Movie Review – Ghostbusters (2016)

Movie Review – Ghostbusters (2016)


Maria Sockel

Sometimes, you need to give a movie a bit of space. Time to breathe and be appreciated. When Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture first aired, it was a near-universally panned. Yet today, I can watch it with a certain fondness.

The same is true for the original Blade Runner. It bombed at the box office but now has a cult following. I will even critically defend the likes of Man Of Steel.

The point is this; there are some films that are cool to hate and once that bandwagon starts rolling it cannot be stopped. Sometimes a critic needs to take a year, step back, let it all die down and then watch a movie objectively.

Which brings us to Ghostbusters. I watched the original when it came out, and as a kid, I was totally awestruck by Slavitza Jovan as Gozer because as a 10yr old girl, I had never seen that sort androgynous feminity before and she was the coolest thing I could have imagined.

However, when I rewatched Ghostbusters as an adult… the whole thing felt icky. I appreciate it was a product of its time, but the blatant sexism and manipulation-as-normal-sex really shocked me on a profound level that this was ever an acceptable cultural view.

When the rebooted Ghostbusters was announced, I shrugged. Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy is well known, it seemed like an easy cash win, and the idea of an all-female lead I thought might be a fun inversion of the chauvinistic traits of the original.

The plot is as you would imagine; fringe scientists prove ghosts exist, who then overrun New York City, and who are you gonna call?

But the predictable plot isn’t why we’re watching this movie. There are three reasons; to recapture the nostalgia of our youth; hope against hope that perhaps Hollywood has come up with some originality or some new twist, or it is really the dumpster fire everyone says it was and there is a certain glee in watching monolithic industry sabotage itself.

Heads up; this movie neither captures the nostalgia of the first, adds anything to the lore or mythos, and is quite possibly one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

Visually, this film is ok. I know some people have problems with CGI of the ghosts, but honestly, it’s acceptable. So too the acting… I mean it’s not Casablanca, but it’s not Megan Fox in Transformers either.

So what’s the problem? Let’s get to it – it’s the script. In fact, this script is so bad that it is only beaten by Prometheus, Suicide Squad… and I nearly got into a fistfight with a fellow critic as to whether or not is it worse than Green Hornet (I say it is, he says it isn’t, but it’s a close thing).

The villain of the piece is basically Norman Bates with a ghost generator and is evil because he is evil with no explanation.

The four-and-half central characters of the first film are reduced to two, with the Chris Hemsworth (the secretary similar to Janine), Leslie Jones (akin to Ernie Hudson), and Kate McKinnon (kinda like Egon), being so thoroughly marginalised and reduced that this is effectively 115 minute cat-fight-and-make up between Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

And yet this slenderest of premises’ is demeaned even further by wholly unnecessary fanny fart “jokes”, and absolutely no sense of female empowerment or strong leadership. The dialogue is so woeful that on meeting Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Wiig says:

“Hi, I’m Erin… with an E… for Everything you want.”

That’s a genuine line delivered with all the coyness and hair-flicking that began most 1980’s hardcore pornos.

There is simply nothing to recommend this movie. Where it doesn’t fall flat, it crashes and burns, and where it avoids that pitfall it is just a trainwreck that is excruciating to watch.

Bluntly, I cannot imagine a sane person thinking this was a good script as it lacks a single redeeming feature.

Avoid like Ebola

Final verdict: 1/6