If there’s something weird… in you neighbourhood… and it don’t look good… what must it be? Paul Feig‘s reboot of Ghostbusters!
Ghostbusters (III) starts off very well with some mysterious and spooky goings-on during a Haunted House tour, fronted by Zach Woods as the tour guide, so good in a brief scene in Spy where he was a poisoned spy flipping the bird at Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne in a last act of defiance.
He is the best thing about this film and should really have been considered for the role of Kevin, the receptionist, but no, that went to Thor, I mean, Chris Hemsworth, just so women would have someone to ogle. Where’s our totty? That’s sexist. Then again, I didn’t want McCarthy to strip off!
Unfortunately, Mr Woods’ opener was as good as this ill-advised reboot was ever going to get for me. I know some people have enjoyed it, but I found it trampled all over the original like Mr Stay Puft trampling all over New York in that first film. And I thought Ghostbusters II was poor, but that was Citizen Kane by comparison to this.
I could go into detail about the plot, if there was one, but it’s just a repeat of… yes, you already know. Ghosts invade New York and they have to be stopped.
I tried to work out who each character was meant to be by comparison and, initially, I assumed Erin (Kristen Wiig) was the Bill Murray character as she took her lead on the proceedings from Abby and Jillian, and that Abby (Melissa McCarthy) was Egon-like as she began with a contraption on her head and was all about the gadgets, while Jillian (Kate McKinnon) seemed to be aiming for Dan Aykroyd’s character for a while, but in the end none of them had the wit of the original cast.
After the opening credits (well, the title apppears – missing a trick to put the famous logo in ‘O’ of the title), which includes the original Ray Parker Jr theme (don’t worry – the dreadful Missy Elliot travesty of a redo comes up later), Ed Begley Jr from St Elsewhere pops up asking for help with what went on at the start.
The joke is on us with what apparently passes for two hours’ worth of entertainment. There’s crude humour like fanny farts, Jillian dancing to Debarge’s Rhythm of the Night (she is not quirky, she’s only ever irritating), idiotic Kevin a has a dog called Mike Hat, but they think he said ‘my cat’, he makes terrible attempts at a Ghostbusters logo, some being ones that have already been made – that’s a very old joke. In addition, the ECTO1 vehicle returns – this time as a hearse, the ambulance station gets a mention, and you can tick off the cameos, all turning up to collect the cheque – Bill Murray as a paranormal activity debunker, Annie Potts as a hotel receptionist, still chirping “Whaddya want?!”, Dan Aykroyd is Mr Stay Puft, the Marshmallow Man… well, he’s certainly piled on the pounds even more since I last saw him. In fact, he didn’t look at all well. His cabbie role ended with him trailing out “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts”, Sigourney Weaver in one of the mid-credits sequences, Ernie Hudson just before the closing credits, plus Only Rick Moranis seems to have missed out from the original cast. Oh, and there’s Ozzy Osbourne at a rock concert.
(And can Slimer and Mr Stay Puft also count as cameos?)
I’m just amazed they didn’t try to cram in the ghost of Harold Ramis just to add insult to injury!
Since the opening scene, I did there was a slight chuckle when Kevin banged into a wall and Erin (who fancies him intensely) asked “Did you hurt your face?”, but beyond that, nothing at all. What’s left is a lot of noise and shouting and tiresome product placement: Holtzmann stuffs Pringles into her mouth when she’s bored (go for Aldi’s Stackers instead. Half the price and just as tasty – although, since I’ve eaten enough of them in my life, I’ve now switched to Aldi’s equivalent of Ryvita when I want a snack), Abby filmed the ghosts on a Sony 4k camcorder and there was also a mention of Starbucks.
A scene of Kevin answering the phone was done far better in the trailer. It was much tighter. He answers a call, then asks the foursome what exactly the company is called, Erin gives the longform name (which I’ve forgotten – it’s a bit different from the original – Yes! Feig wrote something new!!) for their organisation, and he just reduces it to “Ghostbusters“, whereas, here, he tries to repeat the longform name, gets it wrong, then on the next call answers “Ghosbusters” but is off camera when doing that… clearly because it’s from the take shown in the trailer.
And I said there are four women. The fourth is subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). the mouthy one who, because this is a Hollywood script and because she’s black, she takes everything as a sleight against her race. Or about being a woman. Yawn.
If you’ve never seen the original then… see that instead. Ghostbusters II was a very poor sequel and this threequel is even worse. In fact, I got bored, started yawning and it was giving me a headache as the noise droned on and the plot never got off the ground. To add to my tedium, as well as the cameos, I also started ticking off the films it was directly referencing – Ghost (because of ghosts), The Exorcist (someone’s head spinning round), Scarface (“Say hello to my little friend!”), Die Hard 2 (Bruce Willis in the plane’s ejector seat), and a late scene in Poltergeist.
Ghostbusters (III) is a pointless orgy of CGI, and it’s nothing we haven’t seen before in that respect. It’s like how Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival didn’t update the graphics, but at least that was a fun game.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts about this film…