Ghostbusters (2016) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

While watching the newest remake/reboot, this time of the classic 1984 comedy, “Ghostbusters,” I could not help but think that the lead stars of the first film (including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson), who all make cameo appearances, could have been put to better use. Each plays a different character that has no relation whatsoever to their original roles.

My concept would have been keep their original characters intact to tie the first movie together with the new Ghostbusters to keep things as coherent as possible, but, since I had nothing to do with the production, no one thought to ask my opinion.

As it is, though, the 2016 installment, directed by Paul Feig (of “Spy” and “Bridesmaids” fame) and written by Katie Dippold (“The Heat”), is not a terrible picture, which is the fate of most remakes — and being told from the distaff side — adds a little more of an interesting dynamic. As a comedy, however, Ghostbusters pales compared to the original which begs the question of whether we appreciated humor 32 years ago or that we just are not funny any more.

Not that all of the jokes fall flat. There are some pretty good zingers, it is just not the laugh-out-loud fest we were delivered when the first ghoul invasion of the Big Apple took place three decades before. In this version, the malevolent spirits are kept trapped in mirrors by a nerdy lunatic, Rowan North (Neil Casey, “Inside Amy Schumer” TV series), in a fancy hotel basement.

Finding this out, the newest Ghostbusters team — physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig, “The Martian” and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member), paranormal expert, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy, “The Boss”), technical idiot savant, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon, a voice in “Angry Birds” and “Finding Dory,” as well as the current Hillary Clinton impersonator on “Saturday Night Live”) and former NYC transit worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones, “Top Five,” and another “Saturday Night Live” cast member) — goes into action.

And since this is a total gender reversal of the first movie, the receptionist (replacing Potts) is a slumming Thor, the uberhunk Chris Hemsworth (coming off of the lukewarm “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” as well as another comedy role in another 1980s remake, “Vacation”). Much light is made of this character as first he is goofy, sexist and just plain stupid. Later, as the host body of North, he is hilariously arrogant and over-the-top ridiculous, ordering his ghostly army to attack the city one minute and the compelling the police and military to perform a disco dance routine the other.

Of course, since we’ve all seen the original, despite more and more ghostly manifestations, no city official, including Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia, “For Greater Glory”), will believe them, until hundreds of pissed off disembodied spirits are released from their hellish prison. This final conflict causes the ladies to go into full throttle CGI mode, wiping out the baddies left and right. This, once again, makes one wonder how something dead can be killed again, but I won’t go into that, just like I didn’t 32 years ago.

During this climactic confrontation, throwaway jokes are tossed about as are ear-splitting explosions — which cover the sounds of silence from the audience after many of those said puns miss their mark. Ultimately, however, it’s a spirit from the original film that helps to save the day for the girls and the viewers.

I will write, though, that the closing credits were actually a joy to sit through (now one cannot say THAT very often). A rehash of the movie’s stunning visual artwork with added scenes that showed real talent and imagination were shown as thumping songs played in the background. Whether these production values and the draw of mostly McCarthy and Wiig are enough to proclaim success is anyone’s guess, but after all of it, a small scene predicts a possible sequel, for what it’s worth.

All in all, Ghostbusters is not a terrible time at the cinema. It’s not as good as the first, but certainly better than most reboots.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)' have 16 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 12:24 pm Velo

    Safe review, avoiding the woman’s agenda push elephant in the room.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 12:48 pm DaftPunkyBrewster

    I’m going to see it today; I’m cautiously optimistic.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 1:13 pm LOAD

    So … it’s actually funny?

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 19, 2016 @ 5:04 pm pixel_ace

      It has its moments though none of them were what I would call laugh out loud worthy.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 2:23 pm SamMac

    The good thing about low expectations is it is easy yo surpass and this is what this Ghostbusters remake did handily. Good connection amongst the stars and very funny moments to laugh out loud at. I will welcome the sequel.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 2:51 pm TobyPitts

    Hemsworth steals the show with his great dance moves.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 20, 2016 @ 5:11 am travis

      He was to empty-headed for my liking. The role-reversals were put to the extreme: The man is a dumb blonde secretary, the girls are smart, intuitive and act like men. There was no reason to push it so far unless there really was an agenda behind it all…

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 3:15 pm Stepen

    It is so much better than the trailers let on. Kate McKinnon is hilarious. So is Chris Hemsworth. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are good. Leslie Jones is so-so but not as bad as she is on SNL.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 3:42 pm Rold Gold

    Absolutely 100% average.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 3:58 pm that guy who stares

    The 4 ladies are not on the level of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson but they’re a reasonable replacement. I would have liked to see these guys play their original Ghostbusters characters instead of taking the cameos they got. It would have been a nice nod to the fans and would have gotten much more fanfare.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 5:40 pm V8splash

    The movie’ll do good for one weekend because of the controversy of an all woman cast and’ll be gone the next because it sucks and no one cares.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 7:11 pm Benjamin

    Felt like the movie was holding back. Needed the “R” rating like Feig’s other all girl movie Bridesmaids.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 19, 2016 @ 9:34 pm ade

    good girl power

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 20, 2016 @ 1:25 am BobbleHead

    The 84 film is one of my all timer comedies so I’m refusing to watch this good reviews or not. It’s the principle of it, they made it for all the wrong reasons.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 12, 2016 @ 10:10 pm Helene Juliska

    This movie could have been sooooo much better – all the ingredients were there. Who throws so much time and money at something that tries to change essential elements of a successful combination that was the first one? Silly, silly producers…(sigh)

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