Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ Is Entertaining With Room For Improvement
Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” is simple fun that could have been better.
The “Ghostbusters” reboot has been at the height of controversy between the notion of it being a reboot, poor trailer reception, and the debate over the gender swap. But despite all of the preemptive critique of the film, I recommend seeing it as a standalone film if you plan on going. While it shares the same name with the original 1984 film, this is a reboot with all new characters yet a few intersecting storylines. Think of this film as part of the “Ghostbusters” multiverse. With that said, as a standalone film, how well does it do?
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 2.5
Starting with the bad first, “Ghostbusters” unfortunately suffers from a disjointed plot that seems to be dredging through the mud in the beginning. It’s a very slow process getting through the beginning and making the journey to the fun. It felt like the beginning either needed more substance or a setup for some subplots to connect more pieces together for a grand culmination of events in the end. The story was simple to follow but too simple for the amount of time spent exploring. I think the time could have been used in a much more creative way and we could have seen much deeper development of some potentially unique characters.
When I speak of the potential for the characters I’m genuinely interested to see how these characters will be explored if there’s a sequel. Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin (Kristen Wiig) are the closest of the group and have a history that we know little about. There’s some distance between them that is touched upon, but I’d like to see that further explored in potentially later films. They do provide their fair share of comic relief with Wiig’s usual quiet, dry humor and McCarthy’s over-the-top slapstick moments. But while they provided what was expected, I found myself continually engaged in the newcomers. As Patty, Leslie Jones played a role that we know very well from her SNL personality, but she gave us a little more in “Ghostbusters.” While the three other members of the team were talking scientific jargon, Jones translated their dialogue into Layman’s terms representing the average citizen. I liked her character because she was tough and loud but at the same time, used her volume for very funny moments of terror. The most intriguing of all of the characters was Jillian played by Kate McKinnon. She was a sort of “quiet cool” in the film. She had the best timing for her comedy but despite being funny, she was the most dynamic character of the film. She’s essentially a mad scientist in a more pragmatic role. If it weren’t for her affiliation with the team, I would probably question where her loyalties lie and if there is any empathy to her character. She’s extremely intelligent and surrounded by mystery. By the end of the film, I wanted to know more about her character and how her personality was molded together.
While the first act didn’t appeal to me, the second act is where I got to know these characters and reengage in the film. Seeing the development of the team, their equipment, and oncoming threat, set the film back on track. In addition to the standard-issue proton packs, the development of some new gadgetry was a welcomed addition to this film. The testing phase was also very fun to watch. The mishaps through experimentation provide some chuckles and also justify their well-trained use of the equipment in the final battle. The second act truly got the story going but still left some holes to be filled when transitioning to the third act. The villain of the film was very mundane and his motives were as well. I won’t spoil it but I was disappointed that there wasn’t a more intriguing threat.
Speaking of the main threat, the final act is where “Ghostbusters” truly shines. The battles were colorfully vibrant creating some nice visual eye candy. It wasn’t the best display of CGI I’ve seen but it was a smooth upgrade from the “Ghostbusters” we knew before this reboot. At this point of the film we also get to see all of the new gadgets and weapons in action which was probably my favorite part about the reboot. The proton packs are essential but these are scientists so why not give them a little James Bond style upgrade.
Overall this film fell into the “okay” realm of cinematics. The plot was simple but could have been much better if it was either shortened in the beginning or split up to give us an interior and exterior perspective. The characters are the heart of this film and if they can be applied to the right plot, I can see great things for a potential sequel. Unfortunately this plot did not give the characters the tools to make them great so for now, I’ll just hope for a future improvement.
Entertainment Value – 3
As said in the cinematics portion of this review, the beginning is slow so I won’t rehash that again. What I will focus on is the second and third act of the film which brings the audience into the world of action and entertainment.
The strength of this film lies in the entertainment and about two-thirds of the film aims to please. The comedic exchanges are funny but not on the same level as some other Paul Feig films. There are some light chuckles from Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy but the wholehearted laughs stem from Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. But while the humor is enjoyable, at times it makes things seem too silly. I enjoyed the sporadic moments of humor but did not like the humor becoming an element of the story as you’ll see with the introduction of Andy Garcia as the mayor.
Looking past the slow start and the cinematic quality, “Ghostbusters” finds its footing in the realm of entertainment. You’ll have some laughs and you’ll most likely enjoy these ladies kicking some ass, but you still won’t reach that summer blockbuster level of entertainment. It’s mindless entertainment for the most part but it still gets the job done.
Re-Watchability – 3
I can say that I would watch this film again but I would prefer to skip over some moments if possible. I doubt I will venture to the theater again though. My second viewing of this movie will definitely be sitting on the couch rather than sitting in a theater.
Most likely this will be a film I casually watch through a streaming subscription service rather than rent or buy, but I will probably watch it more than once.
- Entertainment Value
Paul Feig delivers what he knows best with this "Ghostbusters" reboot which can lead audience opinion in either direction. There are some missteps throughout the film but going into this reboot without any expectations, you may be able to relax and enjoy it.
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