So after all the debates and controversy, ‘Ghostbusters’ finally received it’s UK release in cinemas this week. I was lucky enough to see it, and I would guess that the reason you are here is because you want to know if the movie is good and worth seeing. My answer to that is yes, but there are some caveats. I’ve given my thoughts to the previous trailers and the background surrounding people’s reactions to it, on a previous post here, so i’ll try to keep this review as brief as possible. If you want some more background to the points I raise here, you can find my previous post on the blog.
I decided to approach the movie with as open a mind as possible, and I’m glad I did as overall, I enjoyed the majority of what I what I saw and I think most people who approach it with the same mentality will do so too. The story is simple enough to follow and I felt that on the whole, it flowed very well. Recent movies I have seen have had enormous running times and at different points, have felt like they were dragging, but ‘Ghostbusters’ is bright and breezy with lots of entertaining moments through out. The script is generally fine, with some genuinely laugh out loud moments. One gag in particularly had me snorting fizzy sugar out of my nose from the cherry cola bottle sweets I had been eating at the time. Never eat fizzy cola bottle sweets when watching a comedy, you do not want to experience the searing pain that snorting fizzy sugar causes, trust me.
The casting that caused so much problems for some fans is actually one of the strongest points of the movie. Kristen Wiig is great as the bookish Erin Gilbert. Her comedic timing is always well placed and she makes the most of a funny and heart-warming character . The biggest compliment I can pay Melissa McCarthy is that she is solid in her role. As those of you who know me and have read the previous post on this will know, I’m not one of her biggest fans. ‘Bridesmaids’ aside, I find her films range from mildly entertaining to terrible, but her chemistry with Wiig balances out some of the more annoying tendencies within her acting. Leslie Jones is also pretty solid as Patty, a municipal historian with an encyclopedic knowledge of New York’s landmarks. The trailers don’t really do her character much as justice as her punchline delivery and charm and a lot more significant than you would imagine. Kate McKinnon might well be many people’s scene stealer and for me she was certainly the most entertaining character. Her turn as quirky engineer Jillian Holtzman certainly provides a lot of the films unexpected laughs but she also give a great deal of heart and humanity to the team. The most surprising performance came from Chris Hemsworth, who’s receptionist is the living embodiment of a bimbo stereotype. He really only has one joke for the movie, but it’s handled so well that you can over look the lack of character development.
The introduction of the new weapons and technology is very cool. There’s a lot of clever designs for new traps and equipment, with the new proton packs being a real highlight and the grenade type devices look spectacular .The visual effects work very well on screen, as the marriage between the practical and the CGI is almost completely seamless. The final showdown scenes in particular has some great effects work that really brings life to the ghosts and ghouls as the ‘Ghostbusters’ do battle to save New York.
Having said all of this, I did say earlier that there were some caveats to my overall opinion with of the movie, so I suppose I should start at the top. Director Paul Feig handles the comedic aspects well in general, but there are a few gags that just didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if I have become more cynical with old(er) age, but some of the physical comedy and slapstick stuff just felt unnecessary at times. I’m still not 100% happy with Patty and her representation in this film, and one scene in particular felt very grating where they went out of their way to point out that she is not a scientist, almost as if to devalue her importance to the team. The action scene are generally good, but I did find the final showdown scene a little disappointing. I get that this is not a movie about people who have perfected their craft but it just felt a little lacklustre at times. Only The villain of the piece looks creepy, but that’s about it. There’s no real attempt to explain how he managed to get of hold the technology that he has done or really what his endgame is bar New York’s destruction. The movie is at it’s best when it is building it’s own universe, so as such, the references and cameos to the previous movies fall very flat. Fan service is something I have no problem with in general, I love the idea of characters popping up in other stories when it suits the plot, but here they just feel forced and with no real point other than to appease those who are baying for this movie’s blood. There’s one cameo in particular that is so pointless, it left me scratching my head as to the purpose.
All in all, I had a fun time with ‘Ghostbusters’ and the good definitely outweighs the bad. I’m not sure how successful this movie will be thanks in part to the negative backlash to the marketing campaign for it, but don’t let that put you off. There’s a lot to like about this take on the classic and beloved franchise and if you’re willing to leave your baggage at the door, you’ll be rewarded with a fine movie that has a lot to give in spite of it’s flaws.
Final Score 3 out of 5.