Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Ghostbusters (2016)

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about I movie I own.  Today, we get to the surprisingly controversial Ghostbusters reboot.  This is in my notes at October 30, 2016.

As one of my favourite web series pointed out, in this recent election year, who would have thought that one of the most politically charged topics this past summer would have been Ghostbusters?  I found the alleged controversy kind of funny actually.  We've had reboots of such beloved and dearer franchises like Star Trek.  We've got another reboot and/or remake coming out just about every week.  Who would have thought that the line in the sand would be drawn with Ghostbusters

Maybe I was more prepared for it.  Maybe because I had been chatting with my friends over the years about how some kind of reboot would probably be the best way to go to continue the franchise, because the cast members were growing older and showing less and less interest.  And besides, the problem with remaking a comedy is the lead character is usually a a well-known comedian, and the character is reflective of their comedic style.  So we just couldn't have a new Venkman, it was best to go with all new Ghostbusters.  And why not all women? 

Honestly, I was pretty excited when I heard that Leslie Jones was going to be one of the new Ghostbusters.  I, personally, believe she's one of the funniest people on Saturday Night Live right now.  It's a delicate skill to do a comedic angry rant, and she's got that skill mastered. 

What did not get me excited, though, was the director, Paul Feig.  I'll put it out there.  I was one of the few who did not like Bridesmaids.  The set-up is Kristen Wiig's best friend is marrying some rich dude, and because Wiig's character has fallen on hard times, she has trouble keeping up with the best friend's new lifestyle.  The whole thing struck me as, "Let's make fun of Kristen Wiig for being poor!" and the whole thing left me cold. 

But then I saw Spy, and I thought Spy was pretty darn funny, so I started warming up to Feig. 

It starts like any other Ghostbusters movie.  There's a haunting.  There's a sighting of a ghost.  So we need to call in some experts, and they approached...Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig).  She's a professor up for tenure, but when a book she wrote with her best friend Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) about the paranormal threatens to derail her career, she goes to Abby to try to get the book pulled from shelves.  Abby is still studying the paranormal at one of those sketchy-looking online universities, along side her assistant Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), an engineer who whips up their ghostbusting gear.  They wind up investigating the haunting, find proof of ghosts, all get fired from their respective institutions, and go into business for themselves as paranormal investigators.  They're soon joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a transit worker and history buff whose knowledge of New York's haunted hot spots becomes an asset. 

I mean, two Ghostbusters movie was enough to establish a formula, and this sticks to that formula pretty closely.  And I love these new Ghostbusters we're treated to.  God, Kate McKinnon is a force of nature as Hotlzmann, as she plays Holtzmann as a near-deranged mad scientist.  It is hilarious. 

Just as funny is their receptionist, Kevin, played by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth.  Kevin is just too dumb to breathe, and...there are no words at his idiocy. 

One of my quibbles about our new characters, though, is it would have been nice to have more exploration of the characters of Abby and Erin.  Obviously, they had some kind of falling out that caused Erin to abandon their crusade and go the way of a "normal" physicist.  but we never find out what that was.  And also, about two thirds of the way through the film, it looks as though Erin has abandoned the Ghostbusters, and is on her own at a hotel, and then rushes to rejoin the group when she uncovers the villain's plot.  I feel like there's a scene missing as to what happened for Erin to walk away again. 

Haven't watched the extended edition, yet, so maybe it's in there. 

Another quibble I have is actually with all the references and callbacks to the original Ghostbusters.  Don't get me wrong, they are enjoyable...up to a point.  It's like when Coulson constantly mentions the Avengers on Agents of SHIELD, or how they keep talking about Superman on Supergirl.  Eventually, it gets to be one frustrating tease as you realize that these folks are never going to show up, and then it gets distracting.  So they could have dialed back the references a bit and let it stand as its own thing more. 

Although, I did enjoy hearing the classic song get re-imagined as an action riff and played in the score whenever the ladies came charging into action. 

And watching it on Blu-Ray tonight, there's a little touch I noticed.  Whenever there's something ghostly or ghost-related happening (e.g. the Ghostbusters fire their proton packs, a ghost shoots slime or lightening bolts), the action actually extends up into the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen, making it look like it's popping out of the screen.  Clever.

I loved this reboot more than I thought I would.  I mean, it's what I've wanted since I was 12 years old:  a new Ghostbusters film.  And how can one hate that?

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