★★★ – “A fairly enjoyable popcorn flick.”
Ghostbusters is directed by Paul Feig and stars Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones & Chris Hemsworth.
Following a mysterious ghost invasion in Manhattan, a pair of paranormal enthusiasts, a subway worker and a nuclear engineer band together to stop the otherworldly threat from causing chaos across the city.
After many years of waiting, the Ghostbusters franchise returns with a new set of heroes and a colourful special effects palette that provides exciting visual eye-candy along with an almost perfectly and tightly wrapped script. Cast members McCarthy, McKinnon and Wiig bounce off each other wonderfully and deliver some amusing remarks to certain scenarios throughout, especially with Hemsworth’s witty and utterly useless persona, which is hilarious. Unfortunately, the writing for Jones’ character wasn’t so satisfying. A lot of the lines fell flat and ultimately sank underneath the energetic performances by the aforementioned.
Now, although I haven’t always been a fan of Feig’s work, I admire him for taking on such a huge project. I believe he has done an admittedly average job with the direction and writing, but most of the critical reception and fan backlash, while overwhelmingly ludicrous, is an unfair representation of what is shown in this movie. Coming to the realisation that comedy and target audiences alike can change over the years, is something that will give you a fair advantage over the other viewers heading into this world. I genuinely believe, like any movie, that everyone should watch for themselves before shooting angry comments at the filmmakers or the people that enjoy the work. This is one of the reasons I bought a ticket to see this movie.
The other reason was the special effects. After watching the trailers, I noticed how vibrant and diverse the visual effects were. This is one of the stronger points that really hold the experience up, it’s consistently colourful and fun to watch. I’d like to see it in 3D and judge how this contrasts over the two formats, maybe making a difference to the overall enjoyment of the movie.
While these comments make it seem like I’m hugely impressed, or that it’s a high-flyer, there were certainly a few sections that were disappointing. Firstly, the villain wasn’t very good. He felt forced and extremely obvious from the beginning to end. I’m not sure whether this is due to the writing of the character, or the actor Neil Casey, but I didn’t like it. Secondly, the ‘finale’ section during the last 20 or 30 minutes of the feature felt loose and lacked in the comedy from the previous hour and 20 minutes. It seemed very lazy and didn’t make any sense, feeling anti-climatic, which is not the reaction you should get from a finale. If this was improved upon, it has the potential to be a brilliant end to this story. Finally, and most surprisingly, the cameos were poor in contrast to everything great about this movie.
Music by Theodore Shapiro is sparse and compositionally simple with mostly predictable directions in string movements, along with the horror/mystery flick genre that was expected. There aren’t many cues or themes that jump out at you, and whilst that’s usually not a bad thing, I felt it lacked from the overall experience. There is, however, a lot of songs by various artists that are thrown in throughout. None of these were pleasing to my ears and I felt could they have been removed without any deterioration to the quality of the movie.
The production, special effects & set design teams along with the art department have done a wonderful job with their time. Most notably, the new Ecto-1 is amazing to look at. Every angle or scene this vehicle features in is a blast to watch. I imagine fans will be looking to buy replicas or even construct full-size functional versions to bring to events in the future.
By this point you’re probably still debating whether you should bother buying a ticket to see this movie. Maybe you’re still not convinced. Or you don’t want to upset the butt-hurt any more than they already are. To that, I’d tell you to just go for it. Do it in secret if you must. I simply think everyone should form their own opinion before calling people out.
In retrospect, it’s a fairly enjoyable flick that put a smile on my face and took me out of the real world for a couple hours. There are a few scenes I thought were out of place and fell flat in the comedy aspect, but I really didn’t have a terrible time watching it. Maybe all this backlash served as an expectation that could be easily beaten? Who knows, but I liked it. A personal highlight for me was McKinnon’s performance as Jillian Holtzmann, which was great. I’d not seen her in much before this so it was a nice introduction to her work. I thought she came across genuine and seemed excited and pleased to be a part of the franchise. All of her action sequences (especially in the finale) were handled well and came out to be some of the best parts of the experience.
My verdict; Ghostbusters is a fun, energetic and visually awesome take on the franchise and I’d happily sit through it again. A sequel, though seemingly doubtful, wouldn’t be so bad in my books. Don’t take it too seriously.
Ghostbusters – ★★★ (6/10)