Film Review – Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters Proton Packs

This remake/reboot of the much loved 1984 comedy classic has received more hate before its release than any other film in history. The reason for the hate? Well, remaking a well loved film seems unnecessary and the trailers did little to dispel that feeling. However, one of the main sources for hate was the fact that the film had gone for an entire female line up for the titular gang of heroes. This anti-female Ghostbusters stance has been verminous and hateful, so going into the film I had hoped that the critics could be proved wrong and that this would entertain and be a worthy successor to Ivan Reitman’s original. Unfortunately, it isn’t. The one thing that isn’t a problem is the fact that it is an all female team, the big problem being it just isn’t funny enough.

The 2016 film tells a similar story to the original, there is a huge rise in ghost attacks in New York, so a team of ghost hunters track down the cause. This time the cause is essentially a terrorist who uses ghosts rather than bombs. A white lonely male, akin to those who go on shooting sprees, is upset with the city he feels doesn’t care for him, so he brings chaos to the streets using machines that bring ghosts to the surface.

The tone of the film is similar to director Paul Feig’s other comedies; an in your face improve/gross-out hybrid that in the past has worked wonders with films like Bridesmaids and Spy showing that female led comedies can be just as funny as their male counterparts. For Ghostbusters this style doesn’t work. Much of the comedy of the original came from placing it in the real world with outlandish situations happening to a bunch of ordinary people. When the film hits the final third and the team are facing an end of the world situation it’s hard to become invested as the film has been, up to this point, a straight out comedy with little relation to the world in which we live in.

Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy lead the team, and while both are gifted comediennes there isn’t much character to like or warm to here. The other two members are played by SNL stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones who both play their characters in a loud and wacky manner that starts to do little more than annoy. Chris Hemsworth plays their dim secretary – the joke being that he is beautiful but stupid. The joke works for the first three scenes but when they fail to bring another joke to the table it wears thin.

The one thing you can say for this reboot is that it is really trying to entertain but as this is a lazy excuse to cash in on a beloved name and franchise trying is not enough. The film has some good jokes but on the whole most of them fall flat.

Not a patch on the original, this loud film has a lot of problems, but the premise of it being an all female team is not one of them. Not un-watchable but why watch it when the DVD of the brilliant 1984 film is lying on your shelf?

★★1/2 | Harry Davenport

Action, Comedy | USA, 2016 | 12A | Sony Pictures Releasing | 11th July 2016 (UK) | Dir.Paul Feig | Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon,Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth,

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