“Ghostbusters” was one of the best comedies to grace the silver screen in a span of over 25 years, and it inspired an entire generation to believe in spooks, specter’s, and apparitions. Dan Akyroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis were true genius in the films. And “Ghostbusters 3” was initially set back by Bill Murray not wishing to do a new “Ghostbusters” film. So Ivan Reitman and Dan Akyroyd were set out to change his mind by revising the script several times—including killing him off entirely. Although this didn’t work, it did lead to many amusing rumors—including Bill Murray mailing a shredded draft of the “Ghostbusters 3” script back to Dan Akyroyd contemptuously.
What did end up happening after Harold Ramis passed away, was Sony wanting a new movie, and Paul Feig answering the call in the form of Ghostbusters (2016). This brand-new movie features an all-female cast and reintroduces the Ghostbusters in a new light that wishes to make them shine like their male counterparts, but it doesn’t. Even worse yet, the movie isn’t off to a great start with critics or fans. Let’s dissect the film and look at what’s different, what’s the same, and why the “Ghostbusters 2016” movie may not be as spooktacular as some critics have claimed the movie to be.
***WARNING FOR SPOILERS!***
Repetitive jokes and uninspirational acting
To their credit, the cast can’t necessarily be blamed for the horrendous acting. Well, at least not entirely. Director Paul Feig, and Writer Katie Dippold rehashed, cut, copied and pasted a script together from an idea that was already done in 1984, and was very solid. The reused material for the comedy wasn’t a problem. It was the way that it was introduced in an attempt to re-inspire the classic “Ghostbusters” franchise. From a street artist creating their symbol, to The Exorcist inspired head turn, to Patty being a token African American character instead of part of the team, the dialogue is a soup sandwich.
Jones, McKinnon, Wiig, and McCarthy are anything but really bad actors, no doubt about it. However, for the level of comedy that was forced into “Ghostbusters” it’s plain to see just where and how many times Feig dropped the ball as a Director, and Co-writer. The soft underbelly of the film shows in the first 15 minutes, and it’s not pretty. The opening scenes of a film help to set the plot of the movie, and drive its point home for the audience. By making us understand just what stirs the pot. We can get a taste of what were in store, for just as we saw in the original “Ghostbusters“.
Instead of a 1-2-minute scene to build the point, we’re given a curator being trapped in a basement (which are filling up with ectoplasm in the likes of quicksand). And afterwards, we’re transferred to the first major character Erin Gilbert(Kristen Wiig). Wiig’s character Erin Gilbert is trying to track down her childhood friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) to remove a paranormal book they wrote together decades prior, so she can get tenure secured at Columbia University. The book titled: “Ghosts from our past: Both literally and Figuratively,” a 460-page disgrace to the accomplished professor. Apparently, the book is a risk to Gilbert’s career goals and needs to be buried.
And during the course of conversation, we’re introduced to Kate McKinnon’s character Jillian Holtzman—who immediately makes a pass at Gilbert romantically, something Feig gave a silent nod to. The trio take off in pursuit of a lead on a possible paranormal situation nearby at Aldridge Mansion, to see if they can find evidence of an actual ghost. This is where the story is supposed to build. By going along on the expedition, Gilbert gains the assurance that the book would be pulled and destroyed permanently. Once inside the Mansion, the apparition haunting the monument vomits ectoplasm on the group and flees the confinements of the Mansion in pursuit of other haunts. From this single set up 20 minutes into the movie, the entire plot is born, and dies.
New inventions and villans, but less is more
Roughly 90% of the new things in “Ghostbusters” that came from the props department were very interesting. We saw a proton shotgun, proton pistols, gernades, protonic gauntlet, and even a ghost grinder. And the icing on the cake was seeing the stay marshmallow man, being thwarted by a simple Swiss army knife (which was gifted to Gilbert early on in the film by Holtzman for protection). Although I waited for the protonic lightsaber (which would have really made an impression), the lightbulb didn’t click on until you realize that Gilbert, and Yates help inspire the very inventions causing the apocalyptic demise of New York City themselves from their publication!
After finally meeting the protagonist (which is nothing more than a janitor at a hotel) they go head to head with him, and diffuse the situation by turning a switch to stop the mayhem. And after he takes over the body of the male receptionist whom they hired (which just happens to be the very same person who Gilbert sexually harasses a constant basis). We see something inside of the quartet, something which we hadn’t seen throughout the whole film: communication, and execution without flaw. They actually manage to work together and eventually save the city from the peril they caused. Amazing.
Cameo’s and marketing were tied into producing
As sad as it is to say there is always a method to any madness, and “Ghostbusters” isn’t any different. You may recall Dan Akyroyd promoting the film in a light that seemed distinct from his former cast mates right? Well, that wasn’t a coincidence at all. As Dan Akyroyd helped to produce the film as an Executive Producer for “Ghostbusters 2016”, and thus needs it to perform well to make his money back. As far as the cameo appearances go, we see Annie Pott’s as a receptionist at the hotel, Bill Murray is a researcher which is looking forward to disproving the Ghostbuster’s theories, and embodies Walter Peck in a form. Sigourney Weaver is Jillian Holtzman’s mentor, and Ernie Hudson? You guessed it, he’s Patty’s Uncle who supplied the Ecto-1 to the team.
While Dan Akyroyd plays a taxi driver, and rehashes the Class-5 floating specter, and “I ain’t afraid of no ghost” lines, we can see where the necessity for their presence was. Non-existent. It was a ploy to pull tickets generation, and that stunt didn’t work at all. Even sadder, Paul Feig is using an all-female cast to push the narrative towards young women, and feminists who believe in the Bechdel test (a test which this movie fails as well). On a positive note though, one of the funnier moments came when Slimer made his cameo, with a female Slimer in tow as he stole the Ecto-1.
Nevertheless, the hard bottom line is this though, if you’re looking for a summer comedy that will give you a belly full of laughs that are reminiscent of something you saw as a kid, or teen— Then, sure, “Ghostbusters” will do just that and more. However, if you’re looking to disprove feminist critics about women in roles playing male parts equally, and believe that this film is an original comedy. Then look elsewhere, because it’s not. The entire script was as very predictable, loosely cohesive, and painful. You could literally take a restroom break and not miss anything important to the plot.
As far as a sequel goes. The bonus scene after the credits suggests we’ll be seeing Zuul in the next film—pending there is one as Feig has yet to make sequels to movies staring most of his all-female cast members to date. However, these are just my thoughts, and ultimately if you decide to you’ll have to see the movie for yourself to decide what you believe is “Ghostbusters” or not.
+ New equipment
+ Different team
+ New ghosts
– Wasted jokes
– Long dialogues
– Terrible music and awful special effects
Robin Ek – Editor and Co-writer
The Gaming Ground
More by Kenay Peterson:
Save 3$ with our Play-Asia coupon code "thegg"