Who you gonna call?!
Well, personally, I’d call an exorcist, but you can go ahead and call the Ghostbusters.
This is my review of Ghostbusters!
Some years back, Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and her friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) wrote a book about the paranormal. When the book ended up becoming unpopular, Erin buried herself in her work at Columbia University and essentially abandoned Abby. However, when ghost sightings become more and more commonplace, Erin and Abby are thrown back into the world of paranormal activity and bring an engineer named Jillian Holtzmann and a train station worker named Patty along for the ride.
Before I say anything else, I’m going to get this out of the way: You’re not a sexist if you don’t like this movie and you’re not a disgrace to the original Ghostbusters film if you do enjoy this flick.
With that out of the way, onward with the review!
Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy do play off of each other very well. In all fairness, I did chuckle a few times throughout because there were some good jokes and sight-gags. Leslie Jones was surprisingly grounded and relatable to where I kind of wish she was the main POV character instead of Kristen Wiig.
[KIND OF A SPOILER] I did appreciate that Kristen Wiig’s character gets an interesting backstory of being visited by a ghost as a child. I was hoping that this aspect of her character would come into play somehow, like have her get a flashback of it while she is fighting a ghost and then use the flashback to motivate her to persevere in courage instead of remaining a doormat. Sadly, this doesn’t happen, but I will give credit for attempting a character arch.
This movie has many structural issues. Sequences happen without any build-up or significance. For instance, one scene shows the women struggling to work their proton containment laser, but then just two scenes later, they’re using those guns with next to no issues. Another example: When we are first introduced to Dr. Erin Gilbert, she is seeing preparing for her class when she is confronted by a reader of the book she and Abby wrote. She keeps telling the gentleman, “I have a class in a few minutes” only to immediately go to her office and then head straight for Abby Yates’ workplace. The funny thing is this could’ve been easily fixed had she been approached by the reader while in the middle of teaching, but nope. We just never see her teach.
Apparently character archetypes that are normally fairly simple to write are a challenge for this movie…
Exhibit A: Kate McKinnon–what the heck were you doing? Who was Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon’s character) supposed to be? If you’ve ever wondered how NOT to write a quirky character, just endure Jillian Holtzmann’s forced weirdness. It really isn’t that hard to create an offbeat character; you just have to focus on what makes them a person who happens to be quirky, not a person overtaken entirely by quirks.
Exhibit B: Chris Hemsworth, you are a stunningly handsome man, but no one is that stupid. I’m talking about his character, the inept secretary Kevin. Had his character been a teenage boy, his dimwitted nature would’ve been understandable, but as it stands, he is way too old to be this incompetent. Again, dense characters are relatively easy to develop: Just have them do dumb things out of sincere goodness, i.e. make them childlike, not childish.
The villain–oh, what’s his name–Rowan?–is probably the most half-baked, underwhelming villain since the dark elf antagonist from Thor: The Dark World. He just shows up because–potatoes–and wants to destroy the world because the script demands it. Even Darren Cross from Ant Man had more development than this guy! Honestly, I’m running out of things to say about what’s-his-name.
(Hears noise downstairs) Hello? (No answer) Huh, well what could that be? (Looks at review) My final thoughts can wait. (Goes downstairs) (Sees a ghost in the kitchen)
ME: What the hey?
GHOST: I am the ghost of kitchen’s past!
ME: You mean, you’re the ghost of what this kitchen used to look like before we remodeled?
GHOST: (Looks confused) Yeah, sure. Anyway, where is your proton pack now, mere mortal?
ME: I don’t know about proton packs, but I have this. (Pulls holy water out of the cupboard and flings it at the ghost) In the Name of Jesus, leave my kitchen, jerkface!
GHOST: You fiend!
ME: Give your dark master my regards. Oh, and LEAVE! (throws more holy water furiously)
GHOST: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH, I’M MELTING!!!! (Writhes in agony and dissolves into a puddle of ooze)
ME: (puts holy water back in cupboard) I don’t think they sell special ghost-ooze mops at Walmart. Oh, well, I’ll clean this up later, but first, time to finish the review.
(Returns to bedroom) And now, my closing thoughts:
Where Batman v. Superman had me looking up at the ceiling and asking God to strike me with lighting so I wouldn’t have to watch anymore (a request that He denied, as you can tell), Ghostbusters didn’t add or subtract from my will to live. At the same time, it sure isn’t worth the full price of admission, either. The characters are grossly underwritten, the plot loses all sensibility as it goes on and its only connection to the original Ghostbusters is via half-hearted cameos and shoehorned references. If you really want to spend time at the movies, just go see Finding Dory again or even The Shallows. As for this, Ghostbusters (2016) is a rental, not a must-see.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.