New Ghostbusters misses the mark

Monday July 18, 2016 Written by Published in Entertainment
(From left) Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon stand in the Ghostbuster’s uniforms and weapons. 16071513 (From left) Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon stand in the Ghostbuster’s uniforms and weapons. 16071513

TO THIS day, I have never seen the original Ghostbusters, so allow me to begin this review of the 2016 version by pretending it involves no duplication of the 1984 blockbuster.

 

With no expectations or even much idea as to what the movie was about, I found this mediocre comedy/horror undeserving of much praise.

When you put Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones together in a room, you’d think something amusing would be sure to happen, but after watching this film, I keep questioning why so many well-meaning and talented artists would take part in such an utterly unnecessary remake?

The Paul Feig-directed film provides a few sudden scares in the opening sequence but further along I realised the ghosts were neither frightening, nor funny and had almost no “back story.” Instead, they came across as ugly, demonic and murderous creatures storming through New York city. 

The plot goes something like this: Science geek outcasts Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) shared a mutual intrigue for all things ghostly back in their college days and co-wrote a book theorising on the existence of paranormal phenomena such as ghosts. Eventually they graduate and go their separate ways.

But two are unexpectedly reunited after years apart when their book is republished, threatening Gilbert’s reputation as an academic at Columbia University.

The pair form a solid friendship with Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) who also have a passion for proving the existence of ghosts and start a business called “‘Ghostbusters.”

The local authorities don’t seem to like the idea of a group of geared-up girls trekking through town scooping up ghosts as not only does it shame them in their political positions but also scares the general public more than a little.

It was an unexpected surprise to see Chris Hemsworth take on a monumentally stupid role as Ghostbusters’ receptionist “Kevin,” as it isn’t exactly what you’d expect from an actor known for playing hunky roles in movies like Thor and The Huntsman.

The film has a typically cliché ending with hype and cheesy prompting driving the main characters to save the city.

Although there’s a measure of humour in some scenes and I did find myself laughing occasionally, there is an enormous amount of boring “action” and inexplicably, a highly forgettable villain. 

Whilst the film recognises and exposes the spiritual realm, it is does not go as far as to provide a Christian worldview of the supernatural perspective.

Despite the quality attributes that the film lacks, I will expose the few positive elements that are hidden underneath this film’s baggage.

The newly-formed Ghostbusters girl group know what it is to stand by each other as good friends do.  

The members of the quartet put their lives on the line for each other in the more heated ghost attack scenes and I suppose you could say they stand up to evil, in a sense.

But the reality is, the film left me thinking that this feminized attempt at a Ghostbusters remake could have used a makeover itself.

Banned in China, it was praised by The New York Times but was lambasted by one critic for containing “cheesy special effects and a terrible script.”

It seems some things are better left alone.              

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