For being one of the biggest movies of the summer with a massive pre-release buzz, I actually don’t have a whole lot to say about the 2016 Ghostbusters. I mean, its a remake and those are rarely interesting, but the cast here had a chance to make it interesting. It is clear that there is a lot of love for the original 1984 movie, and this certainly isn’t a remake made as some sort of “ours will be better because it looks modern and slick” like Total Recall or Point Break. Its more a labour of love, and that is apparent and admirable in some way.
But its still just a remake. The updated special effects look quite good, giving the ghosts a modern look while also evoking the original ghost designs. I thought that the final ghost villain was a really cool idea. They also showed the genesis of the proton pack and added new twists to it, like ghost grenades, which gives a “we have to do something cool and different!” vibe I wasn’t into.
But the important aspect of making a Ghostbusters sequel is whether its funny or not. The original film cast was composed of mostly comedians who made one of the funniest genre films of the 80s. This cast was also comprised of comedians and the script was certainly written like a comedy. The only problem was that I simply didn’t laugh, and ultimately that’s where this film fails.
In the 1984 film, much of the comedy emerged naturally out of either the situation that was happening or out of the nature of the characters. Many of Venkman’s quips are a response to something happening and feel in place. Egon’s oddities come more from Ramis’ performance than from script-written jokes. But the new film cannot achieve this type of comedy. The humour seems way, way too forced. Think about the Mike Hat joke, or the Swiss army knife joke(?). It feels almost like they have to pause what is happening in the story in order for the characters to spout off some lines that usually don’t fit their characters too well.
That’s not to say the performances are bad. I quite liked Kate McKinnon’s energetic Holtsmann, even thigh the same rules of forced humour apply to her as well. Leslie Jones provided a good energy for the most part, but again some of her lines felt very out of place (more a fault of the writing). Chris Hemsworth added some levity, but his stupidity again didn’t feel too natural. Kristen Wiig has no fluidity to her performance at all.
Hmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought. So ultimately, while I was somewhat interested in the Ghostbusting aspects of the story, it has serous shortcomings in the comedy. I maybe laughed twice, which is not a good thing for a big blockbuster comedic romp like this was supposed to be.