Monday, July 18, 2016

Look At Movies (First Run) - Ghostbusters (2016)

This movie did everything it could to lean on the popularity of the original from several gratuitous cameos to plot devices lifted directly from the script of the original film. But then it would do things like only hint at the popular theme song to try and, I don't know, put some distance between itself and the original. In the end, this movie proves to be a remake and not a reboot. I am not a praying man, but I found myself praying that there are no sequels to this uninspiring waste of time.

Ghostbusters is so bad that it did not debut on Friday, it willingly turned itself in. At first I thought maybe it was me, because this movie has a very high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Then I thought about it and decided that I would stand my ground in calling this movie uninspired, only occasionally funny, horribly written, and terribly directed. There is a scene where the "Ghostbusters" get pinned to the ground by a familiar character from the first movie, but we are somehow able to see them as though they were pinned to a plate of glass. It was just a strange scene, and it reeked of desperation.

"Why can't you just let a comedy be a comedy?" I get this question a lot, and I have given it a lot of thought. I grew up with comedies such as the original Ghostbusters, Young Frankenstein, and History of the World Part 1. I could watch Marx Brothers movies for hours, and have done so on more than one occasion. I love comedy. I love good comedy. The writers doing comedy these days wouldn't know good comedy if it came up and slapped them in the face with a whipped cream pie.

Good comedy has characters you care about either good or bad, story lines that cleverly intersect to create funny situations, and visual humor that is reliant on good timing. The new Ghostbusters had shallow characters, the same story lines that we had in the first Ghostbusters, and actors who have absolutely no comedic timing. Wait, I take that back. Chris Hemsworth showed me in this movie that he honestly should be doing more comedy. The guy is a natural with a comedic character.

As the character of Kevin, Chris Hemsworth gave me more than one laugh out loud scene and made this movie tolerable until the very end. With lines such as "an aquarium is a submarine for a fish" and "I can't answer the phone because it is in the fish tank," Hemsworth showed his comedic timing. He played his role exactly as it was supposed to be played, and his ability to pull off visual comedy was excellent.

As for the rest of the cast, I am sufficiently tired of Melissa McCarthy playing the same role over and over again. The only thing I will give the movie credit for is that it did not have any "it's funny because I'm fat" jokes for McCarthy. The movie opens with McCarthy's character pulling off an incredibly unfunny fart joke, and then having Kate McKinnon's character pump up the comedy to a whole new level by inferring that the fart may have been a "lady event" instead. That is the kind of comedy the four "Ghostbusters" deliver throughout the movie.

I want to have fun with comedies, but this one makes it almost impossible. The only funny jokes are delivered by Hemsworth, and much of what happens in the movie makes absolutely no sense. Did you guys know you could cut ghosts in half with streams of nuclear energy? And did you also know that those ghosts will die in the exact same way a human would if they were cut in half?

The original Ghostbusters took the time to establish its characters and the world those characters would live in. When things started happening, they seemed odd but never out of place. Nothing in this movie makes any sense. Why are we suddenly watching four people with nuclear reactors on their backs battle hundreds of ghosts? And how in the hell are these four people winning so handily?

There is enough decent humor in this movie to recommend that you see it at the drive-in to get the full effect of the ghosts on the big screen. But I would not go so far as to tell you to reserve your blu-ray copy today. I would recommend buying the blu-ray of the original movie. It is much, much funnier.

Rating: 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III loves Ghostbuster movies, but just not the new one. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at