Ghostbusters (2016) Review: A Funny Kind Of Awkward
Whatever happened to remakes and sequels? I realize I’m about to argue the artistic integrity of a practice that involves recycling the same stories. I know that’s not a winning stance to take, but in my eyes, these movies used to at least carry the pretense of caring. Nowadays, once you have the name of an established property, you don’t have to do much else. Instead of tweaking the original story, adding a few interesting new ideas here and there, they are now just shy of carbon copies of the original. If you want examples go see ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ or the biggest movie of 2015 ‘The Force Awakens’.
The new ‘Ghostbusters’ is no different. The biggest issue with it is its lack of originality. Based on the 1984 original of the same name, ‘Ghostbusters’ is a remake through and through. New York City has seen an rise in paranormal activity, posing a threat to modern society. Thankfully, a group of keen eyed scientists obsessed with the other side pay attention and form the group known as the Ghostbusters, to, you guessed it, bust some ghosts. Only this time, instead of a bunch of dudes, it’s a group of girls. Namely, Leslie Jones, Kate Mckinnon, Kirsten Wiig and Melissa Mccarthy.
That seems to be the only real change in this film, and it’s largely artificial. Story wise, it’s beat for beat the same as the original. Complete with bureaucratic obstacles to busting ghosts and a theme song. With the story being spoken for the movie focuses more on crafting their new characters. This is done well as each of the Ghostbusters feel distinct enough, and have a good degree of chemistry between one another, but that only happens if the script decides to work.
Comedy of course is subjective, even though I didn’t hear much laughter in the theatre I attended. However I did get a few good laughs in. That’s what happened with the characters of Kate Mckinnon’s Holtzmann and Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin. The jokes are essentially, Mckinnon is weird and Hemsworth is stupid. Granted, the way the characters are used at first is funny, but it quickly starts to become grating as the movie goes on.Because this film is played as a straight comedy, it means a lot of screen time is devoted to jokes. Unfortunately in this case, very often those jokes don’t really work. So much of my time in the theatre was spent waiting for a joke to be over just so we could get to the next scene. That next scene would most likely not be funnier than the last, and it was seemingly unending awkwardness for large portions of the movie. By the time a genuinely funny scene came around, I probably laughed harder than it deserved just because I was relieved.
When not trying to maintain the difficult balancing act of comedy, the movie slips in a few action scenes. Director Paul Feig is known for this, as evidenced by ‘Spy’ and ‘The Heat’, but like the comedy, a lot of these scenes are hit and miss. Some are tense and intriguing, and play up the tension associated with the supernatural. Others are goofy, mistreating your eyes with the nauseating neon of CGI ghost people.
‘Ghostbusters’ is a very uneven movie. I was constantly going back and forth with how I felt about it. It would make me laugh and be a charming film, with characters that worked really well together, but then it would be incredibly awkward and make me wish it were 20 minutes shorter. Never though did I think it was a bad film, just not a particularly good one either. With that in mind, I’d have to say that if you’re gonna see it, you should probably Catch It On Cable.
Rating: Catch It On Cable