By Jack Dignan
It's one of the most talked about and unnecessarily controversial remakes of all time. Ghostbusters (or is it Ghostbusters: Answer The Call? Both titles are shown in the film) is back for a new generation, and it brought with it a lot of scepticism. In fact, it's the single most disliked trailer on all of YouTube, so that's impressive. Sort of. Fans, including myself, were ready to hate this movie, and for a number of reasons. Personally, I thought it looked like a terrible cash grab, but many were ready to hate it over the fact that women were in the leads. Ridiculous? Absolutely. But as it turns out, this new Ghostbusters isn't all that bad.
The first character we're introduced to in Ghostbusters is Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), a scientist ashamed of her history with investigating paranormal activity. But her shame soon goes away after she discovers a ghost with her childhood friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and her scientist partner, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Together, they form the Ghostbusters, hoping to capture ghosts all around New York City. It doesn't go well, but after getting a case from Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), they soon realise that all of their cases thus far are connected, and there may just be someone who's amplifying the ghost activity and setting them free.
The 1984 Ghostbusters is a classic. It's not only one of the funniest, most original comedies of all time, but it's clever. The cast are fantastic, creating some iconic characters. So this new Ghostbusters movie has a lot to live up to, and how does it go? Well, it's funny, so there's that. That's all I really wanted out of this movie. Nostalgia and fun, and it delivers on both. Comparisons to the original and how that film did a lot of things better are unavoidable, but as a standalone movie, it's... fine. It's not fantastic, but it was entertaining.
The plot, as simple as it is, moves along at a fairly quick pace, and because of that, I was never really bored. Even the scenes that fell flat were never boring. I was interested in what was going on, even if all of it is formulaic and predictable. It's fun to see all these very talented cast members do their thing, and all four of the Ghostbusters have some great chemistry, resulting in plenty of chuckle-worthy moments throughout. The only character that provided big gut-busting laughs was Chris Hemsworth, his first appearance especially. He steals the show.
The problem is, none of the characters are all that interesting. Like I said, the characters from the original are iconic, and the actors are all brilliant in their roles. With this new Ghostbusters, none of the characters are too memorable, and at times, they were mostly annoying. I was preparing for Kate McKinnon to be my favourite character in the whole movie, but she ended up being the complete opposite. She was annoying as hell, every line that came out of her mouth a joke that felt oh so incredibly forced. She does have one extremely cool moment towards the end, but that's about it.
Melissa McCarthy plays... Melissa McCarthy. She's fine in the role, but there's nothing new here. She's been typecast once again, but her character had no depth whatsoever. She was there, she said some funny lines, and that's it. The same can be said for Leslie Jones, who's the most stereotypical character in the whole film. She's funny, sure, but once again, the character just doesn't work. These feel like characters you'd find on Saturday Night Live, and if you've ever seen that show, you know that's not a good thing when you're trying to establish a new movie franchise.
The only character in this film who I thought had some depth was Kristen Wiig's Erin Gilbert. Again, super clichéd character, but compared to everyone else, she was outstanding, although that's not really saying much. Her humour is hit and miss, but her character actually felt like a real human with real emotion, even if it is a character you've seen a hundred or so times before. The real stand out here, however, is Chris Hemsworth, whose first appearance is the single funniest scene in the entire film.
Paul Feig as a director can make some seriously funny movies, most famously Bridesmaids. His last two film, Spy, didn't do an awful lot for me, and so I was hesitant when he was announced as the director of this new Ghostbusters. While the content is far less mature than he's used to, he does prove to be a worthy director to helm this new film, limiting himself to just two sex jokes, both of which are blink and you'll miss it moments. He knows this film is for a different audience than he's used to, and he does an admirable job at it.
Full of cameos and callbacks, it's a film that tries to stand on its own, but can't resist relying on the original for help. It tries so hard to establish itself as a unique and original take on Ghostbusters, rebooting it rather than remaking it, but it follows a very familiar structure and references the original films way too many times. Plus, it didn't really help when the villain is absolutely atrocious, especially when compared to the antagonist of the original movie. If a sequel is to be made, however, the villain they've semi set up will hopefully be a major step up from whoever the hell was the villain of this film.
To sum up, Ghostbusters is a fun new take on the classic franchise with some seriously funny cast members. The problem is, it struggles to stand on its own, has the most stereotypical characters you can possibly imagine and features a tonne of really idiotic moments or callbacks. But hey, if one were to be made in the coming years, I ain't afraid of no sequel.