Ghostbusters (2016)

12/17/2021 06:30

Film: Ghostbusters

Year: 2016

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Katie Dippold and Paul Feig

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon



This was a movie that I’ll be honest, when I heard was being made I was leery to check it out. I’m a big fan of the original and what I think works with about it is that it was just a perfect storm of comedic genius with the other elements. The big issue I heard most people talking about was this being ‘woke’ with an all female cast. To be honest, I like all of the comedians in this so I knew I’d eventually watch this, which Jaime and I did to cover on the podcast. To get into this one, the synopsis is following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Kristin Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

For this movie, we are starting off in a historic site in New York City where Garrett (Zach Woods) is giving a tour. He relays how the place is supposed to be haunted. He finds out that this is truer than he realized. The legend is a young woman murdered the servants and was locked in the basement. We see a strange blue light as he goes down and something happens with the floor.

We then shift over to meet one of our leads. Erin is at a party for colleagues. She is trying to get tenure at Columbia University. Things take a turn when Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.) shows up to her lecture. He asks if she wrote this scientific book on ghosts to which she pretends she didn’t at first. She then learns the book is being sold on Amazon. This causes her boss of Harold Filmore (Charles Dance) to let her go, as it tarnishes their reputation.

She then seeks out Abby, who she wrote the book with. They grew up together, but it appears as adults they’ve gone separate ways. Abby isn’t doing as well financially so she decided to sell the book to help out. Erin is shocked to see that Abby is continuing with the paranormal research along with Jillian. The latter woman is creating machinery to help out there. The trio is called to the building from the cold open, with Erin reluctantly joining. There they have an encounter with a ghost. They don’t know what to do with it, but they are able to capture it on video and even take ectoplasm samples.

Things aren’t going their way though. Abby and Jillian are then let go from their school as well, they set out to start a business. Their first client is Patty. She works in the subway station and had an interesting encounter with Rowan North (Neil Casey). We see him putting a machine down the tracks that cause a ghost to appear. This one they test some of the technology that Jillian created. From this encounter she believes she can build a trap to catch them.

It won’t be easy, but these ladies believe they can actually catch a ghost. They’re met with resistance from Martin Heiss (Bill Murray), a ghost debunker, and even the government. They are determined to prove that ghosts exist and to stop the plans of Rowan, which could cause a cataclysmic event.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and where I want to start this is leading off with this isn’t a bad movie. I do feel it got a bad rap, because it is trying to remake a classic. While Jaime and I were watching this, we both agreed that if this movie was made with a different title, I don’t know if it would be panned as bad as it is. Let me get into what works and what doesn’t.

As a story guy, I like what they’re going for. They are using the history of New York, which is an old city with a lot of paranormal stories. They are even using the theory of lay lines. I’m not fully versed in this, but I know what it is. Taking an idea like this and incorporating it into the movie works for me. I even like that this one has a villain we can focus on with Rowan, who also seems to know about all of this. He’s weird and doesn’t look like much so it makes it better when we get to our third act.

Now my goal is to not compare this to the original that much, but I need to for this section here. I don’t hate that they tried to remake this. It has that feel of being a Ghostbusters movie. We have some of the same technology when it comes to the equipment used and this movie expands on that. We have the iconic car, logo and event the theme song is used. They do some variations on it which is good. We even get cameos from Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Slimer. Some of these work better than others, but this all is fine with me. The problem is that it doesn’t feel like it has heart and going through the motions. There isn’t the spark that makes the original work so well.

Moving from this, what I don’t think is the problem is the acting. Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones are all solid. They take on their roles and bring their own distinct personality to them. If I have a negative, which I’ll give Jaime credit, they feel like they’re playing themselves. The same could be said in the original as well. Personally, McKinnon and Jones steal the show for me. Aside from that, I think Woods, Begley, Chris Hemsworth, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh, Andy Garcia and Cecily Strong are all solid. There are a lot of cameos here and that could also be an issue for me.

Where an issue does arise is with the effects. I like that they incorporated as many things from the original. What is an issue there is that I don’t know if the writers fully comprehended what the weapons do. There is a showdown where our heroines are faced with an army of ghosts. They’re using their packs and it seems like the ghosts are disappearing. This could be me being unfair and using the original as a reference, but earlier we saw they are used for containment until the trap catches the ghost. I don’t mind the new weapons created here doing what they do. Aside from that, I thought the CGI was fine. It loses some charm going as heavy with it as they do. The cinematography was well done and the soundtrack works for me. It just isn’t as iconic.

So that should be enough and then in conclusion here, this movie isn’t as bad as I heard people talking about it. We have an interesting update to the premise and concept. I think our ladies here are fine in their performances. The story has some good elements to it. This movie is just lacking heart and the spark. It almost feels like it would work better being a different name than what it is. Aside from nitpicks with the technology, I think the effects work, the cinematography is solid and the soundtrack fit. For me, this movie is over average for me and lacking a bit to go higher.


My Rating: 6 out of 10