10 Thoughts on Ghostbusters 2016
In 1984, director Ivan Reitman brought together a group of SNL alum for a little movie called Ghostbusters. Who would have guessed that 30 years later, people are still loving this amazing film. While only two movies were every made in this franchise, Ghostbusters still holds a special place in the hearts of many of its fans (especially yours truly).
This month saw the debut of the Ghostbusters reboot (with the same title). The movie has had no shortage of controversy, thanks in no small part to director Paul Feig’s (Bridesmaids, Spy) decision to replace the all male cast with an all female one. To be honest, I don’t care that much about the change. All men, all women, a mix, whatever. Just give me a good addition to the franchise I love. Well I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and watch this new film, so lets dive into the details.
Also, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, spoilers abound.
10 Thoughts on Ghostbusters 2016
1. This should have been a sequel.
Ghostbusters 2016 was a complete reboot, instead of a sequel. To be honest, this was a bit miss for me. I don’t know why they threw out all the source material from the early movies, especially considering it takes place in the same city and there are so many throwbacks to the original. It also made the much of the movie really weird as no one believed that the ghosts were real, despite many people seeing them (more on that later). I think Ghostbusters 2016 would have been better served taking place 30 years in the future from the original, where people have returned to a normal life, but are still aware of what happened in the past. Much in the say way Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a throw back to the original Star Wars, and contained a lot of “torch passing”, Ghostbusters 2016 could have had the same approach. The original cast are old enough now that it would be fully believable that they have retired from their ghost-busting days and were ready to hand off the reigns to this younger generation.
2. The Cameos were a mixed bag
In addition to all the throwbacks to the first movie (such as the fire house, logo, and quotes), many of the surviving cast members made a brief appearance in this movie. Some worked well, others not so much. Ernie Hudson’s appearance as Patty’s grandfather was fantastic. Dan Ackroyd’s cameo felt like the movie was trying to force his, as he played a cab driver spouting a quote from the first movie. Sigourney Weaver’s was great, finally appearing during the credits, and so was Annie Potts basically doing the same thing she did in the first movie. Bill Murray’s was probably the oddest as the movie basically killed him off by throwing him out a window. Still, I was glad to see the original cast there, even if they were in different roles.
3. Everyone but the leading ladies are idiots
One of the criticisms people have thrown at the movie is that it’s pro-feminist propaganda, because only the women in the movie appear to be aware of what’s going on. I don’t quite agree with that, but what I did notice is that pretty much everyone but the 4 Ghostbusters in the movie are morons. From the delivery driver, to the university deans, to the mayor, to his assistant (the female, not sure what her job was), they all seem to exist to make bad decisions and want to remain completely oblivious to the world around them. It’s like everyone outside the team was incompetent. The Mayor clearly knows ghosts are real, but doesn’t seem to care. The delivery drive see’s his bike blown up and just shakes his head. I’m not sure why everyone else is dumb, but it was certainly confusing at times.
4. Chris Hemsworth can do comedy.
This one I wasn’t expecting. I’ve never seen Chris Hemsworth in a comedic before, but damn was he funny. While his character was somewhat over the top, it wasn’t so bad as to take you out of the movie (see #5 below). In fact, he pretty much stole every scene he was in. Some of the biggest laughs came from his quirky one liners and I could watch him show ghost logos all day.
5. Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann didn’t work.
On the other side of that coin, Kate McKinnon was just too over-the-top. Some of her antics bordered on the realm insanity and felt completely out of place. I get it that she’s supposed to be this eccentric engineer, but some of her antics were just downright confusing. Like when she’s dancing around with 2 blow torches and sets something on fire. Instead of stopping to put the fire out like a normal person, she continues to dance. I get it that it’s a comedy, but a least try to stay a little grounded in reality. While she wasn’t always that bad in the movie, there were too many points where here character was just too over-the-top to be believable. If she returns for a sequel, I hope they dial her back some.
6. Leslie Jones was fine.
I’m not the biggest Leslie Jones fan. Her comedic shtick doesn’t really work for me, so I was expecting to dread having to deal with her the whole movie. But, surprisingly, she worked well in the film. Her antics weren’t too over the top, and some of her one-liners got some big laughs. Overall I thought she put in a decent performance and I am glad I was wrong on this one.
7. The villain was weak.
While the writing in general wasn’t great in this movie, the villain felt partially weak. I kept expecting him to be just a henchmen for a bigger, more powerful villain. Much in the same way that Peter MacNicol was the henchmen for Vigo during most of Ghostbusters 2. But alas, he was the focal point of the Ghostbusters attention throughout the movie, yet he was also eminently forgettable. His motivations were incredibly weak (I was bullied!), and he could have used a lot more development. In fact, the only time he got even remotely entertaining was when he possessed the body of the assistant and Chris Hemsworth took over the role. He is no Zuul for sure.
8. I liked the new toys and effects.
While nothing is going to replace the iconic proton packs and traps from the original, some of the new gadgets were pretty fun. The shredder, the proton grenades, and even the swiss army knife gag were all entertaining. I did enjoy them inventing their first proton beam and testing it out in the subway. Even the new trap looked kind of cool. To go along with that, I also enjoyed the special effects of the new ghosts. They definitely got an upgrade over the ghosts from the original.
9. A bit too many plot holes.
I know that it’s a comedy, but there were a few too many things that just didn’t make sense. Such as how Holtzmann was able to develop all this new tech, literally overnight, and with next to no funding. In fact, I’m not even sure how they got the money to build most of the tech they have. Those parts can’t be cheap and she was cranking them out incredibly fast.
Then there is the bit when Bill Murray’s character flew out the window, killing him. You’d think they’d be prime suspects, as he was just on TV discrediting them, and because he flew out of their window. But nope, they were somehow immediately free to go.
Then there was the bit when the mayor told them to stop catching ghosts. And in the next scene one of the Ghostbusters proclaimed that the mayor said to keep doing what they are doing, only quietly. When did that happen?
Finally, how about when they caught the ghost in the theater, yet the city publicly said that it was all a hoax. In a world were everyone has a smart phone, there is NO WAY that wouldn’t have been recorded by dozens of people and posted all over the Internet.
10a. I prefer trapping to whiping.
I was a bit disappointed that they only trapped one ghost in the movie (and even let it go.) While the original movie didn’t have a ton on screen dedicated to trapping, the mid-movie montage was pretty fantastic and really helped to bridge the movie from early beginnings into the final act. In the battle near the end of the movie, the new Ghostbusters started just killing the ghosts by whipping them around and slamming them into things. If ghosts can move through objects, why would slamming them even matter?
The battle in general was very weird (especially shooting the big ghost in the crotch, wtf?), and I just wasn’t a fan of how it was handled. I have hope for the future though, because during the credits it appears they have developed a containment system, so maybe trapping will be back in the next movie.
10b. Of course there will be a sequel.
If you didn’t stay through all the credits, then you missed the small scene that basically set things up for a sequel. The ladies are listening to the recorder and hear the word Zuul mentioned. Everyone knows that’s the bad guy from the first Ghostbusters. So I’m curious to see where they go from here.
And that wraps it up. Maybe people will probably be disappointed with Ghostbusters 2016. The people who wanted this movie to be a flaming wreckage for whatever reason (reboot, all female leads, just a hater, etc…), Ghostbusters 2016 wasn’t bad. Sorry. It’s not a terrible movie.
But the people who wanted this movie to be great are going to be disappointed as well. I’m in that camp. I LOVE the Ghostbusters franchise and really wanted to walk out of this movie having loved it (Much like I did with The Force Awakens). But, unfortunately, It wasn’t great. I’m not even sure I’d say it was good. It was OK. I enjoyed it for the most part. I think it was a decent comedy movie.
It was never going to be as good as the original, that’s a losing battle. In the end, it was a movie that entertained us for a couple of hours, and maybe set things up for the future. But I think that, ultimately, it will probably be forgotten in a few months time.