Review: Being lambasted with slimy, cynical criticism even ways before its official release might be a notorious achievement Ghostbusters reboot must atone. It all centers in Paul Feig’s decision to cast an all-female team as the new ghostbusters. Flood of sexist mockeries and Youtube dislikes crowned it as the most hated pre-screened film.
Yet, rest assured, those cynical quips do not rightfully judge the ‘actual film’ at last; at least, majority of it isn’t right. Ghostbusters still manages to be a fun, exciting and hilarious film, although it doesn’t reflect Feig’s best performance.
Ironically, those all-female ghostbusters – Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones – are the best ammo Ghostbusters has, aside from Paul Feig’s expertise in crafting PG-13 humors (which almost always tip R-rating) under this most famous ghost hunter’s scheme.
Considering Ghostbusters (1984) reputation and Paul Feig – as one of the most prominent comedy director in this recent decade, this Ghostbusters reboot is actually a safe-bet right from the start. Feig’s notorious twist by reducing testosterone amount of this film to fuel up the girl power element should bring no trouble.
In fact, it’s not the Ghostbuster penned by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd; although it bears the same property and spirits (plus some striking references and high-profile cameo). One sure fact is, it’s never a ghost story; it’s a sci-fi with tons of slime and deadpan comedy; that’s the fact Feig holds dear for his version.
Epicenter of Ghostbusters is a simple macguffin in form of a book entitled ‘Ghost from Our Past: Literally and Figuratively’ written by old-buddies, Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy). Erin opts to forget the ‘bullshit’ she has written in order to focus on her newly academic career; for her, that paraphysics book is a disgrace to her resume. Meanwhile, Abby takes it differently; that book is a source of living and her metaphysics experiment with an eccentric particle physics engineer, Joanna Holtzman (McKinnon). When the book goes online, an unlikely reunion of those friends-turned-foes is inevitable.
Triggered by a series of supernatural occurrences in New York, those two buddies plus Holtzman unite to create the foundation of what is later called Ghostbusters. After recruiting an ex-MTA officer, Patty Tolan (Jones), and team secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth); this new Ghostbusters starts to wage war against colorful ghosts wandering around town.
Those vibrant-colored and luminous ghosts seems like it is directly imported from Nicolas Winding Refn’s films. While the CGI is too excessive, it purposively colorizes the whole film with a new palette rather than being too bleak. The climactic use of it is the final battle, where McKinnon steals the show kicking some ectoplasm asses, which might be the best scene in this film.
Feig has outdone himself as a prominent director to combine comedy with specific tropes of other genre film, e.g., buddy cops in The Heat and espionage in Spy. In Ghostbusters, Feig specifically integrate paraphysics sci-fi trope into a full-throttle comedy. However, channeling much energy to fuel the CGI as well as to put as many hilarious moments as possible is sometimes problematic, causing backfire due to inconsistent pace.
Should Feig focus on what makes his Ghostbusters alive more, the result might get a little upgrade. The four female protagonists make the film less-dead and less-ghastly; as they respectively get proper spotlight, although it appears Wiig and McCarthy is at the limit. Leslie Jones gets a frontal tongue-in-cheek moment when her character meta-counters racial comments with a bitter irony. However, the real show-stealer is McKinnon. Saturday Night Live viewers might get used to her being escalating small moments into big laugh; Ghostbusters gives McKinnon a way to convert ‘her time’ into silverscreen presence.
Feig’s concept to reintroduce the ‘core’ of Ghostbusters could apparently live up some expectation, moreover with convincing science reference and effective comedy. However, his own agenda to make this film a counter-criticism towards sexism is the most fascinating part. Proving that woman can also be funny without self-degrading is a great achievement to some extent; but reversing gender role is a true masterpiece (in terms of counter-sexism movement). Hemsworth’s Kevin is a clear-cut example of this; he poses as a good-looking secretary who frequently acts silly – reversing a role which is usually designed for a woman, specifically, blonde one. At some points it feels overrated, but at the same time, it feels very quintessential.
For whatsoever controversies linger upon it, Ghostbusters still manages to be funny and entertaining at most times, although it’s not as original and as effective as Paul Feig’s other films. Most important thing is, Feig’s expertise in crafting humors as well as impressive performances delivered by its superior female protagonists is the keys. At some parts, Feig’s personal agenda feels like weighing down the franchise; but it still allows Ghostbusters to become a confident successor, which does not embarrass its predecessors.
Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Directed by: Paul Feig Written by: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig Starred by: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth Runtime: 116 mins Rated PG-13