Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters_2016_film_posterFor the past two decades, the idea of a third Ghostbusters movie was the dream of everyone who loved the original, then that film went through development hell, after several rewrites and delays, and after a while, it got to a point where I’m surprised anyone wanted it anymore, but somebody apparently decided to make it anyway. Of course, when this film finally was announced, I was pretty worried about the direction the film would go in, and then I finally went to see it, and seeing it only confirmed my suspicions about the film’s quality as I subject myself to a film that tries its best it meet the expectations of the first film, but ends up collapsing under the weight of its own impotence.

For me, the first problem is the story. They essentially attempted a reboot of the original film, wherein you have four ghostbusters trying to prove that ghosts are real, and they’re the people you should call. I understand why they might want to call back to the original. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was essentially a call back to the original Star Wars, but the difference is that film was great, but this film is just lazy. The writers were basically just riding on the coattails of the original classic film, while adding nothing of worth to the table.

A number of aspects of the plot feel like they were just shoehorned into the movie. For instance, there was a scene set in a heavy metal concert, but the way it was written just indicates to me that it was just an excuse to get a cheap, cringeworthy Ozzy Osborne cameo. If nothing else, it feels as if the writers blatantly copied the first film to the point that, aside from the change of scenery, it basically felt like the same film, but significantly less entertaining. I feel like they should have made a film where catching ghosts is a legitimate career, and the main characters are trainee Ghostbusters with Peter Venkman or Egon Ray as their teacher. That would have worked excellently, but instead they went with a lazy reboot that misses the mark in terms of writing.

Let’s talk about the characters, because I have a lot to say in this regard. When there’s something strange, who are you gonna call? Certainly not these Ghostbusters, in fact they’re probably the last people I’d call for help. Let’s make one thing clear, I didn’t care that the Ghostbusters were female. In fact, I think it could have worked, but the problem is that they were bad actors. How Melissa McCarthy is supposed to be funny seems to elude me, because it turns out I live on a planet where she isn’t funny. None of the Ghostbusters were likeable characters, and it seemed to me that the producers were trying desperately to pass them off as badass action heroes, but I wasn’t convinced that they were badass. I wasn’t even convinced that they were funny. It feels like most of the jokes could have been written for any flash-in-the-pan sitcom coming out of Los Angeles.

The worst character in the whole film is Kevin. Before I saw the film, I thought it was going to be Chris Hemsworth playing an insufferable white knight, but it turns out that his character is a lot worse. Apparently Kevin is a handsome yet dim-witted goof who can barely use the telephone, and yet the Ghostbusters hire him as their receptionist because they think he’s hot. Indeed, Kevin basically spends most of the film fulfilling the stereotype that man are oafish buffoons while the Ghostbusters waste no time ogling him at every turn. His character is basically little more than sexy furniture, the film does a terrible job at hiding it. This is exactly the kind of blatant objectification that feminists claim happens to women on a daily basis, but somehow it’s okay when men are being objectified. Am I the only one who questions the logic here? If Kevin were a woman, and the Ghostbusters were men, the producers would be up to their asses in angry tweets.

The film also features cameos from the three original Ghostbusters who are still alive. I find it ironic that Bill Murray (who played Peter Venkman) is now playing the role of a man famous for debunking the paranormal. It was nice to see him again, but the irony is so stunning that it’s funnier than nearly all the jokes in this film. Meanwhile, the film’s main villain comes across as a badly recycled version of Janosz Poha from Ghostbusters II, but with all the funny parts of his character sucked out of him. He acts like an excessively angsty kid with an entitlement complex, and I get that he’s supposed to be a miserable character, but the end result is a badly written villain.

In terms of writing and acting, the whole film was a disgraceful display. I’ll admit that the film had some nice quality ghost effects, but all those high production values seems like a typical Hollywood façade in this film. The film frequently gets bogged down in nice-looking CGI, but the whole film looks much too polished, as if the producers want to make it look nice in order to compensate for bad writing and even worse acting. The CGI is perhaps most prominent in the scenes towards the end of the film, where the Ghostbusters are fighting their way through the ghoul-ridden streets of Manhattan. It looks incredibly flashy to a fault, but it doesn’t make up for much.

All in all, my immediate conclusion is that Hollywood, in its propensity to shamelessly reboot older films rather than coming up with new ideas, has ruined one of the most beloved films of all time. It’s as if somebody had taken Ghostbusters, chopped off its manhood, and offered it as a sacrifice. While it may appease the goddesses of third-wave feminism, it certainly doesn’t appease me, nor the average moviegoer.

Even if it isn’t the worst film of all time, it certainly embodies all that I find despicable about Hollywood, and if nothing else, it made a hollow mockery of the original. The original Ghostbusters was classic, but this film is just a worthless excuse for a comedy, and riding on the coattails of the original made it worse.

  • Score: 45%
  • Grade: D
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