It's often said that there's no such thing as bad publicity, but those people probably didn't catch the official trailer for Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot when it premiered back in March.
Remakes of classic movies are usually met with some derision, often unfairly, but few could have predicted the extent of the online backlash that the film suffered before it was even released; chauvinist and misogynistic doesn't even begin to cover the venom that the likes of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig were subjected to.
That's one of the nicer ones.
Unfortunately, a divisive cover of the theme tune by Fallout Boy and Missy Elliott did little to repair public relations, but at the end of the day, all that really matters is one thing and one thing only; Is Ghostbusters actually any good?
Ghostbusters may have some spooky moments, but the most shocking thing about the film is that the majority of critics actually liked it. Despite all of the initial backlash, Ghostbusters is currently sitting pretty with an impressive score of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. Don't believe us? Here's our roundup of what the best critics on the internet had to say about Paul Feig's stab at the Ghostbusters franchise.
How do the central female cast fare?
The one thing that irked audiences most prior to the release of Ghostbusters turns out to be the film's greatest strength.
Nigel M. Smith of the Guardian sings the praises of the four leads in his review, stating that;
"Though hats are respectfully doffed, this is a four-woman show, deftly managed to allow all the leads – McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones – a chance to showcase their own distinct brands of comedy."
Smith continues by commending the squad's chemistry, explaining that;
"Fun oozes from almost every frame; likewise the energy of a team excited to be revolutionising the blockbuster landscape. Let's just hope everyone will enjoy the view."
Alison Willmore of Buzzfeed News shares this sentiment, pointing out that the new team are impressive on their own terms without just paying homage to the original:
"Jones, McCarthy, McKinnon, and Wiig are so good together - and in ways that are distinctively theirs and not recycled from the past - that their message of not giving a damn resonates better than the movie's underwhelming climax."
Writing for the Toronto Sun, Liz Braun praises each of the central cast, including Chris Hemsworth's first successful foray into comedy;
"Wiig is at her best, Jones is a revelation, Chris Hemsworth is a wonderful surprise in the movie and Kate McKinnon steals the show. They're all weirdly endearing, too, and it has nothing to do with nostalgia."
Is the new Ghostbusters fun?
Above all else, summer blockbusters should be fun and fortunately, Manohla Dargis had plenty of great things to say in her review for the New York Times;
Sliding into theaters on a river of slime and an endless supply of good vibes, the new, cheerfully silly "Ghostbusters" is that rarest of big-studio offerings - a movie that is a lot of enjoyable, disposable fun.
Drew McWeeny of Hitfix agreed, citing the improvisation on display as a clear highlight;
"It's not easy to make a good comedy, but it's really not easy to make one this beautiful on a visual level that also still feels loose and funny enough for improvisation and random left turns into lunacy."
How does the new Ghostbusters compare to the original?
Inevitably, comparisons will be drawn between Paul Feig's reboot and the original Ghostbusters, but for the most part, the reviews compare the two rather favorably. The Daily Telegraph's Robbie Collin had this to say;
"The 2016 vintage of Ghostbusters speaks to its time with the same withering comic accuracy and hot-air-balloon-sized sense of fun as the 1984 original...Its jokes, effects and sparkler-bright cast chemistry need nothing to fall back on."
Drew McWeeny of Hitfix summed up the reason why remakes can be so powerful in one simple paragraph, explaining that;
"The original Ghostbusters will always be a classic that means something special to me. The good news is, there’s a whole new generation that’s about to feel that way about this one. And more power to them."
Not everyone felt the same way though. Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson argues that;
"It spends so much time doing battle with its legacy that it forgets to be its own movie, putting a talented cast to waste and marking another disappointment in this dreadful summer movie season."
Peter Debruge of Variety echoed this sentiment, condemning Feig's formulaic approach to the franchise.
"While both funnier and scarier than Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, this otherwise over-familiar remake from “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig doesn’t do nearly enough to innovate on what has come before."
Does the CGI fit the tone of the franchise?
One of the key criticisms of the new Ghostbusters is a familiar complaint of modern blockbusters in general; an over-reliance on CGI. Variety's Debruge discusses this in more detail in his review;
"Whereas Feig has previously managed to cross genre streams successfully, here he succumbs to the familiar curse of the digital-effects era: When there's almost nothing the computer can't conjure, it falls to the director to know when to stop."
Mike Ryan of Uproxx were quick to point out the strength of the cast, but felt that the CGI directly affected the pace of the movie;
"When Ghostbusters focuses on the team and the characters (always Feig's strength), it flourishes. It's only when it gets bogged down in CGI ghosts that, sometimes, it starts to drag."
Jonathan Pile of Empire Magazine was more positive in his appraisal, but agrees that the CGI is an issue;
"The film works for the most part, and even though the laughs notably dry up as the CGI spectacular kicks into gear, its feelgood vibes will most likely have already won you over."
Was everyone impressed with the comedic work on display?
Many of the early reviews praised the cast themselves, although not all of the jokes hit their mark according to the likes of Chris Nashawaty, who had this to say for Entertainment Weekly;
"Is the new Ghostbusters funny? The answer is: Kind of, but not nearly to the degree it should be considering the talent involved... With a cast as daring and quick as this one, Ghostbusters is too mild and plays it too safe."
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter agreed, suggesting that the pacing and tone directly affected the laugh count;
"It's all busy-ness, noise and chaos, with zero thrills and very little sustainable comic buoyancy."
Fans will be happy to hear that Time Magazine's Stephanie Zacharek disagreed, arguing that;
"The movie glows with vitality, thanks largely to the performers, who revel in one another’s company. Feig's Ghostbusters is its own definitive creature, an affable, inventive riff on Ivan Reitman's proton-packing caper that exists not to score points, but only to make us laugh. For a summer comedy, there's no nobler purpose."
At the end of the day, isn't that the whole point of films like Ghostbusters?
In case you felt let down by Fallout Boy's new theme tune and still want to be hyped for the film, check out this genuinely amazing and slightly insane Japanese version of everyone's favorite '80s theme tune.
Who ya gonna call? The fashion police.