Review – Ghostbusters (2016)
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months, you will know the Ghostbusters remake was not a comfortable release. The promotion of the film was plagued by its trailers and fans felt it was terrible before it even got launched onto the big screen. Not to mention the terrifying increase of sexist comments questioning why the cast was all female. When a historian gets around to discussing the history of now-contemporary cinema, then the release of Ghostbusters will make shocking reading. Is the film as bad as forecasted?
Let’s start with the premise of the story, the basics of which are pretty well known so I will not go into too much detail. The film starts with Erin Gilbert, a rising academic and paranormal researcher, and Abby Yates, trying to prove ghosts exist in modern society. Unusual happenings begin to appear across Manhattan so the two get help from scientific engineer Jillian Holtzmann and lifelong New Yorker Patty Tolan to form a team – the Ghostbusters.
I feel for this film the best approach is to get straight to the burning questions due to the many unnecessary controversies surrounding the film. The first question – is it terrible? No, it is not terrible and it is far from that description. It is not amazing either. The problem is that with all the pre-criticisms before film release it made it increasingly difficult to approach the film with an open mind, because every time I chuckled I kept thinking, “Should I? Because the critics suggest I shouldn’t find this funny.”
The second question to be addressed – if it is not terrible is it good? I wouldn’t say it is good. It is okay. The cast managed to recreate the entire Ghostbusters squad with ease, and it was enjoyable, but I cannot deny that the overt cheesiness unsettled me slightly and the narrative towards the end was quite clumsy. Despite this, the new characters bode well. They are quirky, interesting and good to watch. The characters bounced off each other and they were believable as a team. The four newly created Ghostbusters appeared to really enjoy themselves in their roles, and they obviously relished the fun opportunity to create a fun film that does not take it self too seriously. The CGI is over the top and slightly outlandish, however I did, at many points, remind myself that this is Ghostbusters and not a serious thriller about the haunted; if you can free yourself from your interpretation of a ghost then you will accept the display of the paranormal in this film. What director Paul Feig managed to do is reimagine how Ghostbusters came to be with the new characters, with creative backstories and comedic introductions. How did they create the ghost weapons? The jumpsuits? The car? The logo? The name? The film essentially uses the nostalgia to its advantage, like everything you are seeing is brand new even though it is not. Some critics have asked if this remake needed to be made, which I feel in this day in age is an unworthy criticism. Did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory need to be remade? No, but they did anyway – life is harsh.
You do at times feel the narrative is slightly disjointed, but again, remind yourself that this is Ghostbusters, so it can be forgiven because the characters display an energetic and full-of-life feeling in this new haunted adaptation.
Third and final question – was I bothered about an all female cast? No – the only way you can be bothered about this is if you are sexist. Plain and simple. All the misogynistic film fans pointing this out in a negative way before release should be ashamed of themselves. We should live in a world where we watch a film and do not question gender. I find this normal and if you do not then you should adopt this normality quickly because it signifies such lack of social intelligence. I mean we are talking about a fun, non-serious film called Ghostbusters. It’s hardly the crux of seriousness. I question why it has caused so many problems.
I have to talk about Chris Hemsworth’s role in the film as the slow, funny and clumsy receptionist Kevin at the Ghostbuster’s headquarters. Funnily enough this was a beautiful gender role reversal and a huge step forward in the film industry. Kevin has no idea what he is doing but because of his looks, because he is considered a sex symbol, and one of the Ghostbusters in particular takes a liking to him, he gets the job. You’ve probably noticed this role in the trailers as well. What makes this even more beautiful and a great film strategy is that I’ve seen men complain about this via social media and actually complaining that it is sexist against men – we should all take a peculiar moment to smile at this, because it signifies that progress is witnessed in mainstream films. We are so used to the same carbon copy film of the beautiful girl next door who is the blatant eye candy and it serves such a repetitive and boring storyline that to see the opposite was a breath of fresh air. And for those complaining about this role – get a grip.
The quartet playing the Ghostbusters seemingly had fun performing in their roles. You can tell at times that there were opportunities lost for a funnier moment but all in all they applied the comedy just enough to make this film in general… well, funny. You cannot help but feel disheartened by the sickening racism directed at Leslie Jones on twitter due to her role as Patty Tolan. Even worse that it got so bad she had to take her Twitter down. It is becoming the norm now, this type of stuff, but I feel even more saddened that it is becoming so apparent in the film community.
In the end I just wanted this film to surpass expectations, to defeat those who ruthlessly and unnecessarily brought it down with their undesirable attitudes. The film has done okay and just enough to shut up the unwanted groups in our society. The storyline is a little shaky, especially near the end, and I really wanted it to be laugh-out-loud funny, which it wasn’t, but the characters, the energy, and the concept of reimagining Ghostbusters just did enough to make this a justifiable remake and an “okay” film. Not brilliant, not terrible, but did not deserve the negative spotlight it got.
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