July 16, 2016

Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

Way back in 1984 a movie was released to theaters that has stood the test of time, entertaining millions over and over again for over thirty years. That movie was Ghostbusters, a movie that ranks among the greats and has inspired legions of dedicated fans. A few years later a sequel arrived, and while I do not love the movie, it still has a lot to like. Ever since then there have been ideas of adding a third movie to the franchise. Before now, the closest we had gotten was a video game featuring the voices of the original cast that was released back in 2009. In recent years there were talks of a third film with the original cast, a feature that transitioned the ‘busting to a new generation, and then, most recently, rival male and female team based films. The one that was made was the one featuring all female leads. This led to all manner of controversy before it ever hit theaters.

For a long time I was of the opinion that the idea of a new Ghostbusters film should just be forgotten. There were too many rival factions trying to get something going and I felt there was just too much time passed to make a worthy sequel. Of course, should one get made, I would be inclined to check it out and hope for the best. I was not one to cry about the casting, I actually like the cast and thought they looked pretty good in the roles. Now that the movie is here and I have seen it, I rather wish that they hadn’t made it. It is true, I did not like it. Yes, I have certainly seen worse movies, but this was just really bad.

This film is a remake, it is not any type of sequel and there are no references to the prior films happening in this universe. Of course, there are plenty of callbacks, easter eggs, and cameos related to the original film, so there is plenty of fanservice to keep you looking around the screen. The problem is the writing felt flat, nothing felt all that well developed, and I was not really all that entertained. There were scenes that went on too long, others that were just flat, and sometimes just annoying.

It really is a shame, too, as it started off well enough with a pretty good haunting bit and a lead up to the meeting of the first ghost. Some the jokes were actually funny, then things all began to grind to a halt. There is an interview sequence that goes on way too long and was painfully unfunny. There is also the feel that the movie wanted to be big and reference the original right from the start, making it feel loud and hollow pretty quick.

Yes, it is interesting to think about how the film would have been received had it not been following a classic, would the perceived entertainment factor been better without that considerable weight holding it down. Still, even without the inevitable comparison effect, I cannot see this movie rising above middling forgettable entertainment. What we get is a movie that rushes through its paces to get to the ghosts without really setting up the characters properly, leaving the villain a bland, uninteresting character, and leveling jokes at the audience that left me rather stony.

At the same time, some of the ghost effects looked pretty cool and I liked Kate McKinnon, even if the character felt a touch underutilized. There was a lot more to not like than to like in this redux. It, like many other remakes, feels unnecessary. Co-writer and director Paul Feig does not inject the movie with all that much freshness. It fails to engage me as a viewer except for moments referencing the original film.

In the end, I really feel like there is not much to say about it. I did not want to hate it going in, even if I had relatively low expectations. As much as I think the project probably should not have been undertaking, I wanted to like this. The potential is there, the final execution reveals writing that is not up to the task. Oh well, guess I will just have to check in on the next remake to come down the pipe.

Not Recommended.

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