Monday, 11 July 2016

Ghostbusters (Sony/Columbia Pictures, 2016)

Oh boy.

This movie has had a rough ride to the box office ever since it was first announced and it was revealed that rather than the Ghostbusters 3 everybody had been waiting years for, we were instead getting a reboot...but this time with an all female team and directed by Paul Feig who's known for films like Bridesmaids. People voiced their concerns, but they insisted on pressing ahead with it anyway like some kind of massive social justice statement, and as the criticisms and concerns grew louder, rather than take any notice of what the fans were saying, all they would do is cherry pick some of the worst comments, label everyone who hated the trailers as 'sexist' and pretty much put their fingers in their ears singing 'la la la'. But now the movie has been released we can all judge it for ourselves, and it can't be that bad, right? Right? (spoiler: it can).

The very start of the movie isn't so bad, we're shown a haunted house with a few spooky goings on to set the scene. But then we're introduced to Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) who is meant to be the Peter Venkman of this movie and she immediately comes across as dim. Things don't get much better when Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Gillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) arrive on screen and start acting like the Beavis and Butt Head of the paranormal investigation world, a far cry from the gleefully enthusiastic Ray Stantz and the much more grounded and serious Egon Spengler that made the original movie work so much better. And the first thing we see the trio do together? A fart joke. This sadly feels more like a badly thrown together slapstick Ghostbusters parody sketch thrown together and dragged out over the course of a couple of hours. Inevitably, the women investigate the haunted house and Abby posts the footage on Youtube, leading to Erin being fired from her job as a respectable scientist and to the formation of Ghostbusters. Unbelievably, even at this stage, director Paul Feig can't resist getting a dig in at people who complained about the movie online by having Abby make a joke about one of the comments underneath the video (apparently saying something along the lines of 'Aint no bitches going to be busting no ghosts!') and calling people on social media out as crazy basement dwellers. Subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) soon joins the team and rather than being the 'normal' character we can relate to like Winston Zeddemore, instead she's a 'Hell naw, bitch!' token black stereotype character (and also the only black character in the film at all if I remember rightly?) that doesn't do the movie any favours at all....she also gets the honour of probably the worst line in the movie, during a crowd surfing scene at a rock concert where the crowd part ways and let her fall to the floor...'I don't know if it's a lady thing, or a race thing but I'm as mad as hell!' (well it's not a lady thing is it, they've just carried your teammate). Chris Hemsworth as dozy receptionist Kevin does actually have a couple of funny lines and also steals practically every scene he's in, but even he only seems to be there in order to turn Kristen Wiig's character into even more of a bimbo than she was originally set up as.

The story, what very little there is of it, involves weird loner Rowan North (Neil Casey) and some nonsense about opening a portal to the afterlife and flooding the city with ghosts, his plan literally makes no sense. And then there's the government agents who call on the Ghostbusters for help, but want to publicly discredit them in order to convince everybody that ghosts aren't real even though (within the context of this movie) they obviously are. It's dumb. At one point (and this was rumoured before the movie's release by a leak from a source) there's also nearly a big song and dance number as the main bad guy has control of a possessed crowd of people and police force....thankfully this has been cut from the main movie, but it did happen as it plays out during the credits as an 'outtake' instead. There's no clever ending involving 'crossing the streams' (a major plot point of the original movie) either, just pretty much a relatively dull '4 girls zapping a random army of bright neon ghosts with lazers' face off. which is all over in about the same amount of time as it took the Fantastic Four to take down Doctor Doom at the very end of the most recent F4 movie. There's no real celebration, no feel good moment, anything like that, it all just limps to it's finish making you wonder why the hell you bothered watching it.

Tellingly, the best parts of the movie are probably the cameos from the surviving original Ghostbusters, I won't give those away here but Dan Ackroyd's lines in particular made me smile at least. A couple of the best jokes towards the end involve nostalgia nods to Slimer and the Staypuft Marshmallow Man. Ultimately, it just makes you pine for what could have been, rather than the shit that gets served up instead

To be fair, over the course of the movie Kate McKinnon's character does become tolerable compared to the others, in a goofy mad scientist kind of way (Melissa McCarthy's role is easily the worst I've seen her in, Kristen Wiig seems vacant....the less said about Leslie Jones, the better). And for a child watching this for the first time who hasn't seen the originals, it's still a really cool concept. But this is really not a good film at all, and no amount of trying to defend it as progressive for women or anything like that will change that it's just a huge mess. The best movies of this type work when you take a ridiculous concept but make it believable and have likeable characters who gel together and make it work, rather than what Feig has done and reinvented it as comedy slapstick for the lowest common denominator WHICH YOU WILL LIKE, OTHERWISE YOU'RE SEXIST.

The scariest thing about it? A sequel is hinted at after the credits roll. Be afraid, be very afraid.

TromaDogg's final verdict: 3/10


  1. Brilliant honest review, great to see after so mny reviews are either kissing the studios arse or afraid of being labelled sexist.
    Thanks for cutting through the bullshit and telling it how it is.
    Unfortunately Amy Pascal has reportedly green lit paul feig for a trilogy

    1. Thanks, man. It's a goddawful piece of shit. Don't waste your money on it, either download it or wait for it to show up on Netflix or TV.