Probably the most controversial movie release of the year, the new all female led Ghostbusters has hit theatres all around the world. A movie that has been torn to pieces even before the first trailer hit (which is, by the way, the most down voted video on youtube ever... just let that sink in for a second) in a maelstrom of misogynistic rage and cries of murdered childhoods. Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) even got death threats on social media.
So, now that the film is out we can finally see it... at least if we are brave enough to stem against the waves of negativity/internet sheep behaviour and actually wanna make up our own minds and think for ourselves.
I have been a fan of the original films and the animated series since I was 3, so I came into this film with my arms firmly crossed in front of my chest. Not because I had a problem with the all female cast, or the director Paul Feig, but with the fact that this remake erases Venkman, Spengler, Stantz and Zeddemore, because in this new timeline the original team never existed. This is to me like making a Batman film in which Bruce Wayne isn't a part of the mythos and instead the man behind the mask is Joey Paliazzo, a plumber from New Jersey. It just feels... weird to me to let go of the characters I associate with the term Ghostbusters. But let's try to be fair and watch this film on it's own merit.
So... how was it?
It was good to great... I think. I have to watch it again to be sure, but it absolutely is A REAL GHOSTBUSTERS film. The cast is great (but I always loved the SNL girls and even McCarthy when she doesn't gets stuffed into the "fatty fell down" role too much, because she can act and emote like few other comedian actors, if she gets the right script), the ghosts look awesome and the 3D was the first I saw in theatres where it actually added to the film. Ghosts and proton streams fly off the screen and it is the best use of 3D I have ever seen (normally I forget that the movie I watch is in 3D after 5 minutes).
The action has been updated as well and at first I wasn't sure if I liked that, but the original "fight scenes" from the original films just wouldn't work in todays world. Let's face it... it was only 4 middle aged dudes standing in a line holding their neutrino wands and shacking uncontrollably. The whole ghost busting affair is far more spectacular in the remake, but it really worked and it had to be updated for a blockbuster movie in 2016, compared to one in 1984.
Cats and Dogs living together
Humor wise I actually laughed out loud HARD probably 15 - 20 times during the film.
Wiig and McCarthy play more or less straight men for the other characters, but still bring the funny. They are the core relationship of the film and you really feel for their friendship, who has to go through a few trails and tribulations. Both women are probably the best funny female actors working in Hollywood right now and they own this film. Movie newbie Kate McKinnon sometimes seems like she is in an SNL skit, and sometimes absolutely nails it. It's really 50-50 with her. Her character is like a somewhat more eccentric Egon Spengler and a treat to watch when it works. Even among a few stumbles, she actually has the standout action scene in the film, which is just balls to the wall cool. I really hope they give her more nuanced scenes in the sequel, because she has a lot of potential as this character.
Leslie Jones, also from SNL, worried me a lot from the trailers and TV spots because she seemed to be the stereotypical loud black New Yorker. In the film itself she actually brings a lot of heart and is a really cool and rounded character. Of course she has a few loud scenes, but it doesn't feel out of place at all when watching the film, like it did for the trailers. She is a great addition to the team and I wouldn't want to miss her.
The whole relationship between the four women worked really well and I started to like the new team pretty fast, which was aided by the laughs.
The comedic secret weapon, however, was Chris "Thor" Hemsworth (swwooooooon) who started his comedy career in last years much maligned Vacation remake/sequel, but in Ghostbusters he turns into a real comedy monster and steals every scene he is in. His bumbling bufoon of a man, Kevin, is honestly one of the dumbest characters that has ever graced the silver screen... and for me it worked. The longer and the more repetitive his stupidity got, the more I had to laugh out loud. I am talking big belly laughs here! I heard some people got tired of that shtick pretty fast, but for me not one Kevin scene fell on its face.
I'm not afraid, not afraid
What doesn't work? A few jokes are too broad for what I think should be in a Ghostbusters film, but it is still a Paul Feig film, so that was to be expected (I loved Bridesmaids and a lot of his stuff, so its not that I don't like that type of stuff in general). Also some little trademark things I missed from the earlier films made me a tiny bit sad for a second (the first person who screams in terror at a ghost does not transform into the films logo, or ECTO 1 having a new siren sound bummed me out for some reason^^), but other than that, no big complains. Ghostbusters is, of course, not a perfect movie, but most problems I had were very small nitpicks. It is a comedy first, just like the original, which makes me not focus on a somewhat thin plot and weak bad guy at all. It perfectly works to set up the relationships and the jokes, which is all I need for a comedy to work for me.
Don't get me wrong, I still hate the fact that this new universe does not feature "my" Ghostbusters, but all the old guys make an appearance (even Harold Ramis!) and Dan Aykroyd's character even comments on class 3 floating vapors... so maybe that was actually Ray Stantz after all! I just still think this movie could have avoided a lot of backlash if the female cast just took over the business from the old Ghostbusters, instead of rebooting it wholesale.
So... even if it might not reach the cult status of the original film, if you are a fan of the old movies, aren't a crying mess when thinking about a female led film and maybe even liked some other Paul Feig movies, you really should give this film a chance. I was sceptical as all hell and I really liked it. It is another real Ghostbusters movie and I waited over 25 years for that. Now I have to tell my inner 5 year old about it, because he would be stoked! He wasn't afraid of no ghosts or no women either.