Game Review: Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

This is a slightly late Halloween game review. I did want to cover this game for Halloween, but I got my review code a bit too late. Developed and published by IllFonic, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (to the surprise of nobody) is a game based on the Ghostbusters film franchise. But, of course, one always has to ask the big question when it comes to busting ghosts, does it make you feel good?

“Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is a fun, multiplayer game perfect for all skill levels. Four proton pack wielding Ghostbusters attempt to catch a Ghost haunting unique locations in asymmetrical multiplayer battles (online or offline). As players progress, they will unlock cosmetics and upgrades for both Ghostbusters and Ghosts to evolve their gameplay experiences.”

Before I do get into the nitty-gritty of this one. My original plan was to do a co-op review with my pal Badger over at Stoffel Presents. Especially as Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed features co-op cross-platform play. I really wanted to try out how well it worked. Alas, that plan didn’t come to fruition as I had some connectivity issues. First, I had to link my Xbox account with an Epic Games one. I did, got a confirmation email and everything was fine, my accounts were linked and the Epic Games site told me as much too. So, I was set to indulge in some co-op cross-platform ghostbusting action. However, when it came to linking my account in the game itself… not so good.

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When I did try linking my account in-game to Epic’s online service, I just got the above screen asking me, very politely, to ‘please wait’. So I did, I ‘please waited’ for about five minutes or so and nothing. I decided that I would ‘please wait’ some more, just in case. Anyway, 20-odd minutes later, the game was still asking me to ‘please wait’. I hard reset my Xbox, double-checked that my account was linked via the Epic Games website and tried connecting again, I got the same thing. I eventually got annoyed and gave up. The game just would not link to Epic’s (not so epic) online service and let me play cross-platform. Ergo, my idea of doing a co-op cross-platform review ended in failure.

GHOSTBUSTERS SPIRITS SCREEN 8

Anyway, with that explanation out of the way, allow me to tell you what Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is all about. Taking place directly where the after-credits scene of Ghostbusters: Afterlife ended, with Winston Zeddemore returning the iconic Ecto-1 to the equally iconic firehouse HQ and possibly setting up a sequel. Well, this is that sequel… kind of. I say ‘kind of’ because we all know that a proper film sequel is on the way, codenamed Firehouse, the film is set to be released in December next year. This game is a ‘what if’ scenario that works as a sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife but most definitely will not be part of the narrative of the next film.

Spirits Unleashed is one of those 4 vs 1, asymmetrical multiplayer titles. You know, the likes of this year’s Evil Dead: The Game, Dead by Daylight or yeah, even IllFonic’s own (and ultimately doomed) Friday the 13th: The Game. Four people team up to take out the single enemy. In this case, that is four Ghostbusters vs a ghost. Playing a the ghost, you have to try to haunt the map before the Ghostbusters catch you. You can possess items and furniture, scare NPCs and even slime the GBs themselves. If you can haunt the map to 100% before being caught, then you win.

GHOSTBUSTERS SPIRITS SCREEN 2

Of course, any Ghostbusters fan wants to play as one of the GBs and not a ghost. Here, the gameplay has you chasing and catching ghosts, closing rifts and such. Really, in terms of the gameplay mechanics, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. This is a very typical 4 vs 1, asymmetrical multiplayer game with little to draw you in. There’s an unlockable upgrade system where the more you use your ghostbusting equipment, you’ll unlock new add-ons. Level up and unlock new cosmetics for your customisable GB character.

You get five maps to play on and none of them are from anything movie related. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it does show that there is a world outside of the films. But you just know that the devs will be releasing DLC further down the line with more movie-centric maps. There’s only one gameplay mode too, catching the ghost or avoiding being caught when playing as the ghost. There really is not a great deal of game here. Mind you, I’m not really sure what else you can do with a multi-player Ghostbusters game.

GHOSTBUSTERS SPIRITS SCREEN 1

IllFonic has done a fantastic job of bringing the Ghostbusters lore and franchise to the game. There’s fan service everywhere. Nods and references littered throughout the game and it even has Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson reprising their classic characters. Just walking around the HQ, you get a great sense of being a ghostbuster and sliding down the fireman pole is never going to get tiresome. Plus, you can collect a variety of spores moulds and fungus found around the maps, Egon would be proud. But, the game itself is just very, very ‘meh’. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it just kind of exists and never does anything to separate itself from the slew of other 4 vs 1, asymmetrical titles on the market. Well, there is one thing that it does differently.

GHOSTBUSTERS SPIRITS SCREEN 3

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed has an actual story to follow. You know, like a singleplayer driven game, only in a multiplayer game. The downside is that to advance the story, you just have to keep replaying the same five maps and doing the same thing over and over and over again. You can even play the game in single-player and have the rest of the GBs controlled by AI… really, really stupid AI. Honestly, it all get’s tedious very quickly as there is zero variation. The graphics look low-quality and ‘plastic’, especially on the character models. But sound-wise, the game (no pun) hits all the right notes. The Ghostbusters theme, the incidental spooky music and the sound of the proton packs firing up. It’s all very satisfying to the ears of any Ghostbusters fan.

GHOSTBUSTERS SPIRITS SCREEN 5

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed comes in at around £34 and that is a bit too expensive for me. Really, this feels like something that would be thrown into a bigger and more interesting game as a bonus and not a standalone title. Just going back to the original release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game from 2009. You had a solid single-player story to play through and it came with a multi-player mode as an extra. That is what this game feels like, a bonus that should be part of a bigger game. I can’t recommend this one, but I can’t really damn it either. It’s just okay and lacks any real depth of variation. You’ll soon get bored of those five (fairly small) maps. Does busting make you feel good? Not really, more a case that it makes you feel a bit indifferent. Perhaps waiting to see if you can grab it in a sale in a couple of months would be best?

GHOSTBUSTERS SPIRITS SCREEN 6

The search for a truly great Ghostbusters game continues as nobody has got it right yet. And yes, I am including Ghostbusters: The Video Game in that too. It was good, but samey. Do you know what a really great Ghostbusters game needs? A business-sim angle. That was what the original film was about, setting up a new business. The original game from 1984 understood this had some light business management mixed in with all of the busting of ghosts, it was just limited by the technology of the day. Imagine a new Ghostbusters game where you did have to worry about profit and loss, spending money on R&D, etc. Think of Bullfrog’s classic Syndicate but with Ghostbusters and with you managing a global Ghostbusters corporation while busting ghosts.

Remembering Ivan Reitman

I remember being in school around January of 1985. One of my friends sat next to me (can’t remember his name, it was almost forty years ago) and he was telling me how amazing Ghostbusters was, that he had seen it. However, I noticed something strange (in the neighbourhood) as all he kept talking about were scenes shown in the trailer and nothing from the actual film itself.

I mean, he didn’t even know about the giant marshmallow man. It became quite clear that he hadn’t seen the film at all and was trying to sound ‘cool’. I knew he hadn’t seen the film because well, I had. Anyway, that was the first memory that came to my mind when I heard that Ivan Reitman had died. I was a kid back then, I never understand filmmaking at all, I didn’t know what a director did, had zero idea of what (if anything) happened behind the camera. All I cared about was the fact I enjoyed watching the film.

STRIPES

As I grew older and became a fan of not just films but filmmaking. When I began to learn about everything that does go on behind the camera, that was when I understood what a director and producer did. That was when I started to become a fan of Ivan’s work. I remember watching Stripes on TV for the first time. It had a couple of the guys out of Ghostbusters in it, so that was enough to get me to watch. Of course, Stripes was also directed by Ivan Reitman. Then there was Meatballs, the film that really launched both Bill Murray’s and Ivan Reitman’s careers. This film was also the start of the personal and professional relationship between Ivan, Bill and Harold Ramis.

IVAN AND HAROLD

The all-time classic Animal House that really kick-started John Belushi’s film career and the whole National Lampoon’s film franchise was directed by John Landis but produced by Ivan Reitman. I didn’t realise it at the time but Ivan was shaping my tastes in American comedy films as I grew from boy to young adult. Then there was Twins, the mismatched and goofy comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as twin brothers. It is stupid but harmless and good fun. A film that took the then gargantuan action star that was Arnold Schwarzenegger and showed that he had some pretty decent comedy chops. Something that Ivan would do again later with both Kindergarten Cop and Junior.

Of course, the film that inadvertently made me an Ivan Reitman fan got a sequel. Ghostbusters II has always been a bit of a hit and miss film. A disappointment after the first film sure but still a good watch and it was great to see the old team back together again. As a director, Ivan kept himself busy up to 2014 with his last film being the sports drama Draft Day.

TWINS

As a producer, Ivan Reitman had a few other notable films under his belt. Cult favourite Heavy Metal, the animated movie based on the magazine of the same name. Full of violence and beewbage! The awfully terrible Sylvester Stallone starring Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was another. But Ivan Reitman made up for how bad that was with the pretty damn great Space Jam afterwards. Melding live-action with classic Loony Tunes characters for some basketball action… and a Bill Murray cameo. Ivan was also a producer on the biographical making of Psycho with the 2012 film Hitchcock.

When Ghostbusters was remade in 2016, Ivan Reitman was on board as producer. And of course, he returned to the franchise one last time for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was released last year. Directed by his son, Jason Reitman, the film worked as a direct sequel to the original films and was pretty damn great too. Ivan was not just a producer on this film, he even had a little ‘hidden’ cameo at the end, which I’m not going to spoil if you’ve not yet seen it.

Ivan Reitman was set to direct a sequel to Twins this year called Triplets. Bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito but now with Tracy Morgan playing the third brother. Sadly, now that Ivan has passed away, it is not known where the film stands, especially as it was set to begin filming this month. Ivan’s cause of death has not yet been revealed but his family have described it as being an ‘unexpected loss’. Maybe Jason will pick up the mantle and finish what his father sadly could not?

IVAN AND JASON

There’s been an amazing backlash for the last decade in America: political correctness. In many ways, I think that, while we’ve been remarkably violent in our media, there’s been a real schizophrenia. In private, on the Internet, and on public-affairs shows or talk radio, we’re way more explicit than we’ve ever been. But traditional Hollywood has been much more frightened than it ever was in the ’70s about presenting things that could be perceived as politically incorrect.

– Ivan Reitman

I Feel I Should Come Out

I’ve been writing this blog for a while now. Sharing my love of films along with my views and opinions. I really appreciate anyone who reads and follows what I do. I feel comfortable with my readers and I think I can be honest and frank with you all. So This article is my ‘coming out’ article.

So, here it goes…

Its been a little over a year now and I think the time is right to share with you all. I liked the new Ghostbusters movie. There, I’ve said it (well typed it) – its finally out in the open and I feel much better for it too.

Ghostbusters 2016

Now before I get all the “You’re not a true Ghostbusters fan!” bullshit thrown at me, I did a blowout Ghostbusters celebration last year – where I lauded the original film and it took me weeks to research and write (link right here). I took a look at the making of the original, did an overview of the film, the Ghostbusters games and so much more. It was a multi-part Ghostbusters festivity. I am a Ghostbusters fan – a HUGE one.

Now I’m not going to review the film, as I already did that. The short version? I was entertained by it. This serves more as an introduction to the point of this article. I’m going to admit to liking certain films that a lot of people really seem to hate.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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Oh yeah, I’m going there.

I’m a massive Indy fan – I’ve not done a huge Indiana Jones movie celebration… yet. But believe me, I’m a fan. I grew up watching Indy, he was one of my first childhood cinematic heroes. I’m such a big fan that I can even see the good in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom… and that’s not easy.

I was so looking forward to seeing this when it originally came out and I was there at the cinema a few days after it was released ready to watch it. I also made the terrible mistake of reading up on reviews of the film before I went to watch it (something I no longer do). The hype and excitement for this flick were high – the return of one of cinema’s great icons after a 19 year wait. But the reviews were terrible and downright depressing. It seemed that no one liked this one and were all lining up to tear it apart. So my expectations were low.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 2

But how could it not be good? Pretty much all the original cast and crew returned, they even got Marion Ravenwood back and she’s the best Indy girl by far. Ford looked amazing for his age and comfortably stepped back into the role with ease.

I left that cinema with a huge smile on my face and just did not see the same film all the bad reviews were talking about. I watched a rip-roaring action/adventure flick with a great B-movie style… which is all the Indy films have ever been. But the fallout for the film was stunning with people nit-picking even the most mundane aspects.

Now don’t get me wrong – the picture has its problems (quick newsflash for you, all films do) and I admit to it being hard to argue against some of them. Yes Shia LaBeouf as
Mutt Williams (Indy’s son) was terrible and yes the whole tree swinging/’greaser monkey’ thing was cringe-worthy. It annoyed me that they decided to retcon Indy’s history to force in a son, as he had a daughter originally (told you I was a fan). And yes, those prairie dogs were fucking stupid. But still, some of the complains felt childish…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull explostion

Lets take the bull by the horns. ‘Nuking the fridge’. I could not believe that this moment in the film kicked up such a fuss – so much so that there was a movement to have it replace the phrase ‘jumping the shark’. The hatred for this scene seemed to stem from just how ridiculous it was – and you know what? I agree, its ridiculous… but is it worthy of all the hate it got? Its an OOT scene… but just look at that image above and tell me that is not iconic, not awesome to look at. Seeing Indiana Jones standing in front of that mushroom cloud looks stunning, that is an iconic cinematic image.

But about the scene itself. People got all upset saying that it was not ‘realistic’  and would comment on how ‘impossible’ it was or how Indy escaped with no injures. Yeah cos that is not welcome in an Indiana Jones film right…

Temple of Doom raft

Climbing into a lead lined fridge and surviving a nuclear blast is ‘unrealistic’… but jumping out of a crashing plane with 2 other people in an inflatable raft. Then falling a few dozen feet at speed and hitting a mountain, to then go on sliding down said mountain and managing to avoid every tree/rock before plunging off a waterfall and landing in a river… with no one hurt and the only complaint is being wet… that’s okay is it?

These are what the Indy films are known for, the ridiculous. As I mentioned before, they are B-moives, high budget and slickly produced but still B-movies none the less. That is where their inspiration comes from. They are supposed to be OTT and outrageous. The Indy films have never… NEVER strived for ‘realism’. They pay homage to classic 50s action/adventure serials and they have never shied away from that either.

Yes the fridge scene was stupid, but so are several other scenes in the films too. I liked the fridge scene because it was stupid – it reminded me of ‘classic’ Indy. You know what? I liked the red ant scene too – now I’m not going to get into a diatribe as to why as there are other films I want to cover. But before I leave Indy 4 behind – there is one element I need to address…

Indy 4 Alien

Oh yeah, the aliens… sorry ‘interdimensional beings’. They’re aliens okay? This is an argument that I see both sides of. There are those that cry that “aliens don’t belong in an Indiana Jones movie!”. But why not? So you can have other (non proven) forces like God but not aliens? No one kicked up a fuss when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. I have no problem with aliens being a part of the Indiana Jones universe and it makes sense given what these film’s inspirations are. But it is with Raiders where I also need to go for my argument against the aliens in this film. You see, Raiders had an element of the unknown with the Ark of the Covenant. When Indy is first asked to look for it and gets out that book with the illustration. You know the one depicting the Ark killing people via some kind of force…

Raiders book

Yeah – that’s the one. Anyway, when Indy is asked what it is – he replies with “Lightning. Fire. Power of God or something.” Key word there is ‘something’ as no one knows what it actually is, its just ‘something’. Maybe it is the power of God, maybe its not. Point is that its left ambiguous as to what kills all those Nazis at the end. The major failing with the aliens in this film is that they showed it. Its not open to interpretation, you can not come up with your own theory as to what these things are… they’re aliens. Showing the alien and having it kill the bad guys at the end is (other than a lazy re-hash of Raiders) like actually having God turn up at the end of Raiders and smiting the Nazis. This film would have been so much better if the aliens were left ambiguous. I don’t mind aliens being part of the Indy lore… I just don’t like how it was handled.

Anyway, I liked Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull it entertained me and I had a smile on my face when I left the cinema and that is what I want from movies… to be entertained. Its not my favourite Indy film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.

For my next film, actually – lets says ‘films’ as I’m going to do a horror remake double bill. Oh yes, the horror remake!

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010.jpg

Are you ready for Freddy?

You have no idea how much I adore the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. It is this film that turned me into a self-confessed Wes Craven nut and I miss that mad-genius of horror so damn much. The world is a much lesser place without the great Wes Craven in it.

When the remake was announced, my eyebrow raised a little. I knew this had to be something special for it to be accepted… what bullshit, no matter how great this film turned out – it would never be accepted because of the anti-remake crowd. I knew there would be changes and updates and I could not wait to see them for myself. Of course Robert Englund would have to be replaced as the iconic Freddy and of course other characters would be changed too – its inevitable. Now I have to admit to not really liking too many of the main characters in this remake, they seems so ‘typical’ so sub-standard. But what of the big guy himself?

Freddy K

Stepping into the shoes of one of horror cinema’s most (in)famous creations must be a daunting task. I mean, its not like they were remaking Dr. Giggles and saying “Larry Drake – you’re out. We need a new actor.”. This is Freddy ‘fuckin’ Krueger and without Robert Englund playing him. So Jackie Earle Haley had to step into the grimy, brown hat and dirty red & green sweater. And you know what, I liked him… I really, really liked him. It was an all new Freddy and if I’m honest I grew to dislike old Freddy more and more in the (terrible) sequels after the first film. I wanted to see a new Freddy and I got exactly that. I personally thought Haley was awesome in the role and for me, he lifted this otherwise cookie-cutter horror remake to another level. As an overall film, I felt it was a little predicable (well it is a remake) and the majority of the characters were forgotten about as soon as the credits rolled… except for Freddy.

Freddy K 2

There was a moment in the story where I thought they were going to do something really interesting. You see, in the original – Freddy was definitely guilty. But in the remake, there’s a whiff of suggestion in the first third that Freddy could be innocent and the parents killed him erroneously. This would have been a great twist and added a much needed extra level to the plot – but sadly they didn’t do that an instead made human Freddy a sadistic child killing/molesting bastard. Just try to imagine having a Freddy Krueger you could have sympathy for.

I can’t say that the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake is an outstanding flick… but its also not as horrendous as people make it out to be either. Sadly it offers no real surprises and is bland in many aspects. But it does have a great sense of dread whenever Freddy is onscreen and there a handful of good horror moments too. But Jackie Earle Haley’s version of Freddy was amazing and worth watching just for that.

So from one remade horror icon to another…

Halloween

Halloween 2007

Evil. Remade.

When to comes to great horror writer/directors, I hold John Carpenter in the same regard as Wes Craven… but I have to admit to finding the original Halloween one of his lesser pictures. So it does not hold as much of a place in my heart as A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I was not sure what to expect from this remake other than a lazy retread. But I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised when I did watch it. When you look at the film on the whole, the original Halloween is a very bare-bones flick. The story is almost non-existent and the characters became clichéd before the cliché was even created…. like totally. One of my favourite aspects of the film is the exact thing I hate about what they did in the original sequels.

Michael Myers

We follow a young Myers and see his disruptive family life, we get to see his relationship with Dr. Loomis. They gave Micheal Myers a backstory, a history and a reason for his murderous intentions which is something that I enjoyed about the remake and dislike about the original films, you know when they explain Myers via all that Thorn cult crap. I tend to lose interest when they try to give reason to a horror icon. I don’t mind the odd hints here and there, but when they attempt to give an explanation to a killer’s killing motives, that’s when I lose interest (see Freddy, Pinhead, Leatherface, etc). However, that was something about the Halloween remake that I really enjoyed. I wanted to know this Michael Myers, I wanted to learn of his history as it added much needed depth to an otherwise empty story and it is when you re-watch the original after seeing the remake when you realise just how little plot/story there is in it.

Michael Myers 2

Okay, so the hick-family members of the remake are stereotypical and very one note but that is what I like about them. The film isn’t trying to be high-art, its trying to be a horror film with just a touch of heart, a modicum depth and I think what it does, it does well enough. I genuinely felt for young Myers and his relationship with Loomis felt honest. In the original – there’s none of this. Its just a film about a guy killing babysitters while an eccentric doctor tries to stop him. The remake has that but adds more meat on the bones too.

Of course if there is one thing the original is famous for then its the lack of any blood and gore. There’s a few shots with very little blood but other then that – the flick is relatively bloodless. The remake goes the other direction and turns up the dial. There’s more than enough blood and gore in this version and to be honest… I’ve still not made up my mind whether I like it or not. I’m no prude, I’ve seen far bloodier and gory films over the years – I just can’t work out if I like it in this film or not.

Given the choice. I’d rather watch this remake than the original Halloween. As for Rob Zombie’s Halloween II? Fuck that movie.

Of course, Halloween is still not dead as another new film is on the way due to be released next year. This one is said to be a sequel to the original Halloween II with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to play Laurie Strode.

Halloween 2018

But that is a different article all together and this one has gone on long enough…

Anyway, there you go, that is my ‘coming out’ with films I liked others do not. I really enjoyed writing this one and my return with more ‘coming out’ movies in the future.

 

Ghostbusters (2016)

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.

jap poster

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!!!

cast

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.

Four

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.

ghosts

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.

1

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.

Kevin

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

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.

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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.

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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

Erin Gilbert:Books can’t fly and neither can babies!

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Ghostbusters

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Little Bit of History: Released in 1984 by Columbia Pictures. Written by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman. Originally conceived as a film for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, but Belushi’s untimely death led to the film being taken in a new direction. The amazing theme tune was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song but lost out to The Woman in Red.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: A trio of parapsychologists are called to the New York Public Library to investigate reports of a ghost. They see this an an opportunity to set up a new business of a paranormal investigation and extermination service called the Ghostbusters. Developing their own equipment, they create the proton packs and traps that enable them to capture ghosts. Eventually they hire a fourth member of the team. Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Agent; Walter Peck has the Ghostbusters arrested and their ghost containment unit turned off. This unleashes a horde of ghosts into New York as Gozer the Gozerian grasps control and swears to bring an end to the world.

Little Bit of Character: Ghostbusters is full of amazing and lovable characters from the main four Ghostbusters of; Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond “Ray” Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) Also along for the ride is the Ghostbusters secretary Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), Peter’s love interest Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her neighbour Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) with Walter Peck (William Atherton) as the antagonist trying to prove the Ghostbusters are frauds.

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Little Bit of Influence: Ghostbusters went on to become a very successful franchise. Any and everything bore the Ghostbusters logo in the 80s and 90s. The film spawned its own sequel, a popular animated TV show… which itself had its own sequel. Board games, video games, toys, clothing, comics, etc. Think of any product and there is a good chance there was a Ghostbusters version of it. The fan base of Ghostbusters is very strong an loyal (just look at the hate train for the remake as proof) and there have even been fan made films.

Little Bit of Memories: I remember first seeing the film on VHS around 86/87, by which time the Ghostbusters hype was at fever pitch. If I recall correctly, me and my brothers first watched it when staying at my aunt’s house overnight. My uncle had to pre-book the film to rent weeks in advance as it was so popular.

Little Bit of Watchability: One of THE definitive films of the 80s. A great ensemble cast, great jokes, amazing effects work and brilliantly directed. This is one of those ‘feel good’ movies that just puts a smile on your face every time you see it. I could (and have) watch(ed) this film over and over and yet never get tired of it. Dan and Harold’s script is snappy and entertaining. And that damn theme tune will remain in your head for the rest of you life. Most definitely well worth watching and aside for that slight cheesy 80s feel, the film is timeless.

Luoishorse

Louis Tully:I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?”

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