Ghostbusters FILM REVIEW
Release: Out Now
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chris Hemsworth
The new Ghostbusters kinda needed to be great. Not to disprove the haters who’d slammed the movie in a laughably misogynist manner before they’d even seen the first trailer. Like their opinion matters. But this reboot needed a reason to exist above and beyond just the conceit of, “Let’s make them all women this time!” Because, frankly, “Let’s make them all women this time!” in this day and age shouldn’t even be an issue. The response should be, “Well, why not?”
To put it another way, if the film didn’t have four female leads but four male leads, but with largely the same plot, gags and dialogue, would it still have been worth rebooting? And if the answer is, “Probably not” then really what we’ve got here is a gimmick, and that’s a little sad.
And the answer is, sadly, “Probably not”.
Because this new Ghostbusters is just an okay movie. Funny, lively, decent enough fluff. There are plenty of good gags. There are a few misfiring gags. There’s some impressive action, but an incredibly thin plot. It’s entertaining and good-natured but it’s never particularly engaging in the way that a Pixar film can have you laughing one minute then biting your lip the next. Crucially, there are worryingly few “What about the bit where?” moments, either in terms of the jokes or this visuals. There’s lots to laugh at, but no sidesplitters that you’ll be re-enacting for mates later, or quotes you’ll want on a T-shirt. The special FX are very good, but they rarely have a wow factor.
It’s a shame because the main cast is very, very good indeed. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones make a great team and they could easily have coped with a more sophisticated script thrown at them. Something with a bit more depth that didn’t rely on them mugging and ranting quite so much. There are a few quieter moments where the chemistry really comes alive – their joint interview of the bubblehead beefcake Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) is one of the film’s highlights – but there could have, indeed should have, been a lot more. It’s rare to complain about a film being too short these days but Ghostbusters actually feels a little it could have done with 10 more minutes devoted to sketching out the characters.
Chris Hemsworth, though, has a whale of a time sending himself up. He delivers one of the film’s best sight gags (that’s a pun, by the way – it’ll make sense when you see the film).
It also relies a bit too heavily on meta-gags: a taxi driver saying, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts”; an few too many cameos (Bill Murray, Eddie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd as said taxi driver, Annie Potts); a graffiti artist creating the logo. They’re amusing, but after a while it goes beyond Easter eggs to a niggling feeling the film doesn’t have the confidence to stand on its own two feet.
Don’t get us wrong. This new Ghostbusters is certainly worth a watch. It just feels like it could have been better, sharper, less throwaway. Hopefully there’ll be a sequel because the central cast alone deserves one. But it’s help if the sequel can give them a script that feels less like reheated leftovers from the first two movies.