Few films in recent memory have been the subject of as much scrutiny as the Ghostbusters remake, facing an overwhelming amount of hate since the time it was announced. And just months ago, its trailer became the most widely disliked video of all-time on YouTube. Some people complained that the original was too sacred to be remade — for me it just sounded unnecessary, not that I flat-out opposed it — while others just opposed it from a misogynistic point-of-view, complaining against the all-female lead cast.
The story is basically the same as it was in the original, just with some minor changes. Three scientists create a ghost removal service after Manhattan starts getting invaded by ghosts. Only this time around the roles are switched to the opposite gender. So you have Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones taking over from Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroyd and Ernie Hudson.
Ghostbusters has been out for a number of months, I only just saw it, and as much as I would have liked to see all those internet trolls proved wrong, it gives me no pleasure to say that the Ghostbusters reboot/remake is little more than a lazy, uninspired and highly unfunny rehash of the far superior original.
Ghostbusters’ basic problems stem from the script level. For me, it seems Paul Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold just donot have enough faith in their characters, which is perhaps best highlighted by one of the film’s main sub-plots, which involves the Ghostbusters getting the city of New York to believe that ghosts do exist (despite the obvious signs) and that they are not a couple of crackpots. This is sub-plot on which this movie goes on to waste nearly 90 minutes on. So basically you have a film that lacks basic structure. The story-telling is too inconsistent and there are far too many contrivances. Take for example, the scene in which the team decides on their logo. It feels so forced and out-of-place, whereas in the original it was done in such a cool and simple way.
Now, generally while judging comedies I often tend to look past such flaws if the film is actually funny and makes for an enjoyable time, but unfortunately, Ghostbusters isn’t funny either. I can think of maybe two times during this movie when I chuckled. And again, the problems lead back to the screenplay because apart from there being little to no jokes, Feig and Dippold don’t really give their characters anything interesting to do nor do they provide them any room for comedy. Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones are all very talented and funny women, but excluding McKinnon, their characters are so bland which gives Wiig and McCarthy no choice but to play it straight. Something that does not help the film.
McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth on the other hand do have some nice moments, mainly because their characters are actually funny and the cameos from Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Signourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson are all very well done. But really that’s about it. Because if there’s any good-will the film accumulates, it flushes it down the toilet in the bloated CGI overdosed final act, which basically mimics the same weightless, ‘no real stakes’ destruction of every modern day blockbuster from The Avengers to Fant4stic.
The Ghostbusters remake isn’t terrible, nor is it the trainwreck most people were calling it to be. But at the end of the day it feels very mediocre and forgettable. And most importantly, it just fails to justify its existence.