Review: Ghostbusters

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the most anticipated “film to hate” of the summer. You’ve seen me reference my enthusiasm to see this film in previous reviews, but it’s finally here, and I finally got to go see it. As I entered the theater and found my seat among the 60-something year old men who had been dragged to the theater by their wives, I felt a wave of nervousness fall on me. As the previews started, I actually started to sweat a little and I could feel my heart rate increasing. I was actually very anxious (in the negative sense) to see this film, not only because I literally could not convince anyone I knew to suffer through it with me, but because it felt like the first time that I was actually forcing myself to see a film I knew I was going to hate no matter what came on that screen…

That epiphany got me thinking: why was I going to hate this film no matter what? Was it because I was a misogynistic douche with an agenda against women? No, though you are free to accuse me of such if you wish. Was it because this movie was an absolutely shameless cash grab of a reboot that nobody wanted to see? Uh… maybe partially. Was it because the trailer that came out a few months ago was the worst trailer I had ever seen for a movie in my entire life (okay, maybe not the worst)? YES. This film is a prime specimen for showing how important movie trailers actually are. Sure, there are tons of people out there who say, “Oh, I stay away from movie trailers because I don’t want them to spoil the movie or influence how good I think it’s going to be.” I don’t want those things either, but a movie trailer is almost always a pretty good indicator to the overall quality of the film. Take a look at a few recent films that did movie trailers right: GodzillaInceptionStar Wars, and the greatest of them all, Mad Max. No matter how you felt about the movies themselves, each of these films’ trailers were masterfully crafted in a way that didn’t tell the audience exactly what they were seeing, it only left them feeling like they wanted to see more. Now, watch the trailer for Ghostbusters again and ask yourself if you really  really wanted to see more of it…  I don’t want to project the way I felt about the trailer onto you, but to me, this trailer reflects that this movie was not going to be funny, and that it’s going to be filled with homages to please fans of the original Ghostbusters movie, and that it’s also going to be a whole lot of awkward dialogue and slapstick comedy.

So with all that being said and my point (hopefully) being made, the only thing left to do is discuss whether or not the trailer reflected the overall quality of the film. You could go see the movie now and decide for yourself, or you could keep reading because, if you’ve kept up with my reviews, then you know that it’s pretty likely at this point that I’m about to rip this movie to shreds.

 

Story: 3/10

I don’t really know where to begin because my mind is already scraping memories of this movie to save room for other more important things even though I only walked out of the theater two hours ago.

OH, that’s a good place to begin! Let’s talk about how overwhelmingly boring this movie was. Before this film, the closest I had come to falling asleep in a theater was during March of the Penguins. I know that a ton of people are huge fans of Paul Feig’s films (BridesmaidsThe HeatSpy, pretty much anyhting starring Melissa McCarthy), and while I didn’t particularly enjoy these films, I can definitely appreciate their uniqueness in the comedy film genre. I also understand why people think they are funny, and I know what people find to be funny about them. This film did not share this same quality with the rest of his films. I truly have a hard time saying that, “if you liked any of his previous films then you’ll like this one for sure!” because I really feel like this isn’t going to be true for a lot of people. Looking at the numbers only further backs my point; Bridesmaids has a 76% user score on Rotten Tomatoes, The Heat has a 71% user score on Rotten Tomatoes, and Spy has a 79% user score, all while Ghostbusters sits at a 52% and an embarrassingly low IMDB score of 4.7. This movie just does not deliver the laughs like his previous work has, and it’s suffering from it.

So if the laughs aren’t there, one would hope that maybe a little more work went into trying to make the story interesting. Well my friends, turn back now because there’s certainly no light at the end of that tunnel.

Let’s talk about characters. The characters and their motivations for their actions make absolutely no sense. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates both want the same two things: to prove that ghosts exist and to be taken seriously by the rest of the scientific community. Why is it, then, that they are constantly disagreeing with each other? They are both (supposedly) brilliant scientists with the same goals, yet it seems like one is always trying to fight the other and distance themselves from the other. And the primary antagonist is someone who is quite possibly even smarter than Gilbert and Yates combined, yet works as a janitor in a hotel. His whole motivation is that he’s been bullied his whole life, but that’s  no excuse for why a person capable of creating ghost summoning time bombs and an inter-dimensional wormhole in the basement of a freaking hotel doesn’t at least have a job teaching physics at my old high school. Tony Stark made a big suite or armor in a cave and he made billions off of his brain, but nothing he ever did even comes close to this guy. And what’s up with the two secondary characters? It’s like the writers wrote the script thinking they were just going to have Wiig and McCarthy and then remembered that the original movie had 4 ghostbusters, not 2. Leslie Jones plays a real Leslie-Jones-type character that doesn’t really bring much to the table except her uncle’s hearse and an odd interest in the history of New York’s architecture that is just more convenient than useful. Kate McKinnon plays history’s most brilliant engineer, and she probably spent a lot of time watching/playing Borderlands in preparation for her role. Seriously, I don’t think they could decide if they wanted her to just be straight up insane or just have this kind of constant childish glee. And last, but certainly not least is Chris Hemsworth… every review I’ve read has said that Chris was probably the best part of this movie, but I just didn’t see it. I will say that his character had a few “moments,” but that he was pretty ridiculous for the most part. I won’t spoil anything about his character, but I wanted him gone after a few minutes of screen time.

The last thing I want to talk about are just things that are missing from the plot, not “plot holes,” but just really dumb stuff that could have been avoided. Believe it or not, the Ghostbusters story is a science-ficiton comedy, and the original actually did a decent job of defining the science part of its fiction. This reboot, however, believes that its audience is going to be too busy laughing their asses off to think about things like: if ghosts can only appear after one of those “ghost bombs” have gone off, then why have their been “ghost sightings” all throughout history? Or why is the antagonist more powerful than all the other ghosts after he dies, shouldn’t he just be a normal ghost? And if he’s powerful enough to make an entire division of the U.S. National Guard do a Michael Jackson impersonation and then freeze them in time for twenty minutes, why doesn’t he just freeze the Ghostbusters and move on with his plan? Also, how does someone like Kate McKinnon’s character, who’s likely been charged with theft and illegal possession of restricted material in the past, get the supplies she needs to make more than 6 nuclear reactors in the middle of Manhattan???

 

Acting: 5/10

No one is at their best in this film. I’ve seen several movies with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, all of which were far more entertaining than this one. As I said previously, I thought Chris Hemsworth was really hard to watch in this movie, because he just doesn’t sell “the idiot” very well.

Maybe all of the actors just weren’t selling their characters very well, or maybe it was mostly the fault of the script. I counted three times where someone said something along the lines of, “Well, at least us Ghostbusters are all back together again, that’s what’s important!” despite them never being separated. It’s stuff like this that can really make a good actor/comedian look bad.

 

Visuals: 3/10

If a bunch of flashing lights and bright colors are enough to keep you visually stimulated, then have at it. All I could think of the whole time was how much it made me think that everyone was just being filmed while they played laser tag with each other.

 

Music: 2/10

You knew it was going to happen, and you knew in the back of your head that it was going to be awful. You were right. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you, the new Ghostbusters theme song featuring the rockin riffs of Fall Out Boy and sick rhymes of Missy Elliot… this song plays several times throughout the film by the way…

Also, I don’t know why it made me feel this way, but I was actually really pissed off at “The Beasts of Mayhem,” which is a fake rock band that has a concert in this movie. Rock is my favorite genre, and it really made me angry to be reminded of how rock is portrayed in the current pop-culture meta. For those that don’t like rock music, don’t let stupid crap like “The Beasts of Mayhem” influence how you feel about it.

 

X-Factor: 2/10, they didn’t keep the original siren

Yeah you read that right. They make a joke about how the siren is unique and very “un-American” sounding, so you expect that it will sound like the original siren. Instead, your ears will be greeted by this monstrosity.

 

Overall: 2.9/10, only slightly worse than Tarzan!

I did not enjoy this film. This film is going to be one of those films that constantly plays on movie channels like FX in the middle of the afternoon that everyone falls asleep watching. It didn’t make me laugh, but it wasn’t as bad as Tarzan. So, if you absolutely have to see a movie this weekend, and your theater local isn’t showing something like The Infiltrator, or Swiss Army Man (like most theaters are, unfortunately), then I would recommend that you see this film instead of Tarzan. Hell, The Secret Life of Pets might be worth considering more than either of these, especially if you’re like me and don’t want to keep rewarding studios for making shitty cash-grabbing sequels.

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