‘Ghostbusters’ is a mostly entertaining reboot, despite flimsy plot


Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig star in the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot. (MTSU Sidelines / Columbia Pictures)

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The film that sparked a thousand angry internet arguments has finally hit the silver screen. Everyone who’s anyone has fired up their proverbial proton packs, while anticipating the return of a beloved franchise and a legendary name: “Ghostbusters”.

Once helmed by such talents as Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, the new movie stars SNL regulars such as Kristin Wiig and Kate McKinnon, and features an all-female main cast. Many are asking whether these ladies will be the ones to finally lay this series to rest, peacefully or not.

While the new “Ghostbusters” is not a perfect film or even a fantastic one, its ability to cultivate engaging and truly likable characters is impressive. That is, to moderate surprise and delight, the main draw of the movie: The main cast members.

The original, of course, had the unbeatable chemistry of four comedic marvels at the top of their game. Between Murray’s impeccably dry wit and Harold Ramus’ oddball charisma, the first film soared thanks to the on-screen talent. The remake does not reach these almost insurmountable heights, but the chemistry between the leads is still engaging.

All of the actresses remain committed to exploring the unique personalities of these unlikely heroes. For most of the film, the conversations result in hilariously strange dialogue that works to the film’s advantage. Their interactions seem fluid and realistic against the backdrop of the colorful sci-fi horror madness.  There is one true standout performance in the film that gives the cast the added flavor and comedic gravitas that a “Ghostbusters” movie desperately needs with Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzman acting as a tremendously hilarious addition to the “Ghostbusters” cannon. McKinnon somehow accomplishes the feat of being laughably strange yet profoundly believable. This challenge is realized completely by the way that McKinnon delivers each deranged line. Through her fervent facial expressions and amusing movements, Kate McKinnon becomes one with Jillian Holtzman and it is impossible to look away.

The movie’s sense of humor, to be frank, is sporadically funny. Much of the jokes fly by faster than the CGI spectral anomalies that are seen on screen. This works for the film’s advantage and its subsequent disadvantage. For every hilariously crafted line that is spoken, another low-gutter, awkward line comes tumbling after. Despite these cringe-worthy lines, the sheer dedication that the actors provide to the physical comedy creates for an fun two hours. There are some refreshingly inventive ideas within the comedic timing and pacing of the movie.

An aspect of the movie that the remake actually does better than the original is the action. The scenes of these ladies busting ghosts are delightfully over-the-top and deliver some awe-worthy moments. The new and creative weapons that are presented are able to engage the audience in the excitement of each battle sequence. At certain times, the CGI does not blend well with the surrounding environment, and many of the finer details are lessened. However, the action sequences, with a mix of quick editing and bright colors, are able to make reliably entertaining use of the computer generated spooks.

Although the positive elements of the film are more than enough to bring this ghostly comedy to life, there are some glaring negatives that drag it down. The actual plot of this spiritual successor, pun intended, is a complete rehash of the original. Even certain pieces of dialogue and plot elements are taken from the 1984 classic. Thus, making the story of the 2016 “Ghostbusters” disappointing and unoriginal, feeling neither fresh nor inspired.

Another large disappointment in the movie is the villain. He is about as forgettable as any criminally insane movie villain can be. Attempting to remember one line of dialogue from this let down of an adversary is a near impossible feat. Actor Neil Casey seems to be giving the part his all, but the writing for the character provides nothing feasible to work with.

The third and largest of the important negatives is the title of the film. They named this reboot, a film that does almost nothing to continue the story of the 1984 film, “Ghostbusters”. This makes it impossible not to compare the movie to its ghastly predecessor. The new “Ghostbusters” simply cannot live up to the grandiose comedic chops of the original. As an audience member, you are practically forced to continuously compare it to the first film, making one wish for more.

To reboot a well-known film is a harrowing achievement. Many of these reboots are dead on arrival, due to their lack of fresh contributions to the franchise. The “Ghostbusters” remake comes very close to attaining the original spirit of the first film within its lead actors. Their chemistry is the ectoplasm that holds the entire movie together from beginning to end, despite the somewhat disappointing film that is built around them. For the most part, the “Ghostbusters” name stays intact within this zany spinoff of the original. There is only one thing a humble reviewer can say: “I ain’t afraid of no sequels!”

To contact Lifestyles Editor Olivia Ladd email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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