Ghostbusters. Also known commonly on the internet as “The Female Ghostbusters Reboot” has seen its fair share of criticism, hatred, and controversy. The controversy surrounding this project has become even bigger than the film itself with a lot of it being rational and a lot of it also being irrational. With this in mind I decided to go into this film with an open mind and put aside these things so that I can look at this film as fairly as possible. So how does it stack up? Is it as bad as everyone expected it to be? The simple answer is absolutely.
The Paul Feig directed reboot of the 1984 classic comedy stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon playing the new team of Ghostbusters. Feig’s previous films have received some critical love and appreciation including 2011’s Bridesmaids and 2015’s Spy. Feig has proven that he has talent for comedy and each of the actresses have shown that they are talented in their own projects, but their talent is wasted on this failed project.
The story follows Erin Glibert (Kristen Wiig) who unwittingly finds herself coming back into contact with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) after years of being apart after Abby publishes a book that they co-wrote years before. Through a series of events and their first experience in seeing and dealing with a ghost they end up coming together as a team with the help of tech expert, Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon). As they are establishing their division they hire bumbling idiot, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) to be their secretary and soon after Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) joins the team after her own experience with a ghost. They soon discover a sinister plot to bring about a ghostly threat to the city of New York and it is their job to stop it.
It mirrors the original film by copying several major plot points while simultaneously adding absolutely nothing. The new characters are played by comedic actresses who have talent but are wasted on poorly written chemistry that doesn’t work. They don’t feel like a team. They act more like a bunch of buddies hamming it up together. The villain, Rowan (Neil Casey) is also an extremely one dimensional character that has nothing memorable about him. His motivation for taking on the Ghostbusters is that he was treated unfairly in life and wants revenge on everyone. This character is terrible. He has no memorable qualities and is just a plot device of a character where his entire motivations can be boiled down to a scene of him monologuing to himself in a mirror.
The worst part of this film is the awful and horribly written comedic dialogue. The jokes are lame and break any tension the film is going for with incredibly basic moments that neither lend to making the characters likable nor work as standalone aspects. I don’t blame the actors for the delivery but the film is so poorly directed that when they try to make the jokes it never connects. One of the things that bothered me was that they would use the classic Ghostbusters techno speak to explain all the technology and the ghostly entities, but when they deliver all of this jargon it doesn’t work and it seems unconvincing coming from these characters. They seem to be speeding through the overly convoluted dialogue and it falls flat of trying to capture what the original film did so well.
As a fan of the original film I do appreciate that they tried to pay homage to the first film in a lot of ways, but unfortunately because of how poorly written this film is every reference feels extremely cheap and fails. I do appreciate that the original theme is used and if you’re a Ghostbusters fan you will notice many other things, but it never filled me with joy. It was just more disappointment because of how forced this entire project feels.
The Special Effects are not convincing whatsoever. The final battle sequences you can see in the trailer make the characters feel completely separated from what the CG is doing. I am a proponent of practical effects, but I do appreciate the need for CG as a useful tool. This film throws every digital creation at you and it all feels unpolished. This final sequence in the film shows off how uneven the CG is and undercuts what should be an exciting climax.
I’ve been a fan of the Ghostbusters franchise for almost my entire life and I was hoping that the film would at least be a decent entry into the franchise, but instead they really did the franchise an injustice. If they plan to continue this as a new franchise I hope they find a way to improve greatly. This film will disappoint not only Ghostbusters fans, but people who want a comedy film because it fails on both ends.
I’m disappointed beyond the capacity for rational thought.