Is Ghostbusters the kind of movie that ever needed a remake? That has been a heated debate for several months now, as director Paul Feig’s stab at remaking a classic film has resulted in a massively divided fanbase. There’s a camp out there who despise this reboot because it has gurls filling in for the primary quartert of paranormal exterminators, feverishly clutching their disgusted genitals in disgust and hate. The opposite side of that Internet stream that doesn’t dare cross paths with that side of the web just wants everyone to give Feig and his crew a chance to actually make a good movie.
Which may have just happened. That’s according to numerous critics who hit the net last night with their opinions, the majority of which were positively charged. While it’s not a perfect film according to the general sentiment, it is a fun movie that will remind you how bustin’ can make you feel good.
And really, that’s all that really matters.
As with 1984’s Ghostbusters, the spirits eventually take on weirder and weirder forms, to the point where our heroines are smashing their way through pirates, Puritans, and yes, Slimers. And while those fights — not to mention the movie — feel like something of a free-for-all, there’s no denying the fun of watching a new generation of Ghostbusters slay their own demons.
The new Ghostbusters is a fresh take on the franchise, with four strong leads and an interesting new entrypoint into the series. The problems with the film come down to the movie itself, as the pacing and editing don’t hold up what otherwise could have been a sharp, quick-witted re-entry into a world fans hold dear.
It doesn’t help that this new Ghostbusters tries too hard to pay homage to the previous Ghostbusters movies instead of fully standing on its own. While there is plenty to enjoy about Paul Feig’s new comedy, it’s not going to be enough to stick it to the haters who spewed vitriol against the all-lady Ghostbusters on premise alone.
The new Ghostbusters is a smart and exciting comedy, and a solid new entry into the classic series. Paul Feig’s film changes just enough about the original concept to make his Ghostbusters feel new, but its heart is the same. It is still a film about blue collar heroes, doing great things because that’s just what they do, whether or not they get any respect for it. It’s a film for anybody who has ever been marginalized for pursuing their passions, and been told that they were making a mistake for doing so. And that’s pretty wonderful.
In any number of strange ways (from McKinnon’s Egon-esque blonde coif, to the too-dominant role of uglier-than-ever ghoul Slimer), 1986’s “The Real Ghostbusters” cartoon appears to have had every bit as much an influence on the team as the live-action original did. That’s enough to make one nervous for all the ways Sony intends to exploit the franchise in the future — which could be moot, considering the write-down they’re likely to take on this reboot.
They’ve come from the past to shake their fists at the present—maybe they don’t like remakes either, but that’s their problem. Happy or not, they’re part of the here and now. This is the kind of movie you make when you ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
The original Ghostbusters will always be a classic that means something special to me. The good news is, there’s a whole new generation that’s about to feel that way about this one. And more power to them.
Those and other nostalgic nods to the progenitor only serve as a reminder of the charm that’s lacking here, sacrificed to bland, effects-laden bloat and uninspired writing, making this a missed opportunity.
So why does Ghostbusters feel so restrained? For starters, it’s too slavish when it nods to the original (although its throw-back cameos are fun), and too flailing and flat when it strays from it (Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold introduce a ghost-unleashing villain, then don’t know what to do with him). But with a cast as daring and quick as this one, Ghostbusters is too mild and plays it too safe. Somewhere, I bet, there’s an R-rated director’s cut of the movie where these women really let it rip. I want to see that movie.
Feig’s Ghostbusters won’t be an iconic film in the same way Reitman’s was, but it is both hysterical and fun that doesn’t fail to entertain.
Ghostbusters rolls out locally on July 29.
Last Updated: July 11, 2016