So last night I went to see a film a few years ago I never thought would have been possible…a new Ghostbusters film.
This, however was not the highly anticipated Ghostbusters 3 that had been banded about for years. Rumours of scripts being written then discarded were being thrown about everywhere. Every time Dan Ackroyd went into a interview he was asked the same thing…”Is Ghostbusters 3 happening?” or “Is Bill Muray going to do it?”…a script rumour got off the ground, everyone got excited, then it slipped away. In the meantime we lost the great Harold Ramis, a sad day for film fans everywhere, and effectively put the chances of a third film being made firmly on the back-burner.
…and then it was announced Ghostbusters would indeed be made again…and it would be a team of female Ghostbusters…and it would be directed by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig…
A whole group of fanboys and girls went into uproar. “How could this be made?” “They can’t have female Ghostbusters.” “They can’t do this?”…
“It’s going to be shit!”
I have always been firmly in the “It’s going to be shit” camp. My issue wasnt’t that the film had been remade (it genuinely intrigued me), nor was it an issue with having an all-female lead cast as complaining about that would just be massively and inappropriately sexist.
My issue was the director and the direction that the film was going to take. Feig’s comedy is a odd type. It’s that awkward comedy with long silences, with characters delivering lines that trail off in their delivery and can be very funny, but falls flat a lot of the time. Surely he was going to change that up for Ghostbusters.
Then the trailer landed…a whole world of fans screamed sacrilege and hatred towards it…me included. There was a vagina joke in there…in a Ghostbusters film…and that awkward moment between Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy’s characters saying “Let’s go” slightly out of sync with each other…it quickly became apparent that this was going to be horrific.
So last night, the night after the film opened…I went to see Ghostbusters…full of cynicism and bad feeling in my bones as the lights went down.
After an opening spook, we meet our main characters. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a school science lecturer just trying to get a full time job, but cannot be taken seriously when a book she wrote with high school friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) surfaces and completely discredits her.
When McCarthy and Wiig come together initially…it’s bumbling. Straight away you see them back in Bridesmaids mode, silly comedy, painful one-to-ones and the most unfunny “ghostly noise” gag ever. It was spiralling downwards quickly…
…then up pops Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzman, an engineer and brilliant scientist who is always tinkering with gadgets and devices. She’s genuinely a breath of fresh air…and suddenly the film moves away from a Feig-fest of unrefined laughs into genuine likeability.
After Leslie Jones’ Patty Tolan witnesses a ghost on the subway and joins “the club”, add into the mix the dumb beefcake in Thor-himself Chris Hemsworth and we get the full Ghostbuster lineup in place.
What happens next is an actual treat. Everything surprised me about it.
It becomes it’s own film in the Ghostbusters Universe. You kind of forget that the original films happened. Its a little bit like watching the new Star Trek films when you love the old ones so intensely…but still enjoying Chris Pine in the Enterprise’s captain’s chair.
There’s some brilliant cameo appearances which had to happen to appease fans. They’re nice and unsubtle and there for the nostalgia purposes only…but they work.
The storyline isn’t all that bad either, Rowan North (Neil Casey) is using devices to summon up ghosts from the other side in specific locations in order to bring about the apocalypse…because of this, the ghosts start coming at us one at a time…before a huge onslaught later on.
The 3D is quite possibly the greatest 3D I have ever seen and uses a special trick to make it look even more impressive. Theatres show the film in a letterbox style with a black border around the film…and when needed, the action in the film spills over into the black border to really make it feel like the Proton Pack streams are coming out of the screen, or the ghosts are really popping out. It works…it works really well.
Yeah there’s still tonnes of awkward moments in there…but there’s actually quite a bit of decent comedy too…most of which comes from McKinnon’s absolute strangeness, or Hemsworth’s stupidity.
As the film went on, I found myself smiling more and more. They had actually pulled it off…a genuinely good remake of a much loved film. Will it ever be as good as the 1984 film? Hell no…and I would never pretend it would be. Lets face it, it never was going to be. But Paul Feig has taken a much-loved classic, updated it to the 21st century and thrown everything at it. It’s going to have haters…probably a LOT of haters…and I was going to be one before I saw it.
Go see the film…judge it for yourself. In my mind, this film has proven that you cannot properly say “it will be shit” until you have actually seen it. If you hate a film after seeing it, then fair play, all opinions should be respected…but give it a chance and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Now allow me to breath a massive sigh of relief and plan when I’m going to see it again…yes…that’s right…I want to see this film again.
So in summary, never judge a film by it’s cast, director, trailer, pre-conceived thoughts etc, and go and see it yourself. Strip away the moments of poor comedy, and you get an actual contender to be one of the best reboots ever.
Will I ever be wearing t-shirts with images from this film on it? Probably not. Will I continue to think that Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 are the main event? Yes.
But I can honestly say, that in 2016, once again…