Ghostbusters (2016) Review–Some Parts Need Moving

Took our youngest to see the new Ghostbusters today (after she watched the original) and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie as poorly served by its trailer as this one. It’s a much better movie than the trailers, especially the first one, made it seem.

That said, in my movie watching experience, the usual signs of doom for a movie, besides delays, directorial changes, last minute editing, and deliberate lack of preview screenings are usually:

1) The cast talks about how much fun they had making the movie (translation: we all hated each other and the movie is wacky);

2) The cast talks about how amazing an experience it was to work with such great professionals (translation: we really, really fucking hated each other);

3) The cast attempts to pre-disaster the film by condemning those they think won’t like it as too unsophisticated to understand it and/or racist/sexist. (Translation: This sucker is going down in flames and we need a scapegoat and a way to rally some people to see the movie by pretending it’s under attack.) (Note: A related tactic that said haters were unpatriotic was used to promote American Sniper.)

The first Ghostbusters 2016 trailer was terrible. To claim that thinking so makes the viewer sexist is denial and/or projection.

The movie is also badly served by its first 20 minutes which is a shocking compendium of odd timing, odd editing, and unfunny jokes about attitudes toward the Irish, PT Barnum and elephants. There are also fart jokes.

Stake put in the ground: girls can’t do fart jokes right, only boys can.

Second stake put in the ground: this is not necessarily a great thing for boys to be able to do.

Eventually the movie finds its timing and is a lot of fun once it does. I liked the cameos from the original cast, including Slimer, the Stay Puft marshmallow man and the late Harold Ramis. I also forgive the “I will save you, my friend” moment at the climax. That said, a real physicist would know that her arms would rip off if she tried to save someone the way she did.

As a knife guy I liked that one of the problems was solved with a  pocket knife.

I also liked that “Ghostbusters” was a nickname given by the press and that it was only adopted by Chris “Thor” Hemsworth’s Kevin because he could never remember the company’s actual name was “Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination.”

The main problem I have is a feeling that the movie’s miscast. Kristen Wiig should be the mayor (which is already funny: New York City with a female mayor! It’s too sophisticated and progressive for that!). Or she should have been Mayor Bill Murray’s assistant. Either way, her Hugh Grantian/Nathan Thurmian stumbling speech shtick would be funny as she attempted to explain the incidents away by first saying they didn’t actually happen. (What? Slime? What slime? I don’t s-s-s-see, do you see? Is that, slime? Who says that that’s, that that’s slime? Are you a scientist? I know that’s slime. What, what makes you think I don’t know that?)

Melissa McCarthy should have been the villain. She was brilliant in her brief moment of possession. I liked her more in that scene than I did Neil Casey, the actual villain, at any point in the movie.

Hemsworth should have been the tour guide at the haunted mansion at the beginning before becoming receptionist. Since both characters make the same kinds of stupid mistakes, they might as well be the same character. Also, since the job interview scene from the trailer where Kevin says he doesn’t believe in ghosts didn’t actually make it into the movie–a fact even my 11 year old noticed–Kevin could have been recruited because of his experience at the mansion and his shocking good looks.

Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon should have been the core of the ghostbusters as they are the only ones who seemed to understand what kind of movie they were in. They both played six feet off the ground (higher than most of the ghosts) and were the only ones I believed as ghostbusters.  McKinnon is believable as someone who tinkers with unlicensed nuclear lasers and then lets the person with the longest arms test them.

I do wonder if it might be more useful to develop proton packs that fire from the shoulder rather than from the hip as it might save some wear and tear on old theaters.

Jones’ Patty is the practical one who walks into a room filled with mannequins, says “Okay, room full of nightmares,” and then wisely backs the hell out.

I can recommend this version of Ghostbusters, and it’s worth seeing in a theater, but it’s not worth the $18 I spent here in Japan. See it when you can get a discount and you’ll get your money’s worth.

(Note: the popcorn at the theater was only average, which automatically hurts the movie for this writer.)

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