time, doing some nice (but not in-your-face) world building. I guess, what I want to say is that the narrative was balanced very well.
I said mostly above, because there are some inconsistencies within the film, mainly revolving around the tech. At some points, the tech just holds the ghosts (as in the original films) and other times it disintegrates them. I think I understand this seeming inconsistency, but a little bit more explanation would have helped out a lot in this regard to make certain sequences fully work.
I should mention that Ghostbusters is a very different kind of comedy than the original film. The original’s comedy was very dry, sarcastic, and slow burning. This one is a little more broad and silly (yet still grounded), but it works to the film’s strength. And having different styles of comedy is okay. The original was lightning in a bottle and to try to replicate that in today’s world would have been a horrible misstep. Feig brought his own directing style to the film and it works to the film’s benefit.
Ghostbusters was very well cast, but Chris Hemsworth as dim-witted Kevin and Kate McKinnon as the eccentric Holtzman steal the show. They are just so charmingly goofy throughout the film. I hope McKinnon’s career explodes in the near future, and I would love to see Hemsworth do more straight-up comedy. Beyond that, the cast just gels very well together. As characters, you like them and want to see them succeed.
Not everything works in the film. There are times that the movie is a bit too reverential to the original, particularly in regards to the cameos. Some of the cameos just took me straight out of the film. Particularly Bill Murray’s extended, gratuitous cameo just kills the story’s momentum and served no purpose other than to give Bill Murray an extended cameo (see Zombieland for a further example).
And, the less said about the awkward Ozzie Osbourne cameo, the better.
Also, the film’s pace just grinds during the second act. Not sure what exactly happened during editing, but the film starts and ends strong with things moving quickly, but once the aforementioned Bill Murray cameo comes, it takes a bit before the film finds its footing again.
Is Ghostbusters as good as the original? No. I might be biased, but the original is a classic that may never be topped. Is it a good film on its own merits? Absolutely! The few problems that I had with the film didn’t sour me on it. It is a genuinely fun and (more importantly) funny film. I recommend it.