Friday, July 15, 2016

Ghostbusters Review

The most controversial film of the year is finally here! Don't worry. I'm not going to dance around any of that controversy. I'm planning on diving right into the middle of it all and hitting it head on. We've got misogyny, sexism, feminism, political correctness, and the necessity of sequels/reboots all gift-wrapped into one giant lightning rod of controversy. Why would I avoid all of that? This is our freaking female-led reboot of one of the most well-loved comedies of all time! Ghostbusters! Like most people on planet earth, the original 1984 Ghostbusters movie is a movie that is very close to my heart. I've always loved the movie and loved the characters. It's a ton of fun! Notice, though, that I specify that specific movie. They made a pretty bad sequel five years later as well as some other stuff that wasn't that great. I have no attachment to that. Just the original movie. I cringed when I heard they were planning on rebooting Ghostbusters. Fast forward to the trailer release and I was horrified at what I witnessed. It looked awful! I was ready to pummel this movie to oblivion because everything about it looked horrible. Yet I am shocked that I am now announcing that I enjoyed this movie. Yes. You heard that right. This movie is not that bad.

To say that this is the most controversial film of the year might be putting things nicely. When the first trailer came out, people were so horrified with what they saw that this quickly became the most hated trailer in YouTube history. Ever since that trailer, there has been a ginormous internet mob filled with an unprecedented level of anger and hatred towards this movie that has not been kind to anyone. Shortly after the trailer release, Dan Murrell from the YouTube channel Screen Junkies did a video where he suggested that maybe we should give this a chance. There's been many times where a good movie was preceded with a bad trailer. Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy have had a pretty good track record, so maybe there's a chance that this could still be a good movie. Yeah, Dan got viciously destroyed by this angry mob for saying that to the point where that video became the most disliked YouTube video in Screen Junkies history. And if you follow Screen Junkies you'll know that they have a pretty rabid fan base that will often tear apart their videos. It's a little ridiculous. But that's been the story everywhere with this movie. It should be no surprise that the movie held a 4.1 on IMDb with 15,000 votes on the Thursday afternoon before the movie's release to the general public.

What did all this do to me? Honestly this made me gravitate towards the movie a bit. I hated the trailer, too. But I mean for crying out loud a trailer is a trailer. I've been preaching for several years that you shouldn't base a movie on its trailer. Every year I see countless examples of great trailers that led to bad movies and awful trailers that led to good movies. After seeing all this footage and witnessing the angry reaction, I actually came to the conclusion that I didn't think this would be a bad movie. I didn't expect to enjoy it, but I also didn't think that this would come close to making my worst movies of the year list at the end of the year. And that was before all critic reviews started to come out. Basically I concluded that I didn't think that this movie was going to deserve all this negative publicity. That said, I fully expected the critics to destroy the movie. I was rather shocked to find out that a lot of the early reviews were positive. But maybe it will drop? Nope. The movie is now officially certified fresh. But then a thought crossed my mind. How many critics out there gave a positive review because they were afraid of being called sexist if they gave a negative review? I doubted there were many, but I did see early comments from some people that said they felt obligated to be excited for the movie because they were feminists. A lady one of the Schmoes' live shows said that. And she's not the only one.

So let's dive into that real quick. And I promise I will get into my actual movie review, but this is a topic that can't be ignored. The world in general right now is very sensitive and striving for political correctness is at an all-time high. This has very much seeped into Hollywood. There have been plenty of iconic characters that have had their race, gender, or sexual identity changed in order to satisfy political correctness. Yes, this trend bothers me. Not because I'm racist, sexist, or homophobic, though. I have zero problem with adding more strong female characters, more people of color, or more LGBT characters into popular or new franchises. But why do we have to change already established and loved characters in order to satisfy this demand? Can't we create new characters to fill this need? If it's a comic book movie, there are plenty of female, color, and LGBT characters in the comics. Why not introduce one of them instead of demanding that Captain America be gay or turning Iron Man and Thor into females? And why are we deciding to make female reboots of every popular franchise that had a male-dominant cast? No, I'm not a misogynist. I happen to love females and female-led movies. But the politically correct purpose behind all of this does make me roll my eyes.

That said, was the fact that our Ghostbusters were female the reason why I was dreading this movie? Absolutely freaking not! There have been a lot of people, feminists especially, that have assumed all the anger and hatred towards this movie has been because of the female cast alone. This position makes me almost as furious as the people hating the movie without even seeing it. I say this because that is an extremely ignorant stance that has absolutely no back towards it. Is the sexism and misogyny there? Sure. But it's a lot smaller than some people have made it out to be. For me personally that was a total non-issue. And I think if you go read the reactions to this movie, you'll find that a lot of people were with me on that. Sure the specific cast members had me nervous, but not because of their gender. There's two main reasons why I was not excited for this. The first was the idea of rebooting Ghostbusters in the first place. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of reboots. If the original was just fine, why make the movie again? Hollywood needs more original ideas and less reboots. The second big reason that I was nervous about this movie is because it did not look funny and it did not look entertaining. Thus I felt like this was going to be another useless remake.

I was wrong, though. This movie was a huge surprise for me. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year. A perfect movie? Heck no! This movie does have plenty of problems, but given the fact that this movie had a trailer that became the most hated trailer in YouTube history, this is definitely not deserving of all of that hate. Because of that, you'll probably find me leaning more positive with my comments because I want to try to convince you to give this movie a shot, especially if you were part of the group that was previously planning on skipping this altogether. Now if you were a part of the angry internet mob that has been preaching hellfire and brimstone towards this movie and you've already left your hundreds of angry YouTube comments as well as given it your 1/10 on IMDb without even seeing it, then perhaps you were bound and determined to hate the movie and nothing I say will help. But if you're like me and you like to go into every movie with an open mind and do your best to enjoy it, then I would recommend you go into this movie with that open mind and give it a shot. If you do so, I honestly think there is a chance that you will enjoy it as well. No, it's not as good as the original. But it's a serviceable Ghostbusters movie in my opinion.

Returning in this movie are most of the main original cast. As cameos playing new characters. This is not a passing of the torch movie and is certainly not a sequel. This is 100 percent a reboot. The events in the 1984 movie did not take place in this new Ghostbusters universe. And yes, our new Ghostbusters are all female. And yes, all the males in this movie are portrayed as big, dumb idiots. Why this movie felt the need to take its feminism theme that far is beyond me. Why can't we have strong female characters AND strong male characters? But whatever. As it turns out, the best part of this movie is definitely the cast. I'm not as big of a Melissa McCarthy fan as some others are. Admittedly there are several of her movies recently that I have skipped because I don't like raunchy comedies and that's a lot of what she does. But still. From what I have seen, I'm not a huge fan. And Saturday Night Live for me is very hit and miss. And that's me being nice. So having our cast be Melissa McCarthy with two SNL girls and Kristen Wiig, a former SNL girl, did not excite me. But these girls surprised me. They have great chemistry as a group. Not only did they provide a lot of laughs, but it was fun to watch them fight ghosts and experiment with gadgets.

As I was watching this movie, I noticed that it was actually hard to connect them with their 1984 male counterparts. Leslie Jones is the only easy one to compare, but that's because she is the black member of the team. The other three are fairly unique characters when compared to the original Ghostbusters. This I appreciated because it showed they were trying to do something different instead of just being a carbon copy of the original. Melissa McCarthy was the leader of the team. Her and Kristen Wiig were the original friends who started this, but Kristen Wiig moved and tried to separate herself from the supernatural while Melissa McCarthy kept going with it in a very nerdy way. Kate McKinnon joined up in the meantime and became the main engineer of all the fancy gadgets. And Leslie Jones is the black, non-science girl that joins the team about a quarter of the way through the movie. I was especially impressed with Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Based on the trailers, I thought Leslie Jones was just going to be loud and annoying the whole time, but she was actually really funny. Kate McKinnon I've been noticing has people split. Some love her, some hate her. I'm a part of the former. I thought she was great! I also had a lot of fun with Chris Hemsworth's character because it was apparent that he had a lot of fun with his role.

The problems I had with this movie were not our team of Ghostbusters and it wasn't the humor. It was the plot. This felt like one of our average superhero origin stories. We spent a ton of time setting this team up and not enough time out hunting ghosts. In the original Ghostbusters, our ghost-hunting team was set up pretty quick and after their first fight with ghosts, they had everything down and the whole city loved them, thus allowing for most of the movie to be spent on these fun, silly adventures. I don't know the exact timing with this new movie, but man they dragged this out quite a bit. It was as if they thought that no one knew who the Ghostbusters were, so they needed to spend a whole movie meticulously setting up this universe and explaining every small detail. They ran into one ghost early on, defeated their first ghost towards the middle, and then didn't really do any ghost fighting until the finale. On top of that, the angle taken here was that the city was not on their side. They spent the whole movie trying to earn the respect of the city, which wasn't as fun for me. Finally, the villain here was a cliche, I hate the world and want to destroy it, type of villain. He decides to start the Ghostocalypse as I call it and thus we get another cliche villain destroying the world story. Yawn.

Overall, though, I was a lot more impressed than I thought I would be. Yes, the tone and feel of this movie was a bit different than the 1984 original, but I mostly appreciated that because they tried to do something new and different instead of making a carbon copy of that original. This was still a fun movie, though. That's what Ghostbusters is supposed to be. A fun, enjoyable ride that you shouldn't take seriously given the premise. The ghosts were a little more creepy than in the original, but that was okay. Speaking of ghosts, the special effects on the ghosts were pretty darn good and certainly a huge improvement over the original. But that was too be expected. If your special effects aren't significantly better than a movie that came out 32 years earlier, there's a bit of a problem. I liked our team of female Ghostbusters. They worked very well as a team, were quite funny, and were entertaining to watch. Chris Hemsworth was also fun as their dumb secretary. I didn't like our plot or our villain. And I didn't laugh as much in the second half of the movie as I did in the first half. But I was pleasantly surprised with this as a whole. Not a great movie, but a fun ride that's not deserving of the hate it's been getting. I'll give our new Ghostbusters movie a 7/10 and say bring on the sequel!

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