Well I finally got around to watching perhaps the most controversial film of this year. That controversy does not come from the content of the film itself, but more from the idiotic nature of internet people who have defamed this film for no good reason.
I actually never had any intention of watching this at the cinema because I just didn’t think it looked cinema worthy. I already covered this in my Ghostbusters celebration from a few weeks back but I’ll quickly cover it here too. I don’t like Paul Feig as a director and I don’t find Melissa McCarthy even slightly funny.
After watching this film, I still don’t rate Paul Feig as a director and I still don’t find Melissa McCarthy funny at all. But before I get into my feelings on the film, first the plot… SPOILERS!!!
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a physics professor at Columbia University. She is approached by Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.) who asks Gilbert to investigate a possible haunting after he read a book she co-wrote years ago on ghosts. Gilbert is angry as she never knew the book had been published and she seeks out her old friend and co-writer of the book, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Yates has been trying to make the theory in their book a reality with the help of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Gilbert feels the resurfacing of the book could reflect badly on her new career at Columbia University and asks for the book to be pulled. Yates agrees to pull the book but only if Gilbert agrees to introduce herself and Holtzmann to Mulgrave so they can investigate this supposed haunting.
Gilbert, Yates and Holtzmann all turn up at the house and start to search for ghosts… and they find one. The trio film the ghost and the video is posted online. The Dean of Columbia University sees the video, believes it is fake and is insulted that one of their professors could be involved in such a scam. So he fires Gilbert and she decides to join Yates and Holtzmann in their project of ghost hunting instead. But the director of the institute they work at fires all three as he thought that department had already been closed down years ago. They decide to continue their research on their own and open a business called “The Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination” which they start above a Chinese restaurant. Then then hire dim-witted Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as a receptionist. They begin to design and create their own equipment for catching ghosts.
We are then introduced to subway line worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) finds a ghost in the subway and contacts The Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination for help. They investigate the ghost and even attempt to catch it with an early prototype proton containment laser created by Holtzmann. They almost catch the ghost, but their equipment is too heavy, bulky and under powered as the ghost escapes. But they did manage to film the incident for proof, yet their proof is called out as being fake by a respected sceptic Martin Heiss (Bill Murray). The team still continue their research and even make the equipment more manageable. Eventually Tolan joins the team.
Meanwhile, Rowan North (Neil Casey) has been planting home created devices that summon ghosts in very specific spots around the city. North is an occultist who wants to bring about an apocalypse of ghosts which he wants to control. He plants one of his devices at a rock concert and the team are called into capture the a ghost. Which they do in front of hundreds of witnesses. So they finally have their proof that ghosts are real. Back at their HQ, Heiss turns up and is as sceptical as ever and demands to see the ghost. Eventually Gilbert caves and releases the ghost which kills Heiss as it escapes. Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia) demands to see these Ghostbusters as they have now become known and he reveals that the government are fully aware of the existence of ghosts but he can not have these Ghostbusters running around the city making the government look foolish. So they make a deal where the Mayor will support the team, but only if they agree to be exposed as frauds, even though they are not.
The Ghostbusters eventually work out North’s plan, track him down and confront him to the basement of the Mercado Hotel where they discover that North has built a portal to the ghost dimension. They try to stop him, but North electrocutes himself rather than be turned over to the police and Holtzmann deactivates the portal. This is when they learn that North had been reading Gilbert and Yates’ book and this is where he also learned to create the equipment he had. Gilbert discovers that North intended to die all along so he could return as a ghost which he does and ends up possessing Kevin and opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts into New York and this sets the scene for the big finale.
First my views on the cast.
I didn’t really like any of them to be honest. I just found all the main four utterly devoid of character… okay, possibly with the exception of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) who plays the eccentric one of the group.
I admit to getting a few laughs out of her and her antics, plus she probably has the best lines in the film too. But the other three are bland characters with nothing redeeming about them.
People have been praising Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as the dumb secretary. I found the character cringe worthy. I just do not like the dumb secretary at all, its an overdone cliché. It doesn’t matter if its a female or male in the role, its a tired outdated stereotype that just isn’t funny. He is written so stupid it becomes offensive. I mean, there is a scene where Kevin strikes a gong which (obviously) makes a loud noise and he covers his eyes and then comments on how loud the noise was… he covers he EYES to drown out a loud SOUND. Even Homer Simpson was never this dumb. I thought the character was terrible and just do not understand the praise. The only time I liked Kevin as a character was when he gets possessed, because he stopped being such an annoying idiot.
There was something else that really bothered me about the film. When you do have a remake of a film, you are bound to find the odd cameo/reference to the original and you can get away with 2-3 tops before they become annoying. This film has too many of them and shoehorns in a cameo from the original film or makes some really unsubtle reference. Yeah its cute at first but when you realise you have seen 4 of these and are only 30 minutes into the film, its just too many. Seriously there is a cameo/reference every 10 minutes or so and they becomes too distracting. All that was needed was to have Paul Feig pop into frame every time and just say “remember this from the original?” to the audience. The film tries too hard to remind people of the original and this is its biggest failing. This just would have felt a much better film if it toned down the references and concentrated on being its own film.
The plot is very different to the original though similar and it does seem to want to be its own film… but then it keeps making nods to the original as if it wants to constantly remind you that there is another Ghostbusters film. They even do the “chose your own destructor” thing at the end. I’d have much preferred it if this film just did its own thing from start to finish without all the references to the original.
All the main original cast return for a cameo, Bill Murray plays the sceptic, Dan Aykroyd is a cab driver with a couple of lines, Ernie Hudson plays the uncle of Leslie Jones’ character, Sigourney Weaver pops up during the credits as a mentor to Kate McKinnon, Ivan Reitman has a quick extra walking past appearance, Annie Potts (fittingly) plays a receptionist and even Harold Ramis makes an appearance. Most of them are utterly pointless. I suppose that at least Bill Murray’s character plays a part in the plot (even its its pretty obvious he didn’t want to be there), but the rest are mostly just there because they are…
Other cameos I really didn’t see the point of. Ozzy Osbourne is in this… why?
There were only two cameos I enjoyed. The first was the Harold Ramis one which I felt was a nice little bit of respect and tribute to one of the originators of Ghostbusters. And the second one?
Slimer makes an appearance and its easily the best of the cameo/references. He ends up stealing Ecto-1 and takes it on a joyride around New York, he even manages to pick up a girlfriend along the way as he turns the car into a party bus. The whole Slimer bit put a big ole’ smile on my face as Slimer was based on the personality of John Belushi and quite honestly I really could imagine Belushi doing something like that knowing the antics he got up to on film sets.
The film has some great moments. We actually get to see the Ghostbusters build and test their equipment. In the original, they just have all this advanced technology because they are scientists. In this one, you get to see an early and bulky proton pack before it becomes the more recognisable backpack concept we know. You also get to see other weapons beside the proton packs being developed and tested. This whole idea made me believe these people actually create their own equipment. The way the team become the Ghostbusters also seems more “organic” in this one and that for me added a lot to the storytelling.
The whole film has a more “cartoon” feel to it. There are a few stand out scenes that scream cartoon like when Melissa McCarthy tests the new proton pack in a back alley and goes flying all over the place, or when they get squashed under a huge parade balloon of the Stay Pufft marshmallow man. It really does feel like a live action cartoon at times… and I’m perfectly fine with that. I loved the old animated Ghostbusters cartoon and this does feel like a live action version of that.
I enjoyed the action more in this one than the original, yeah I know the original was not really an action film but it did have action in it and it all just amounted to four guys pointing sticks at ghosts. The action in this is more dynamic and interesting to watch and the addition of new equipment adds a lot to this.
The build up to the final fight was really good with some great action along the way… but the battle against the main villain was a bit dull if I’m honest and the whole last 5 minutes or so of the final fight was a let down.
Speaking of the main villain, I just didn’t really enjoy Rowan here. He is just your average guy with a crap job who has had enough of being bullied, so he decides to release hundreds of ghosts into New York. The whole motive just felt flat and Rowan is just not an interesting character, especially for the main villain.
It also has a really creepy atmosphere at times. The opening with a tour of a supposed haunted house really does feel very Ghostbusters. The design of the ghosts themselves looked great and there are some genuine scares here too. There is a scene near the end where a group of parade balloons get possessed by ghosts, one of the ghost balloons just pops its head around a corner and stares at the Ghostbusters, it just looked so creepy but great at the same time.
The film has its problems, but overall I enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was an amazing film or anything but I left the cinema feeling fully entertained. Some of the jokes really do work and some of them just fall flat. But one thing I do want to say. You remember how the first trailer was labelled as “most disliked trailer ever”? Well we now live in a time where most trailers ruin a film completely, especially with comedy films as the trailer tends to have all the best jokes in it. The trailers for this film didn’t do that. Most if not all of the best scenes and jokes are not shown in the trailers and left for the film instead and that is something I will praise this film for.
Sony have this idea for a Ghostbusters universe, they have already set up a production company called; Ghost Corps.
The idea is to create more films all within this universe, which is more inline with Dan Aykroyd’s original idea for Ghostbusters. After seeing this film, I’d definitely like to see more. Maybe not more of these particular four Ghostbusters but other films within the same universe could be interesting. I do think this film is a good start, not great but good enough. Though I’m not sure if we will get to see anymore films in this universe as unfortunately, this film is hardly breaking records at the box office. It has only just about made its production cost back and is struggling to turn a profit right now.
All the hate and vitriol aimed at the film over the last few months and none of it was worth it at all. Its a good film and I can see this introducing a whole new generation to Ghostbusters just as I was introduced to the original in 1984. If you have kids, take them to go see this one as they will have a blast… you might just enjoy it more then you thought you would yourself too.
Its a shame the film is not doing as well as it deserves, mainly because of certain groups imbecilic nature… “haters gotta hate” I guess.
Let me put it this way, this was a much better Ghostbusters film than Ghostbusters II was… yeah I said it.
Erin Gilbert: “Books can’t fly and neither can babies!”