By Jamie Hutton
On paper, a remake of Ghostbusters looks like it can only be terrible.
A film loved by many and that was pretty much perfect first time round, is exactly the kind of film that fans don’t want the Hollywood fat cats spinning into a money making machine to line their own pockets, giving no consideration to the quality of the film or its impact on the original’s legacy. Add to this the involvement of Paul Feig and the casting of four women in the principal roles, and you have a perfect recipe for angry ‘Meninists’ on message boards, record breaking disliked videos on YouTube and a whole bunch of people throwing their toys out of the pram over a film no one has even seen yet.
So, I went into Ghostbusters with some trepidation but also excitement. I wanted it to be great. I wanted it to be terrible. I wanted it to be SOMETHING. The absolute last thing I wanted it to be was just ‘okay’.
Unfortunately okay is pretty much what you get.
For the first ten minutes at least I didn’t laugh once and started to get this sinking feeling that what I was watching was terrible. It looked like we were in for an hour and a half of easy slapstick humour with none of the wit that made the original likeable. But thankfully, the film wastes no time in assembling the Ghostbusters team and once the lead characters get together the film really picks up. The casting was obviously the biggest (and most pointless) controversy surrounding the film, but it is in practice probably the best thing about the movie. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy prove again that they are two of the best comedy film actors in the game. However, it is Kate McKinnon that steals the show and is a real breakthrough in her role as mad scientist loose cannon type. Leslie Jones seems to be taking the most criticism for her performance, but I personally thought she did well in a role that, unfortunately, too often falls into being an easy stereotype.
And it’s these times that the film takes the easy gag, or relies on obvious slapstick and punch lines you see a mile coming that it stops itself from being a really great film. The great funny moments, coming from both the chemistry of the four leads and also often from Chris Hemsworth as the nice-but-dim receptionist, are left stale by what can often be long gaps between big laughs. The final battle across New York is visually entertaining, but unfortunately not enough to really make the film feel worthwhile.
But, I suppose ultimately, it doesn’t have to be worthwhile. Remakes are never going to be easy and it’s unfair to judge the film as anything other than what it clearly so desperately wants to be: an entertaining night out at the movies – and at that it thoroughly concedes. All those worrying that this film is somehow and smear upon their childhood’s need not worry.
Maybe this film will do for a new generation what the original did to you so many years ago.