Who you gonna call? The hater police? Hopefully not. Call the Ghosbusters! Yes, the same film that currently stands as the most hated trailer in YouTube history. It's quite astonishing to see out of ALL the films in 2016, this was the one that probably received the most controversy with fans. That can be almost an entirely different article on it's own, so I won't dive deeply into that.
Many people were questioning the fact that Paul Feig decided to reboot the franchise instead of continuing with the previous classic that Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis started. There was also the fact that the new team of ghost-catching goofballs would be casted completely as women. This article will include parts of my review of the film itself but, it will more so be asking and discussing the question "Did this deserve all the hate?"
We'll be grading the film on the categories of the main character team and characters, the comedy and the overall execution.
If you'd like to watch my full video review found on my YouTube channel Entertainment Buffet you can click that right here to enjoy the So I Saw Show:
The Team & Characters
If you're someone who has been sipping on your hater-aid ever since they announced women were going to star as the Ghostbusters you can go ahead and click away from this article. I don't want to be associated with any sexist comments regarding women being powerful characters that can lead their own franchises. Are they all gone? Good. Let's begin. I think most of the problems with this film don't actually pertain to the female actresses involved at all.
Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones were the standout performances for me. They felt like they were diving into their characters while Wiig and McCarthy were lacking. Both Wiig and McCarthy have almost fallen into the same issue with someone like Seth Rogen. It's as if McCarthy and Wiig were just playing themselves but in Ghostbuster jump suits. Doesn't mean they were completely unfunny, but it certainly sticks out compared to their co-stars Jones and McKinnon.
A very odd choice that I did not understand was Feig felt that Jones should be the only Ghostbuster who isn't a brilliant scientist. Which of course this lead to angry race arguments like most choices regarding minority characters do. Shouldn't they have seen that coming? They did try to have her have her own specialty as sort of the master of the history of New York. She knows all these haunted areas to find ghosts and found one that brought the team together to capture.
This idea is handled fine, until there is a part where Wiig's character actually says the phrase "we are three scientists and Patty." The audience already knows she's not a scientist. Do we really have to point it out? As if she's lesser than the rest of the team? Which leads me to McKinnon's character. I personally loved her. She has received very mixed reactions. Love or hate status. I found her character uniquely weird and shines in a handful small sections. Other times she's neglected to being the one who gives exposition on the fancy new gadgets. Out of everyone, McKinnon's character is the one I'm most interested in exploring further in any potential sequels.
Grade = B
The original Ghostbusters can easily be in talks for one of the top comedies of all time. It's just a classic that blew everyone out of the water. Was this new film able to crack us up just like the original? Well, Feig certainly brought his signature touch to the horror/comedy genre for sure. Much like directors Adam McKay and Judd Apatow, Paul Feig likes to implore a lot of improv comedy between his characters. McCarthy he's worked with on all of his films like Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy. McCarthy felt a little off being restricted to the PG-13 rating and not being able to let loose like her usual R rating.
Wiig didn't feel like she was on the best of her game either. There were scenes where you could very obviously see them trying to one up each other on set. One scene found the two riffing off of their favorite films that star the late Patrick Swayze. It got some laughs, but it felt very out of place for these two characters who were supposed to be scientists. I'm sure the same could be said for Bill Murray's Venkman but Wiig and McCarthy's improv felt like it belonged on a stage instead of as these characters.
The film features a ton of surprise cameos from the original cast playing throwaway characters but those didn't feel like they got big enough laughs as they were intended to. A character that REALLY fell flat for me was Chris Hemsworth's. They were going for a dumb pretty guy as their secretary but it came off as just laughably unrealistic to me.
One example on how they made his character TOO dumb was how he hardly answers the phone. They sometimes play it off as he doesn't care, but they also have scenes where he just doesn't know how to use the phone at all. Hemsworth is 32 years old, there's no way a man in his 30s would have zero idea how to use a phone. It's just ridiculous and not a kind of humor that is appealing to everyone.
Grade = C+
How did Paul Feig handle the overall execution of rebooting a beloved classic film? Well, he had some ideas that weren't too bad, but they weren't capitalized to the best of his ability. Positive moment I have to point out is the look they gave to the ghosts in the CGI department. There were scenes where they actually came off as pretty freaky and if I were to come across them in real life! Feig also executed well in having these four main characters come off as badass during the final ghost fight pictured above.
Where did things go wrong though? To me the script and the pacing were the biggest offenders. As mentioned above with Wiig and McCarthy, Feig loves to use improv in his movies. That's great but a good script provides a strong foundation to jump off into improv. Directors and editors choose the BEST takes of each scene in the film obviously. Some of the choices that made the final cut of the film had me questioning if these jokes really were the best of the best. Were the jokes in the script better or worse?
As for the pacing, it ran a million miles an hour. Almost as if it was racing us to the act 3 ghost battle. One of my favorite moments in the film is actually when Wiig's character explains how a ghost stood at the edge of her bed EVERY night for almost her entire childhood but no one believed her. That is a moment I wanted for McCarthy, Jones and McKinnon's characters! All we know about McKinnon is that she loves making big dangerous weapons. What is her investment in all this? Is she in love with McCarthy? Does she want to become famous? Just because it's cool to hunt ghosts? Motivations help!
Grade = C-
As you can see from each section of this discussion, there are areas I both like and dislike about the new Ghostbusters. This was almost the definition of hit or miss for me. Part of me was really glad I gave it a chance to view it on the big screen while another part of me thinks I should've just waited for Redbox or Netflix to give it a viewing. This is a very average run of the mill film though guys. What does that bring our overall grade to? Does it deserve all the hate?
Final Grade = It Doesn't Deserve Hate but it Doesn't Deserve Praise Either
What do you guys think? Is that sort of a cop out? I think Andre Meadows from Black Nerd Comedy on YouTube actually said it the best "it's average." This film was not great and it was not awful like everyone thought. It was just "meh" and average. Please comment below though I would love to discuss this with you all!
If you liked my video review I posted above you can catch more videos on that YouTube channel called Entertainment Buffet where we have sketches, web shows and tons of content! Here is one of our videos you can watch above this paragraph. I also host a podcast that can be found on iTunes and other audio sites called "The Entertainment Buffet Podcast" where we discuss new film, tv and pop culture topics every other Tuesday.
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