GHOSTS OF THE FUTURE, GHOSTS OF THE PAST
Note: The following review is SPOILER FREE!
It’s hard to think of a film in recent memory with as much stacked against it out of the gate as Paul Feig’s reboot of the ‘80s classic Ghostbusters, perhaps the most popular film of all the collaborations between comic masterminds Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. Being blasted out of the gate immediately for its choice to go with an all-female cast, it’ll be hard to say if the film will ever be able to stand apart from the backlash against it. However, with the movie now finally released and ready to be looked at objectively, it can be safely said that while the film has a myriad of problems, none of them are from the four leads.
A reimagining of the original film, Ghostbusters introduces us to an all-new team of quirky scientists. Kristen Wiig plays the uptight Erin who reconnects with her childhood friend, the loudmouthed Abby (Melissa McCarthy), after she releases a book they wrote together years earlier. When the book’s popularity leads them being called on to look into a possible ghost sighting, they team up with the quick-witted engineer Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) to investigate. After facing their first ghost, they soon bring on the street-wise Patty, played by Leslie Jones, and form the team of paranormal investigators we’ve come to know and love.
The leads are not only great, but easily the best part of the film.
To address the 10-ton, free-floating apparition in the room, the leads are not only great, but easily the best part of the film. The dynamic and banter between the four busters provide some of its most fun moments, and Kate McKinnon easily steals the show as Holtzman. The film is also littered with other great performances, including a jaw-droppingly idiotic Chris Hemsworth and the reliably meek Zach Woods.
Where the film begins to falter, though, is in its plot: The film feels caught between being a complete remake of the original and being a completely new take on the material. It’s filled to the brim with references and nods to the 1984 version, and while the iconic theme and cameos by the likes of Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson start as nice bits of fanservice, parallels to the original quickly start to feel forced. The villain is disappointing as well, with Other Space’s Neil Casey trying his best to mine humor out of his one-note character but ultimately providing an underwhelming adversary for the heroines. It’s also worth noting how out of his element director Paul Feig seems to be here. While the film’s character moments and emotional beats all land, Feig doesn’t show the same knack for action scenes, with many of the film’s big set pieces being messily constructed and anti-climactic.
Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters is a film that feels shackled by the 1984 original. While it has some fresh ideas, it’s ultimately too concerned with referencing (and sometimes outright recreating) that film to stand on its own. However, a stellar cast and fast pace keeps the film light and fun, and helps to prop up the film’s weaker moments. There is a decent Ghostbusters flick here, it’s just buried under the shadow of its predecessor.
Will you be giving ‘Ghostbusters’ a shot? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. Also, be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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