Ghostbusters (2016) isn’t the hot mess the trailers showed it could’ve been (this year’s Alice Through the Looking Glass was far worse) and yet for all of the potential with a talented cast, the screenplay which was co-scripted by Paul Feig, was pretty bad, with the jokes falling utterly flat.
Genre(s): Comedy, Supernatural
Sony | PG13/Unrated – 117 min. / 134 min. – $34.99 | October 11, 2016
Date Published: 10/16/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 2.5/5
Much has been made about this remake of Ghostbusters but I won’t get into the politics and instead review based on, gasp, the movie itself. Truth be told, I didn’t dig the idea of a remake (male or female leads) and once I saw the first trailer, which I felt was misleading, any expectations were dwindled. Honestly, this is kind of in the middle, not so awful I was angry and yet it’s like most remakes/reboots nowadays, no real need for it and I suspect it will be forgotten in year’s time.
Note: This review contains MAJOR SPOILERS concerning the plot.
Abby Yates (MELISSA MCCARTHY) and Erin Gilbert (KRISTEN WIIG) are physicists and former friends, once co-authoring a research book on the paranormal. When Erin is up for tenure ship at a local university, and discovering Abby put their book back up online, asks Abby to take her name off. She’s of course met with resistance and snark (per any McCarthy characters in the past) and upon visiting her lab where she’s continuing working on proving the existence of ghosts, Erin meets Abby’s new partner, the quirky Jillian Holtzmann (KATE MCKINNON). She tags along with them to investigate a paranormal attack at an old mansion where they meet the home’s former maiden and Erin is slimed.
Despite getting the ghost on video and uploading on the Net, they are met with vitriol and called fakes and when the president at Erin’s university discovers it, she’s denied tenure. However, with her passion for the paranormal renewed, Erin joins Abby and Erin to starting their own company as others in the public begin to believe in them.
And there is something going on in the city. A mad scientist named Rowan North (NEIL CASEY) is summoning the spirits in order to bring upon the apocalypse by planting some sort of device around the city that does something or other, not quite sure what. One such device is placed on a subway line and discovered by MTA worker Patty Tolan (LESLIE JONES) and upon witnessing a ghost, she goes to the others, offering to join the team given her knowledge of the city streets and buildings. A bit of a stretch but as with the 1984 original, they need and everyman (everygirl) for the team.
With the business thriving, they hire a good looking but utter dunderhead guy named Kevin (CHRIS HEMSWORTH) as their secretary, but the guy’s so stupid that I wonder how in the hell he can get out of bed, tie his shoes and make his way to work. Truly, the guy is an idiot, but I suppose it’s in line with the over-the-top comedic tone for the film.
The remainder of the film has them coming onto the scene, testing new devices created by Holtzmann, garnering more public support while the government, and NYC mayor (ANDY GARCIA) wanting them to remain underground as not to spook the public, and their attempts to uncover Rowan’s diabolical plans which eventual, as revealed in every trailer, has a spirit taking over Kevin’s body.
The problem with this Ghostbusters incarnation that the villain was rather weak and his motives boiled down to that Rowan was angry for being bullied and looked down upon throughout his life, and that’s why he wanted to bring upon the apocalypse no matter what (going so far as to sacrifice himself). However, it’s not as if Ghostbusters 2 had any better of a villain but to me, the key to that film’s success was with its 4 cast members (well, three as Winston was more of an afterthought) and the chemistry they shared, held over from the first film.
For this film, the four key leads, talented as they might be — and admittedly I’m not the biggest McCarthy fan (though I acknowledge her popularity) and Wiig has done good work in the past, namely The Skeleton Twins and the others I haven’t seen enough of (haven’t watched SNL in decades) — they’re really not given much to work with in a half-baked script with jokes that fall utterly flat and in the case of a character like Kevin, it’s so over-the-top and ridiculous that it’s hard to laugh at someone who clearly has some mental issues (when we first meet him, they ask Kevin to leave to talk about him so he covers his eyes so he can’t hear them).
This Ghostbusters isn’t all bad. While I wasn’t a fan of the overly bright colors of the ghosts, the idea of the spirits on the other side of mirrors attempting to come to our realm is creepy (in theory) though unless I missed something, not entirely sure why the mirrors collected by Rowan had a link to the other side. I also thought some of the visual effects weren’t bad, some nice homage to the original (although the cameos were a bit much and Bill Murray seemed utterly disinterested) and after my initial dissatisfaction with the new Ecto-1 Hertz, I kind of dig it seeing in action that said, the original old ambulance is still my favorite.
Ghostbusters (which I guess now adds Answer the Call to the title) is hardly a horrible film, an atrocity to filmmaking in general and doesn’t wipe out everything that made the original so great. This version however, since it is mostly a comedy first, has an issue of not being very funny in spite of a talented core cast and a completely throwaway and forgettable villain, one that makes Viggo look so much better.
Directed and Co-Written by Paul Feig, Ghostbusters just didn’t quite work. Feig, like his cast, is talented and all but certainly wrong for the project but Sony apparently really wanted him, I suppose given his work with McCarthy and other actresses and had a solid hit with Spy (a movie I didn’t care for but was well reviewed critically and with audiences). I’m not entirely sure how this movie could’ve been fixed outside of a complete re-write and perhaps a director more interested in making a supernatural-comedy rather than something of a satire. As it stands, this is not the worst movie of the year (by far it is not) but it’s also disappointed this is what we get after so many years of waiting for a Ghostbusters film.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and inside is a code for the Digital Copy.
Audio Commentaries – There are two tracks included: 1) Co-Writer/Director Paul Feig and Co-Writer Katie Dippold; 2) Feig, Editor Brent White, Producer Jessie Henderson, Production Designer Jefferson Sage, VFX Supervisor Pete Travers, Special Effects Supervisor Mark Hawkers. The first is more story and direction oriented while the second is more technical, however both are fairly light-hearted and informative.
Gag Reels (15:29; HD) – There’s so much footage, there’s two “rounds” worth of line flubs and character breaks.
Deleted Scenes (9:22; HD) – We get four scenes that got cut, nothing noteworthy, however.
Extended & Alternate Scenes (21:14; HD) is some more footage (11 scenes in all) that didn’t make the theatrical cut.
Jokes A Plenty (34:30; HD) is basically a line-O-rama; maybe the term is trademarked? But yeah, there’s a s-ton of footage, damn.
Meet the Team (8:04; HD) is a profile featurette on the lead actors and includes interviews with Paul Feig, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as they discuss their respective characters and working with one another.
The Ghosts of Ghostbusters (13:57; HD) looks at the variety of spectral spooks featured in the film and includes some behind-the-scenes footage on how they were shot.
Visual Effects: 30 Years Later (15:16; HD) is about the advancement of effects from the first movie to this.
Slime Time (5:15; HD) is a featurette on the slime used and created.
Chris Hemsworth is “Kevin” (7:42; HD) – This featurette is on the casting of Hemsworth as the dimwit Kevin.
Previews – The Shallows, The Magnificent Seven, Inferno, Kingsclaive: Final Fantasy XV, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
VIDEO – 4.75/5
|Ghostbusters scares up on Blu-ray presented in its original theatrical 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a nice looking 1080p high-definition transfer. I might not have been a fan of the neon colored ghouls but they certainly pop off the screen quite well with vibrancy while detail looks sharp and well defined throughout. There were no issues of banding, aliasing or artifacting making for one heck of a great transfer.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|The disc comes housed with boisterous DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and although I would’ve liked either a DTS: X or Atmos track, or at least 7.1 channels, this one is still well done providing for both clear dialogue levels for the talky scenes to nice depth and great usage of the surrounds during the action-centric sequences, especially the finale.|
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Ghostbusters (2016) isn’t the hot mess the trailers showed it could’ve been (this year’s Alice Through the Looking Glass was far worse) and yet for all of the potential with a talented cast, the screenplay which was co-scripted by Paul Feig, was pretty bad, with the jokes falling utterly flat. I doubt this will have much staying power but might be worth a rental. The Blu-ray released by Sony offers great video and audio transfers and a respectable selection of bonus features.