Directed by: Paul Feig
Release Date: July 16th, 2016
Grade: 2 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker
For the love of all that is great and wonderful in the universe, if you are going to remake a beloved movie, please make it better than the original. Otherwise what’s the point? For example, another version of Ben-Hur is set to be released next month. The 1959 version starring Charleton Heston and directed by William Wyler, itself a remake, still stands among the best films ever and certainly head and shoulders over the crap the studios pump out today. Why, Hollywood? Why?
You can ask the same question for the new Ghostbusters film. While it does have its funny moments and some decent special effects, there’s no real reason for its existence other than to make Sony money. Hell, even Columbia Pictures made a whole new division called Ghost Corps as a way to broaden the appeal of the Ghostbusters brand. This franchise isn’t going to die anytime soon.
In terms of story, the new version uses the same template as the original. Marginalized academics (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon) recruit a secretary (Chris Hemsworth), an extra hand (Leslie Jones), and go into business catching ghosts in New York City. Their villain, played by Neil Casey, is a creepy loner who plants devices across the city to stimulate paranormal activity in hopes of bringing about the end of the world.
While the cast has proven to be funny elsewhere, the material they’ve been given doesn’t suit their talents well. Director Paul Feig, who co-wrote the script, takes Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis’ timeless story and molds it into a lazy Apatowian comedy. It goes for cheap laughs while rehashing tired caricatures. McKinnon is overly kinetic and quirky as Jillian Holtzmann, the Ghostbusters’ resident inventor. Hemsworth, coming off last year’s pointless Vacation remake, scrapes the bottom of the barrel for laughs as the unbelievably dumb beefcake. The film also relies too much on references to the original and other films, further impairing the film’s ability to stand on its own. Even the villain, usually one of the more interesting characters in a story, is forgettable.
From the cheers and laughs I heard from those dressed up in their Ghostbusters swag at the screening, the die-hards will thoroughly enjoy the remake, ignoring the inept fanboys who’ve been cursing this movie since it was announced. For those of us waiting for Hollywood to try out some new ideas, we’ll just have to pass on this one.