Ghostbusters (d. Paul Feig USA/Australia 2016)

Please read On Reviews for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish 

Performances: starfish starfish starfish 

Predictability:   starfish starfish starfish

Technical:        starfish starfish 

The original Ghostbusters (d. Ivan Reitman USA 1984) was an 80s hit comedy that launched the career of Bill Murray. It’s legacy and many moments would stay with audiences for a long time afterwards. It’s theme song also managed to stay in our heads and pop culture for many years thereafter – even entering “who ya gonna call?” into the American English Lexicon. In recent years we have seen so many adaptations/remakes with the likes of Alice Through the Looking Glass (d.James Bobin USA 2016), The Jungle Book (d. Jon Favreau USA/UK 2016) and Warcraft: The Beginning (d. Duncan Jones USA/Canada/China/Japan 2016); but none has surprised me more than to hear of Ghostbusters (d. Paul Feig USA 2016). In a recent controversy (but why?) the decision was made to make the central characters female. Now a consideration of gender and the film is a worthy consideration and it is important to think about. Treatment of Gender Equality is a tough issue and the idea of this as a feminist film in line with Gender Equality or not is a huge topic and should be worth noting, fortunately we have this article and this article. I would like to say that I recognise this is a huge issue and that in changing characters gender I have no problem with (in fact I’m interested in whether this decision is a true representation of Gender Equality at all) but it isn’t the purpose of this review. The Gender of characters may have an influence on your enjoyment on a film or it may not but shouldn’t have a bearing on whether the characters, or situations they come into, are effective or not for the film (possible exceptions may be prison or war films – though an all girl remake of Saving Private Ryan (d.Steven Spielberg USA 1998) or Platoon (d. Oliver Stone USA/UK 1986) could be very interesting!).

So, yes, the central characters are female. They embody archetypes that play off each other in somewhat effective ways but plays to different comedy styles. In this way, sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. Some moments are awkward and I feel come off forcefully crude at times. Now it’s hard to avoid feminism completely, sometimes there is a sort of crude humour that is centred on femininity in a similar way that you do get with masculine crude humour. Here, it sometimes feels forced, as if a point was being made by the joke. This leaves the humour to not always hit it’s mark, despite some very good performances from the cast as the characters work off each other well. It’s also admirable that there’s such a diversity of the humour and the visual quality of that humour too. The film works hard to these strengths. Though the idiotic supporting character sometimes over-shines the central cast in comedic moments, though not as a character.

In technical ability the film relies a lot on CGI and has some good moments. This is unfortunately a reliance, though this does play to a conceptual strength. The ghosts can be otherworldly whilst also being there. The film builds these effects to the climax building up both the designs of characters and the methods used by the characters. In keeping in line with the original this makes a lot of sense though there is a sense with which the filmmakers were trying to improve upon the previous film – was it in need of an update?

Through the characters and their re-imaginings and for some of the comedy, the film is worthwhile. Wont be the best but not the worst and with some shining moments to note. Culturally significant for some of the daring decisions it’s made and again worthwhile reading about some of the films handling of characters and humour in more depth.

Synopsis

To the surprise of Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), her friend has carried on some of the research she thought was a joke. Instead finding that through an accomplice the technology has been built and they’ve been able to discover Ghosts. However, more are appearing recently and it is up to them and an unlikely friend and witness to discover what’s happening.

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official site

Interview with the Cast

Interview with Kate McKinnon

Interview with Paul Feig

who ya gonna call?

Zuul

Marshmallow Man



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