Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Who You Gonna Call?


...of a sort...

Minor Spoilers Ahead

If you're looking for a bandwagon trashing of this film, look elsewhere. I did have issues with it, and I will go into details as to what those issues were, but while this movie is hardly a classic it does not deserve the irrational hatred being spewed at it since the drop of the trailer for reasons I highly suspect have more to do with the ranters' deep-seeded prejudices than any flaw in the film itself.

As I see it, the film really only has two flaws. They are fairly significant flaws, but better-received films have done worse. One flaw is technical, and the other is philosophical.

The technical flaw is the effects. They're not terrible effects by any stretch, but they pale in comparison to other films I've seen even this year (such as Warcraft and Jungle Book). Ghostbusters by its nature is no stranger to silly-looking effects, but these seem closer in tone and aesthetic to the "Real Ghostbusters" cartoon (or even the first live-action "Scooby-Doo" picture) than either of the original films. Plus, it has this habit of having effects and items transcend the letterbox - fantastic if you're a fan of 3D, jarring if you're not.

The philosophical flaw is that this is a reboot. It should have been a sequel, but instead it was a reboot, pretending the previous films didn't happen aside from constant fanservice cameos and references which, while fun, still remind me that this should have been a sequel. If the exact same story and the exact same characters were in place, only they were set up as the new guard rather than simply recreating the Ghostbusters in a vacuum where they had never existed before, this movie would have been several dozen times better and I would have walked away with a much better feeling.

I'm now in a place where I categorically dislike the mere notion of reboots. While some have been good, or even necessary, if it's following a generally successful series it should be either another continuation or, even better, leave the franchise alone and do something new. Especially superheroes - I don't mind if people want to do different Batman interpretations as the years go by, but I do NOT want to see a new film Batman every 5-10 years.

Taking these things aside - This was actually a pretty damn good Ghostbusters flick

The new characters are fun, and the actresses are all top-notch at portraying them. While they do all have traits that harken back to the original team, they're also different enough to be their own characters. And they play off each other just as well if not better than the originals. Though...now that I think about it...just what was the deal with Kevin (Chris Hemsworth)?

And the story was an interesting twist. In a way, all three Ghostbusters have the same story - someone wants to break down the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead. It's the reasoning and method that are different. In the original, Gozer was using its ancient ritual to herald its impending destruction of reality, because what else is a demigod going to do with their time? In II, Vigo the Carpathian was using the mood-slime to bring himself back into the living world to rule it. In this one, the trouble is caused by a living person using human technology to get to the other side and exact revenge on what he feels is a world that has kept him down all his life. Again, it's nothing we haven't seen before, but I liked how this series handles it.

If the two big flaws I mentioned weren't holding it back, it would be a truly great film. But as it is, it's worth a look if you're in the mood for a fun comedy starring great comediennes.


  1. I dunno, maybe it's because I'm not the hugest fan of the original (I like it well enough, but outside of the iconography and the Elmer Bernstein score there's not a lot I *love* about it), but I didn't really mind this one being a reboot. Partly 'cause there's been so much difficulty in getting a proper sequel off the ground (only Ackroyd ever seemed interested, and once Ramis passed away the possibility dissipated entirely), but also partly because it would've been even harder for this film to try and stand on its own rather than live in the shadow of the prior film (which, given the amount of hatred spewed at the film before it had even come out, would've been even more insurmountable).

    I kinda liked the half-sequel-reboot track the film ended up going with, personally. In-universe it's a reboot, but the film works better with knowledge of the prior film (not just in terms of the shout-outs, but in the fact that the original film goes for a very different angle on the premise than this one does, and both in tone and plot the two films complement each other nicely). The ire you have for reboots is one I tend to have for sequels, honestly--maybe it's fatigue over the sheer amount of shared continuity films we've got going on right now, but I'd far prefer more new takes on classic franchises as we move along.

    1. That's fair. I'm just sick of constantly having to invest in new continuities. Ghostbusters is decades old at this point, so it's not as bad. I guess it has to do with expectations