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Review - 'Ghostbusters' (Rhys's take)

Review - 'Ghostbusters' (Rhys's take)

What went wrong? This film should have been so much fun, but it just ended up being the most "meh" film I've seen all year. It wasn't as bad as the trailers suggested and it also wasn't anything to write home about either. You'd think Sony would have been more careful with one of their biggest properties. This could have been this years 'Jurassic World'. I'm serious. The original 'Ghostbusters' is widely loved and made a box office killing back in the summer of '84; $229 million to be exact. That translates to $589 million in today's dollars. 

A quick synopsis: The film follows four women played by Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Each of them have their differences but all share a love for the paranormal. They ultimately unite to form the 'Ghostbusters' and protect the city from, well, ghosts.

I know it sounds like I'm about to trash this film for being "bad", but I'm not. I'm about to trash this film for not being "great", or even "good" for that matter. This movie had all of the pieces to the puzzle for it to be excellent: A great director in the form of Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), four very capable, comedic actors and the #$%@ing Ghostbusters premise to work within. What the hell happened? Why wasn't this one of the most fun things to hit theaters this summer? I have a feeling it was partially the studios fault, but I also feel like the director was less concerned about making a Ghostbusters movie and more concerned about getting all of the actors to mesh and crack jokes. Jokes are fine, but when they pertain in no way to the plot and don't progress the story in any way, they become a bit of a nuisance.

I also quickly began to notice just how poorly Paul Feig fits into the PG-13 mold. He is straining hard for laughs. If you've seen any of his previous films; his jokes are mostly in the gutter. That's not a criticism; he thrives on this type of humor and he's elicited some huge belly-laughs from yours truly, especially in 'Bridesmaids'. However, Paul Feig was knee-capped from the start here because we can't have (nor do we want) an R-rated 'Ghostbusters' flick. 

Let's move on to the characters, maybe the best aspect about this film. We're first introduced to Dr. Erin Gilbert, who plays kind-of a straight-woman character who is trying to distance herself from her ghost-busting days in order to receive tenure at a college she is employed at. Wiig does a good job with the part though she never really steals any scenes. Melissa McCarthy plays Dr. Abby Yates, a friend Gilbert had a falling-out with. She's still deep into the science of ghosts. I was surprised that Yates ended up being my favorite character; she was sweet and spunky. Yates' recruit, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann played by Kate McKinnon is a bit of an odd duck. She's loony, and sometimes it's too much, however she's also charming and is the only one in the group that will make you giggle. Lastly we have Leslie Jones who plays Patty Tolan, she's very likable, but just like Wiig; doesn't really have any scene-stealing moments. Chris Hemsworth is also in it as the receptionist. Yeah, he's funny, but I sometimes felt like he wasn't totally into it. Some of his lines sounded a bit stilted, like he was reading them. 

Just about every single character from the first two films make a cameo appearance here. Bill Murray's, unfortunately, is a train-wreck to watch. The others get by with only scrapes and bruises with Ernie Hudson getting the only cameo that actually struck a successful chord. Overall, I really like the cast. I do. I just feel like their talents could have been used better. They're certainly a likable group, their was just so much more they could have done to truly be memorable. 

The story itself is very pedestrian. The plot is rife with cliche after cliche and has a very typical New York-is-going-to-be-destroyed premise. There were literally no surprises to be had whatsoever. None. You will know how this film will play out the moment it starts. Also the villain really wasn't great and never once seemed threatening at all. 

I know it's a new day and age, but I was honestly heart-broken at the over-abundance of CG in this film. Most of it's not even good CG. The colors are nice, and some of the ghost designs looked like they would have been cool if a little more was done, but I was seriously underwhelmed by the technical side of this film. The finale has a ridiculous amount of colorful CG vomit spewed at the screen, so watch out for that. 

All of this sounds really negative, believe me, I know. I actually didn't hate this film though, it was just aggressively bland when it could and SHOULD have been so much more. This was a big missed opportunity, and though I didn't leave the theater thinking my money had been wasted, I didn't feel like I had seen a Ghostbusters film. 'Ghostbusters' is just a mildly entertaining comedy with ghosts in it. The cast plays well together but have trouble wringing out laughs when they are restrained by Ghostbuster's family friendly nature. 

Written by Rhys Paine on 7/27/2016

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