Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Superhero Media: Ghostbusters (2016)

For various reasons, this film was highly contentious and it seems that nothing can be put up on the internet about it without a vitriolic argument forming instantaneously. I trust that, with those who frequent this blog, this shall not be the case. I encourage comments, but please, be respectful and polite, as you guys always are. 

I enjoyed it. Was it as good as the original? No, but what Ghostbusters material has ever been as good as the original? Ghostbusters II certainly didn't manage it, so why are people getting so up in arms about it? The characters are funny, the effects are actually pretty good and the ghostbusting looks better and feels more exciting than the original. The plot isn't great and the villain is nothing to speak of, but, then again, is Gozer really that interesting? From a meta-fictional standpoint, Gozer is a brilliant stand-in for an ancient, Lovecraftian horror, returning to Earth to consume the souls of humanity, only to be defeated by ingenuity and the powers of science. Aside from that, I would argue that it is Dana, Lewis and Mr Staypuft that give Gozer any real gravitas. As mentioned above, it is the cast that brings the most to the new Ghostbusters, Erin, Abby, Patty, Kevin and Holtzmann are fun characters, with some great on-screen chemistry and I would be keen to see what they get up to in any sequels. 

The highlight of the film is a massive fight scene in Times Square, where the new team utilise a variety of new weapons to bust a wave of ghosts released by the forgettable villain. Unlike the original, the action is pretty engaging and takes on more than standing still, firing a Proton Pack at ghosts. Stunts, fight choreography and a banging soundtrack bring the ideas of Ghostbusters into a contemporary blockbuster landscape and make the girls look like superheroes as much as scientists and engineers. Patty feels a lot less token than Winston did, as her knowledge of local history and folklore is pivotal in more than one scene. Overall, Ghostbusters (2016) feels more like a remake of Ghostbusters II than anything else, interesting characters, good humour, crummy villain and not as good as the original. All-in-all, I think that's pretty good, certainly far better than some of the remakes that have been touted over the years.

I understand that part of the vitriol against this incarnation of Ghostbusters is the thought that it is somehow replacing or usurping a possible Ghostbusters III with the original cast, but this reasoning is preposterous. Bill Murray has repeatedly denied any interest in such a project for over a decade, I was shocked to see him in this one, until I realised he was playing a pastiche of his own Wes Anderson characters. Ghostbusters (2016) is not an affront to your childhood; it is an ok remake with an interesting cast, poor premise and a few decent laughs. I'm already eyeing off the Crooked Dice set so that I can have a team-up between both teams against Gentleman Ghost and Baron Mordo wielding the Necronomicon... sounds cool huh? 

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