Film – Ghostbusters (2016)

Who you gonna call? Steve Taylor-Bryant with his thoughts after finally seeing the reboot that seemed to divide opinion...

I’ll be honest from the outset. I didn’t want this film. Before everyone on the internet goes mental and gets hate filled towards me, it has NOTHING to do with gender. It has to do with a 41 year old man that is struggling to let go of his childhood. That’s it plain and simple. It’s my inability to grow up and accept change. I didn’t want a new Ghostbusters with ANYONE in it. I wanted to keep my 1980’s memories and force them upon my children. I can’t do that though, apparently, so I sat and watched the new film, trying my best to keep an open mind, but watching my children’s faces as they watched their first ever Ghostbusters. Their faces lit up, they oohed and aahed, they smiled and laughed. They did all those things that I did all those decades ago. The film works if you have no love or affection for the original.

The special effects were, in the main, really impressive and the script was not the car wreck I had been led to believe it was and do you know what? The casting was pretty good in most cases, but I’ll get to that in a minute. For a new viewer it was pretty impressive. The ghosts were created really well with the right levels of scary and dumb so as to shock the children but not lead the parents to have sleepless nights comforting nightmares. The city back drop too, as with the first film, works really well and any version of Ghostbusters isn’t going to work in a seaside town or any other city, New York is Ghostbusters territory. The jokes nearly all land and three of the four main characters are highly watchable. The nods to the past for us ageing fanboys are all right on the money, seeing Sigourney Weaver again was the highlight, but all the past tributes are great so I got some added enjoyment that softened the changes for my stubborn ego.

The cast, though, make or break a film and an awful lot has been made of the casting for the new Ghostbusters. An all female cast with a hunky male secretary was far too much for some elements of society but, to be honest, they weren’t that bad. Obviously they weren’t Murray and Aykroyd good but, again, my failings as a person are the reason why. Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert was perfect casting, straight yet goofy, funny yet serious, what’s not to like. Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann blew me away with the insanity and Leslie Jones is an actress I now need to see again and again in other stuff, as she was the only one I wasn’t that familiar with but was the true scene stealer in this film. I laughed out loud at a lot of her actions and dialogue in a comedy vehicle and that is kind of the point isn’t it? Chris Hemsworth as the ditzy blonde Kevin was a joy to watch and the way he played up to the character traits that we forced upon female stars thirty odd years ago was both entertaining and enlightening. So there we go. A perfect film.

What? But if I mention ‘the other one’ it’s not a perfect film. You really want to go there? Okay.

Melissa McCarthy was also in it…

I really cannot stand Melissa McCarthy and this film hasn’t changed my opinion. The only weakness in the entire project was McCarthy as Abby Yates. Why they just didn’t name her character Adam Sandler I don’t know, because that is what McCarthy brings to the screen in everything – Adam Sandler, and not good Adam Sandler either, like Waterboy or Happy Gilmore which are watchable, but bad Adam Sandler like pretty much everything he’s ever made except Waterboy and Happy Gilmore. McCarthy just hams everything to the extreme, takes a joke too far, can’t hold my interest for longer than a nanosecond and doesn’t seem to have a chemistry with any co-star in any film. She acts like she is in a sketch on her own. She infuriates me. She is single handedly the reason that this new Ghostbusters won’t ever overtake 1984’s in my affections. She is single handedly the reason I’m not excited for a sequel despite all that I’ve mentioned that I love about the ‘new’ Ghostbusters.

Sorry Paul Feig, I really like elements of your film and, to be fair, you’ve handled an impossible task pretty well, but Melissa McCarthy is why your vision of Ghostbusters is just not good enough.

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