“Who ya gonna call”? Very few questions have been able to strike a chord with people for the past thirty years than that question. The Ghostbusters franchise made famous by legendary comedy director, Ivan Reitman. And the talent of 4 men, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson. Originally conceived by Ackroyd as a project for him and his SNL alum, John Belushi. The script was later rewritten by Ramis after Belushi’s death. And history was born into a franchise that continues to this day with Ghostbusters on July 15th 2016. Credit to everyone involved with Ghostbusters for making a film that is both a continuation of the mythos, yet still very much, it’s own film.
This new film in the series sees plenty of changes, Bridesmaids director Paul Feig takes the reigns from Reitman. Reitman chose to step down from directing after the death of Ramis halted work on Ghostbusters 3. Reitman and Ackroyd now serve as executive producers, guiding this new film and Kate Dippold and Feig in the writing of the script. This team has crafted a film that sets up a solid new universe. But what saves this film from being a truly great film is the lack of villain and story. In that regard, the third act of this film falls apart because of that. Inside Amy Schumer’s Neil Casey portrays Rowan North. Rowan is a man that is setting devices that he built around the city to bring on the apocalypse by breaking down dimensional barriers to allow ghosts into this world.
In the original movie, The Ghostbuster were fighting Gozer, a god bent on resurrection by finding the two people she needs to be able to open the gates from her dimension to ours. This was a clear direction for Gozer and you understood why she wants to do it. But with Rowan, it’s never explained why he wants to cause the apocalypse. And because he’s the creepy bellhop in a hotel, he gets dressed down a lot as he plots to kill everyone. Because of this, he never comes off as powerful or any type of threat to anyone. And this leads to a climax that feels more about using the technology that wasn’t available to the original film to showcase ghost fighting technology with this new ghost buster team versus Rowan’s ghost army then climaxing the story. Because you don’t feel invested in the villain or this fight after you see each Ghostbuster come into their own culminating in the scene stealing Kate McKinnon using her proton pistols. All this being said, being able to see live action ghostbusters tech without the limits of the 80’s is fun to watch.
Outside of this third act, you’re present with a solid film that introduces our new team of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. And therein lies the controversy. Fans have been wanting a new Ghostbusters movie for the past twenty years. But when it was announced that Feig would be directing an all female team, the fans went into an uproar. The fans would go on to claim they wanted the original Ghostbusters – loosely hiding their own sexiest and misogynistic reasonings behind the cult following the original film has. This anti-female Ghostbuster uproar would build, resulting in an almost viral status. The first trailer for the film was intentionally down voted enough on Youtube to become the most hated trailer in the history of the internet. And then they managed to break Paul Feig. Who went on record as saying; “sci-fi fans are a-holes”. The original Ghostbusters, to their credit, embraced the new production. Ackroyd being the most vocal defender of the film via his Twitter page.
Credit has to be given to Feig and Kate Dippold for writing a story based on character and not based on women taking over for men. There was only ever one time in the entire film where the subject of men vs. women was addressed – and it fit the scene and tempo of the film at that point.
It was clear from the outset of filming that Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones we’re one ever interested in character and story. Non of this cast was ever in this film to highlight women as better then men. And it shows in the performances throughout the film. We’re immediately met with strong characters with the history between Wiig and McCarthy’s Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates. The story builds with humour and a surprising amount of character. Credit to Feig for building the foundation of this new team with the dramatic talent of McCarthy and Wiig and not completely on his cast’s comedic talent. McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann steals the show as the the tech genius of the Ghostbusters. Wiig’s mastery of playing subtly funny yet flawed characters brings a relatable aspect to Gilbert. McCarthy and Jones both bring a confidence that when they push the team you can get behind that push. The biggest surprise that came with this film was Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin the receptionist. Hemsworth’s Kevin is completely self-deprecating to Hemsworth’s own social status. And, to Hemsworth’s credit, is legitimately entertaining to watch for most of the time. Again, the third act comes in to play for Hemsworth. With his act being played slightly longer than it ever needed too.
The ghosts themselves never quite feel like they want to be ghosts. Often surrounded with a blue aura that is so blue that each ghosts comes off as more of a cartoon. And you legitimately question if the ghosts that appear in the third are from a cartoon. The idea that ghosts are humans is seemingly thrown out in favour of a interdimensional circus-like ghosts. Another fact that helps the scares in this film to not have any sort of scare with them.
Throughout the trailers, the comedy in the film came across as tired with the same jokes these actors play in anyone of the films they’ve been in. The exact same tone and tired stereotypes that you’ve seen in anyone of the films with these stars in it. Columbia Pictures, marketing department was trying to market this film strictly to the female fan base these stars already had. They quickly corrected their course after the deluge of hate over the trailer began. And you slowly begin to see a story that wasn’t a direct retelling of the original film come to life in the following trailers. And by the time the film hit, credit to Feig who’s comedic instincts served him well, most of the time, in the writing and directing of the script. The film was given a subtle level of comedy that was the same type of comedy we’ve seen from him in the past. But it also felt a lot like the original film. But for all of the good this film had and all of the credit Feig can get. But the ultimate problems with this film is that it feels like Feig is slightly out of his element as the problems with story, as well as editing, come all to apparent the further in to this movie you go. If this film wasn’t a Ghostbuster film, if this didn’t have the fandom or the cult following. Would it still have had the highest box office release of a comedy for the year? No it wouldn’t have. This isn’t the film for you if you’re going into this movie looking for a film that will be as iconic as the original. But if you go to Ghostbusters looking to have a mindless good time, you will indeed enjoy this film.
3 out of 5 Stars