REVIEW: Ghostbusters

I think this movie would have been better if they had edited out all the Ghostbusters stuff.

The best thing you can probably say about Ghostbusters is the casting. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones probably could have made a great Ghostbusters movie, if the script and editing and directing and soundtrack were all much better… Honestly this movie is just mostly mediocre overall.

A big problem with Ghostbusters is that it lacks its own idea; too many of the scenes feel like they’re there just because there was a similar scene in the original movie but this movie never does the work to make those scenes flow and work together in context. In fact the major problems of Ghostbusters are the standard problems of modern blockbuster remakes. Without a strong central vision it just feels like this project went to die on the editing room floor. There was clearly a wealth of material filmed, a lot cut [Including an entire dance number that we only get a glimpse of while the credits play.] and what we’re left with just feels disjointed. Each of the four main character has at least one scene where they act bizarrely out of character.

But the biggest problem is that it’s just not funny often enough.

Every nitpick I have is one I could overlook if this movie were just more consistently funny. There are some really funny parts here, but the best of them come early on. By the time the climax rolls around and we’re getting pretty lame action that also isn’t funny I was so checked out. That’s the thing, sure this movie is stupid, but that actually doesn’t matter if it were funny, and when it is funny I don’t think about that stuff. The problem is the long sequences of jokes that fall flat or (worse and more frequently) of not jokes: long sequences that resemble somewhere where a joke might be, but there is none to be found. [Like when Kate McKinnon dances around their office and then starts a fire she doesn’t seem bothered about]

Honestly I do think the problem with this movie is the Ghostbustersness of it all: The cartoony effects and bad action, the pointless terrible cameos, the skeletal scene structure that’s just ripped out of the first movie thoughtlessly, the multiple scenes that exist just to show off their gear, and the way too cute “big reveal twist thing” at the end. That and everything else that comes with being a big corporate blockbuster like the multiple blatant pieces of product placement and the big action climax that ends with ANNOTHER GODDAM GIANT VORTEX. Nothing symbolizes the giant hand of big corporate bearing down upon a blockbuster to prevent creativity more than a giant vortex at the end of the climax at this point.

I could go deeper into nitpicks and how this movie completely fails to to capture the magic that made the original work [A large part of which is just music and atmosphere], while at the same time neutering itself by living entirely in that movie’s shadow. But I also just don’t this that’s that important. This movie just doesn’t work because there aren’t enough good jokes, and if there were more of them on par with the good jokes that are here, none of that other stuff would matter and this movie would stand on its own.

This is a big corporate project that wastes the talent it assembled. Just another day in Hollywood.