Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters (2016), directed by Paul Feig, written by Katie Dippold and Paul Feig, starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones 

If you remember as far as the mystical year of 2016, the release year of the reboot of an old franchise, you might remember the terrible ruckus surrounding it: accusations of internet misogyny and racism were flung all around and some people who voiced their opinion against the movie were adamant that the SJW crazed public was trying to silence them by trying to make them something they didn't think they were. In the end, the whole ruckus was fueled by Sony and their marketing division thinking, that there's no such thing as bad publicity. As it turned out, it was a terrible way to market a movie, as if there was any goodwill towards Feig's movie among the fans of the original this surely killed the enthusiasm for many and other people hardly cared, as the movie ended up making only 230 million worldwide, which is, considering all the hubbub, not that great end tally, especially any possible sequel in mind.

But now, in the distant year of 2018, was the movie really worth the hundreds of articles and videos made against or for it? The short answer is no, not really. It definitely isn't a terrible movie, but even at best its just utterly mediocre in what comes to the characters, the story and the comedy. So in that, it's really just another Ghostbuster 2: upping the special effects, but not really finding the same spark the original had.

Erin Gilbert (Wiig) is a physicist trying to score a tenure when she finds out that her past has come back to haunt her: a book about paranormal studies she wrote with her then friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) has resurfaced. So, as a book like that would look bad for a serious scientist looking to be taken seriously, she's forced to go and see her old friend, who is still toiling with the paranormal with a brilliant loose cannon engineer Holtzmann (McKinnon). 

Meeting her old friend again, Erin tries to convince her to remove the book from the circulation. Abby agrees to consider it if she takes them to the haunted house of which owner contacted Erin in the first place. And there they finally find out that the ghosts really do exist and that their old theories have been right all along. The women put up a company, hire a dimwitted eye candy assistant (Chris Hemsworth) and start cracking on perfecting their equipment.

A subway employee Patty Tolan (Jones) meets an apparition of an electrocuted prisoner on the tracks. She promptly contacts the newly formed Ghostbusters, which leads them on the tail of an individual, who is planning to open a portal between the world, thus bringing the havoc of the undead upon the Earth. This individual is one of least enigmatic movie villains of all time, Rowan (Neil Casey), who's just a weird loser that has been picked through his whole life. So if in life he can get no satisfaction, in death he expects to get it more than plenty.

In the grand finale, at the crossing of ley lines, Rowan fires up his magnificent machine, causing a vortex to open and freeing up the dead. Ghostbusters head in, Rowan chooses a form to himself in a shape of the Ghostbusters logo, breaks up some buildings like a proper movie monster, gets shot with some proton beans and sucked in the vortex when the team finally manages to close it up. And for the final icing, Erin has to dive in the vortex to save Abby, whom Rowan has grabbed with him.

There's really nothing in the movie that manages to stand out as far the story goes. While it's not a direct carbon copy of the first movie, it is pretty similar in structure, a birth story of the Ghostbusters: a scientist gets fired because of paranormal investigation, they put up a company, bust some ghosts, hire an extra hand who isn't a scientist and find the big bad who transforms into something else. They even are doubted by the public. And then there's the comedy aspect of it, that mainly falls flat. Each of the comedians has been funny after and before this one, but they just don't manage to make the clunky jokes work.  At times, the humour feels like a bad improv night, but more often than not, it's just something that doesn't really manage to go in one way or another. McKinnon is probably the worst offender in that it feels like she's constantly trying far too hard and because of that Holtzmann feels like a bad caricature of a reckless engineer. 

I do have to note, that out of all the actors, Leslie Jones manages to do the best with the material she has. It might be because she doesn't try to make everything a joke around her, but manages to create some of the few genuinely funny moments in the movie. Kristen Wiig does an okay job as well, but her character is a bit flat. McCarthy's comedy feels like it's a bit too overwhelming at times but other than that, she's mostly fine.

The most remarkable aspect of the new Ghostbusters is the special effects. They aren't groundbreaking, but as a whole, the ghost effects are well designed and vibrant in looks. It's really a shame, the rest of the movie just doesn't work that well. I'd place at least some of the blame of Feig, as it looks like he couldn't keep the balance of the movie in check. And if the final action scenes are to be judged, he doesn't handle action that well either.

I guess there was always the offshoot change, that after all the online turmoil about the movie, it could have ended up being one of the best movies ever made that was wrongly panned by the critics. That isn't really the case though, as all said and done, Ghostbusters 2016 is yet another fumbled reboot attempt of an old franchise a studio was hoping to revive into a modern franchise.

Talk about much ado about nothing.