Monday, November 28, 2016


When I heard that Hollyweird was remaking Ghostbusters, I thought why would anyone think they could capture lightning in a bottle twice and re-do the most sublime comedy of the 1980s? Then I heard it was going to be female cast and I thought, "You know, that might work." Perhaps having a female cast would separate it enough from the original that it could stand on its own.

(Full Disclosure: The original Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies ever.)

***Spoilers Ahead***

Then the first trailer came out on YouTube. I watched it. I hated it. I clicked dislike along with over 1 million people as of now.

Why did I hate the trailer? It wasn't funny. It was boring. It was dumb and gross. No, I didn't hate it because the women were women. I hated it because the women weren't funny. And I thought it showed that the Ghostbusters remake was going to be a dud. Probably due to bad writing, I thought, because Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are usually pretty funny (viz: Paul and Spy).

But I decided to reserve judgment on the entire movie until I saw it. Which I did last Wednesday.

The movie starts out slow with a plodding pace and zero humor (unless you think a hyper-PC tour guide is funny). It got more amusing and I remember my first chuckle was when a character turned on a proton pack and the other two characters backed off (like in the original Ghostbusters in the elevator). My first real laugh came about half-way through the movie when Ozzy Osborn, pretty much playing himself, thought a ghost was a bad trip.

And the scenes that weren't funny in the trailer were more amusing in context. But they still weren't very funny.

By the end of the movie I had a few laughs. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. And it could have been so much better if the writing had been crisper. The actors did their best with the material they were given.

And there were references to the original. Bill Murray played a paranormal skeptic, Dan Aykroyd played a taxi driver who quotes from the first film. Annie Potts is a desk clerk in a hotel. Ernie Hudson is one character's uncle. And Sigourney Weaver is a scientist. And the Stay Puft Marsh Mellow Man even shows up. Oh and Slimer, too. Too bad they could lure Rick Moranis out of retirement.

One thing the movie did was on my TV screen (and probably yours) it was letterboxed (black bars at the top and bottom of the screen to make the aspect ratio different from my TV). But often special effects would go over the black bars. This was amusing the first time but then you started watching for it. If they'd done it once in the climax, it would have been much more effective.

So I'll give Ghostbusters three stars on Netflix. It was amusing and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. But it took about half the movie to get there.

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