Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Ghostbusters - Movie Review
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Chris Hemsworth, Charles Dance, Andy Garcia, Cecily Strong, Neil Casey, Zach Woods and Ed Begley Jr.
Written by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig.
Directed by Paul Feig.
There's one big obstacle this movie faces. It tries to pay homage to the original every few minutes with references and cameos and following the same basic formula, but it is not a sequel. It is a reboot that pretends the other movies didn't happen. The movie would have been better off if it had made a decision. Either be a sequel, which wouldn't have been difficult to do, keeping the whole cast intact and have Dan Aykroyd mentor them for a few minutes. Or be your own thing. But in addition to Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts popping up as different characters, we also get the return of Slimer and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Why?
Now I love the original Ghostbusters. Felt let down by the sequel. But I was ready to enjoy this movie on its own merits. So what are its merits?
Paul Feig reunites his Bridesmaids actresses Wiig and McCarthy, and I like seeing those two play off each other as different characters. I liked the broad energy of Leslie Jones.
(I have to have another quibble with the marketing team. They ruined a lot of punchlines in the trailers. Almost every scene, my mind would go back to one of the previews. "Ah, this is the scene that will end with Jones slapping McCarthy once more than necessary and yelling 'The power of pain compels you!'")
Chris Hemsworth steals the show as Kevin, the spectacularly dumb receptionist for the Ghostbusters. Probably my favorite non-Thor role of his.
I liked the concept of the villain, although I wish they'd cast someone more interesting in the part. Not exactly as memorable as Gozer. The budget is huge, so why not get Jonah Hill? Patton Oswalt? Instead they cast Neil Casey, who was a writer at Saturday Night Live when Kristen Wiig was still there.
Kate McKinnon's character is so out-there I never bought her in the fabric of this universe. Maybe she was trying something risky a la Johnny Depp in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Some people are finding it hilarious. I didn't think it worked.
The movie's fine. I think it might linger in pop culture just because it's four women kicking butt and zapping ghosts, and I don't diminish that. If anything it felt like the script and story decisions let the ladies down.