Review: Ghostbusters – Late-night TV fodder

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WARNING: Contains mild spoilers.

WITH its trailer becoming the most disliked in YouTube history, it’s safe to say that the new Ghostbusters movie hasn’t had the greatest start in life. With fan boys and internet trolls rife with anger, the film seems to be being unfairly judged before people have even seen it. Admittedly, the trailers have been dire, and that Fall Out Boy version of the theme song? Wow. Anyway, I bit the bullet and went to see how it performed.

One thing that’s evident from the off with this movie is that it’s not trying to directly emulate its forefathers. Of course, there are nods and references to the original, but that was inevitable, and for the most part they’re very tasteful, even if they involve throwing Bill Murray out of a window… The cameos from past cast members are all pretty well done, and thankfully the film avoids going Anchorman 2 and spraying 21st celebrities everywhere. Perhaps one area of criticism people might have with the modern upgrade, however, is the huge use of CGI in this film. But in this era where every franchise or blockbuster employs the use of CGI, it’s something that is unavoidable.

It’s not even that much of a big deal; in fact it adds to the film without getting in the way of the plot. That in itself develops without becoming a carbon copy of the original, and the characters aren’t simply ‘female versions’ of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddemore. In fact, the characters themselves are one of the best parts of this film; they’re quirky, work well together, and I can definitely see them becoming a group of great comedy characters. While Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon are all great in their roles, it’s Leslie Jones who really comes into her own, with some of the best one liners throughout the course of the film. Chris Hemsworth is also not bad, although I feel he has received perhaps a little too much praise for what is a essentially an overblown joke.

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And that’s where the criticisms begin.

While there are plenty of good things about this film, there are also plenty of not so good things. As I said before, I’m a big fan of the characters in this film, and the acting is, on the whole, pretty good. However, the script for this movie really lets it down. While there may be a few chuckles here and there, and the odd laugh out loud moment, there’s nothing… killer. There’s nothing someone would bring up over a round of drinks and the entire group would laugh. One of the main comedic attractions comes from Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin, who is, wait for it, not very smart. That’s the joke. The only joke in relation to this character. It’s such a cheap move. It’s not even like the humour is risky or boundary-pushing; it’s merely effective.

The storyline bobs along on a string of loosely connected events that feel too forced. In fact, it rushes far too quickly towards the climax, which is where the film focuses a lot of its attention. That finale, incidentally, is a result of the main antagonist, Rowan (Neil Casey). Not that’d you guess he was the main villain, since he’s never given any backstory; his motive is thinner than a low-calorie wafer, and he… appears. His appearance leaves so many questions: where did he get this equipment? Are these ghosts relevant at all? And then there are other questions not entirely related to him: why is the entire city celebrating these women they’ve known for literally a day? In this day and age it’s hard to tell if this this because the creators are leaving it open for a sequel, or if it’s good old-fashioned lazy writing.

And all these problems make Ghostbusters incredibly forgettable, which is a really shame. I want to see more of these characters, I want more to be done with the franchise, but I also want better writers to make this thing superior. No, it’s not a write off, but this is also not the classic comedy the writers so want it to be. Even with its good characters, design, performances and such, its infrequent laughs leave the film feeling like nothing more than late night TV bait. What a shame.

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