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“Ghostbusters” Reboot Shines Despite A Few Bumps In The Road


By James Preston Poole

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Talking about the new “Ghostbusters” film always feels a bit like tip-toeing around a minefield; Any step I take could blow up in my face.

 

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Heck, I even wrote an article detailing how poorly the public was doing at opening up a dialogue about the female-led reboot of the beloved 1984 classic.

 

That was pre-release. Now that the thing’s actually out, none of that matters and we can just evaluate the flick for what it is. Surprisingly, it turns out to be a pretty damn fun time at the movies, albeit with a few missteps along the way.

 

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Directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Spy”), this new “Ghostbusters” follows Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), two scientists in Manhattan who team up with city expert Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and tech genius Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to battle the supernatural under the moniker of the, well, you know…

 

Since we all crave a bit of negativity, what didn’t work in Feig’s reboot?

 

Well, for one, the visual effects are a bit uninspired. The film traded in the practical effects—that made the 1984 version hold up so well—for CGI that doesn’t look convincing. Furthermore, the pacing here feels a bit off. A smooth narrative flow is never quite established, leaving some scenes to feel too long and others too short.

 

The plot, conversely, doesn’t lend itself to much other than a slightly-altered retelling of the original film. For this reason, it’s hard not to categorize this film as a “remake” because there’s not too much new story-wise that’s being brought to the table.

 

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A couple of performances/characters never quite hit their mark, either.

 

Leslie Jones has proven herself to be an extremely talented actress on SNL, yet her character verges on stereotype, leaving her feeling shafted in comparison to the rest of the core team. The villain, played by Neil Casey, suffers from a lack of identity and never quite makes the impression that a villain in a movie about ghosts should.

 

And I definitely could’ve done without a very distracting cameo that borders on slapping all the fans of the original in the face (you’ll know it when you see it.)

 

Whew, I’m glad I got my gripes out of the way, because there’s a lot to love here!

 

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First and foremost, put your fears aside: this is a “Ghostbusters” movie through and through. I may have used the plot being similar to the original as a negative, but the feel being reused is definitely a positive.

 

Moreover, the creativity on display here is unbelievable! Between the ghost-destroying weapons Holtzmann builds for the team and the various spirits that the ‘Busters find themselves going up against, there’s a madcap sensibility about the whole thing.

 

I’d even go so far as to say, shoddy CGI aside, that the visuals were quite interesting to look at. While I usually never recommend checking out the 3D version of films, it’s worth shelling out the extra cash this time around.

 

The tone, remarkably, stands out in a big way as well. When a moment needs to be spooky, it’s spooky. When a moment needs to be funny, it’s gut-bustingly hilarious. Yes, you heard me correctly—this film is actually really really funny!

 

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For every miss the humor in this movie had, there was a moment that I was laughing harder than I’ve laughed at any of 2016’s comedies thus far. Which leads me to my next positive:

 

The cast absolutely kill their roles.

 

Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are electric as the central duo, refusing to revert into their usual shtick. In fact, they even play it rather straight, which allows two other cast members to stand out greatly: Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth.

 

McKinnon owns the movie every time she’s on screen. She brings a madcap energy to the film that I haven’t seen a comedy star do in quite a while. Unstable, unpredictable, with a bit of badass in her, Holtzmann is the role that I’m confident will skyrocket Kate McKinnon into fame.

 

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In addition, Hemsworth fares well as the eye-candy, dumb-as-bricks secretary of the Ghostbusters. The dumb routine would fall flat in less capable hands, but Hemsworth constantly steals scenes away from the main quartet.

 

It would be wise to expand his role in the next one.

 

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but “Ghostbusters” is pretty exceptional as far as remakes come. Though a lot of the decisions made on the film are questionable, its energy won me over, as did its cast.

 

Which makes it all the more baffling that it was marketed so poorly…maybe that’s an article for another time.

 

Anyways, I can’t wait to see another flick in this series with these ladies. Until then, if you’re looking to see something a little strange in your neighborhood, call your local theater and get tickets to “Ghostbusters.”