Review of 'Ghostbusters'

ghostbusters_2016.jpg The much-delayed reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise, how does it measure up with the original? Not so good, I am sorry to say.

When mysterious events occur at the Aldridge Mansion in New York city, the director visits Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), the co-writer of a book about the existence of ghosts who is a professor at Columbia University. Surprised at seeing the book that she has disavowed in her drive to achieve tenure at Columbia, Gilbert seeks out her co-author Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) who is working in a lab with an extremely odd but brilliant engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). The three visit the mansion and experience first-hand the ghost that is haunting it. When the video of the visit goes viral on the Internet Gilbert loses her tenure and with increasing numbers of ghosts being reported the three decide to go into business together, renting a space above a Chinese restaurant (a reference back to the original film, the original Ghostbusters movie headquarters in a fire station is rejected by the group because of the cost). They are joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a former employee on the MTA (subway) after examining a haunting in her subway station. They also hire a Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth) because of his good looks because, frankly, that is all he has going for him as the on-going joke that Beckman is a complete idiot (taken often to extremes). The team complete they take it upon themselves to save New York from a massive supernatural event threatening, of course, the entire city though without the support of the mayor (Andy Garcia) who is privately appreciating their work publicly denounces their activities…Will they be able to save the city? What do you think?

I honestly wanted to like this remake of the original movie but in the end I was left quite disappointed. It was amusing to see the nods to the original film including cameos from the original surviving stars including Bill Murray (as a paranormal sceptic), Dan Dan Aykroyd (as a scarily nonchalant taxi driver), Ernie Hudson (as Tolan's uncle who owns a hearse business that the Ghostbusters ruthlessly exploit by “borrowing” a vehicle), Annie Potts (as a rude hotel receptionist) and Sigourney Weaver (as Holtzmann's mentor). There are other nods including the return of the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man as well as the familiar Ghostbusters logo. But as far as the rest of the story the characters are quite one-dimensional and the humour quite flat with only a few laugh-out-loud moments mostly from the dominance of McCarthy's character. A refreshing surprise was the delightfully quirky Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) which often verges on the disturbing. I won't comment on the effects other than to say they are quite convincing. Enough said.

I think that this film seems to be trying to hard at the expense of any memorable characters as well as sparkling dialogue that was present in the original movie. They had big boots to fill and here I am afraid they came quite a ways short. They were always going to be compared to the original, and loved movie but it desperately lacks it's heart and soul. Where the original flowed nicely this seems to be stilted and mechanical. Even the heroic comedic efforts of McKinnon and McCarthy cannot save this.

Those looking for a bit of nostalgia from the original movie would probably enjoy bits of this movie but, unfortunately, beyond that there is little to attract everyone else.

Rating: “A slight glimmer of hope, but mostly awful”

Review Date: 2016-07-19

Directed by: Paul Feig

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Year: 2016

Length: 116 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction