“Ghostbusters” Reboot Doesn’t Quite Live Up To Original

ghostbusters

Grade: B-

Verdict: A movie that focused on spectacle over plot, the new “Ghostbusters” reboot was visually pleasing but empty at the core. There was little character development, but the comedy was decent and the effects were good. In the end, the movie was enjoyable, but not a must-see (unless you’re a Hemsworth fan, and then you really should see it).

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I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but I might be a little afraid of the men’s rights activists (MRAs). MRAs  have been bashing the new “Ghostbusters” since before the first official trailer came out, writing the new movie off as a desperate attempt at pandering to a female audience.

Some reviews even call it “man-hating mediocrity,” based on the treatment of the male characters in the movie. Admittedly, they could have treated Bennie, the delivery guy, a little better. He was just trying to make a living serving up some soup and wontons.

Jokes aside, there was no man-hating in the new “Ghostbusters” movie. Chris Hemsworth’s character, Kevin, was a ditzy secretary who was more focused on his image than his work. He was even called “eye candy” in the movie. However, this isn’t any different from the way many women have been portrayed in movies for years and MRAs don’t call it woman-hating. “Ghostbusters” does not at any point actively hate the male characters for being male. Rather, the film sacrifices the autonomy and power of the male characters in order to build stronger female characters.

The movie did, of course, have its flaws. There was very little characterization overall. We saw some development in Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), as she left her job in the subway and faced her fears to fight ghosts. Most of the development was centered around Abby Yates, played by Melissa McCarthy, and Erin Gilbert, played by Kristen Wiig. The other characters were left flat.

The villain was also forgettable. Rowan North, brought to life by Neil Casey, was a boy who was bullied as a child and decided to step on the world as he felt he’d been stepped on. However, the bullying was only really mentioned in one scene and was never fleshed out. Sadly, this took away a lot of depth the character could have had. Instead, North comes across more like a creepy doomsday predictor than a supervillain.

Several critics also called “Ghostbusters” an “unfunny mess,” which is unfair. There were a lot of good jokes and some old slapstick type routines that were enough to crack a few smiles. Sure, there weren’t any jokes that left me in stitches, but it was fun. A lot of the humor was more middle school humor (at one point they kick a ghost in the family jewels as a gag). I think leaving in some younger humor makes the movie accessible to younger audiences, though, which was a smart move.

Still, despite the lack of strength in the script, the rest of the movie was great. The characters all did an amazing job. The color saturation in the movie was beautiful, too, especially in the final battle scene before the “Ghostbusters” crew took on Rowan for the last time.

There were also a lot of tributes to the original films for any die hard fans, including a cameo from Bill Murray. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man also made an appearance in the parade towards the end of the movie. The most touching tribute, though, was a bust of the original co-writer Harold Ramis, who died in 2014, placed at Columbia University.

 

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