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…
Before this movie’s release, it transpired I was friends on Facebook with the sister of Kate McKinnon – the one who licks one of her guns in the film. When she posted the trailer, there were lots of comments from sycophants enthusing about how it was the most amazing thing ever. I gave my honest opinion. Funnily enough, we are no longer Facebook friends.
Who am I gonna call? Not her!!
So, will there be a Ghostbusters II/(IV)? I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but I am afraid of a Paul Feig written/directed Ghostbusters sequel. This has got to stop. (Or will he then trash another series, like, say… Sister Act?)
If, somehow, you want more in the meantime, then the Blu-ray (and maybe DVD) will be extended up to 131 minutes.
Note that once the end credits begin, there are a number of mid-credit scenes showing the four women in action, while there’s also a final post-credits scene which tempts a sequel with… (cue spoiler heading)
Oh, and that title where I said Ghostbusters (III) was film of the Year? Remember that asterisk? Well, here’s the rejoinder:
(*if it was the only film released in 2016)
There’s also the panic in Sony’s eyes that this film was released on a Monday, as they are relying on a 7-day “weekend” for the takings, since it runs up the Sunday – and they actually could’ve gone from last Saturday and effectively had a 9-day “weekend” as Transformers: Age of Extinction did).
Now onto a big bugbear of mine, which I’ve mentioned before whether I’ve watched films at the Odeon or Vue – the lights being switched on during the end credits. Like X-Men Apocalypse, this one has a post-credits scene as I mentioned, but how did those final ten minutes in the room go?
Up until the last of the mid-credits scenes, the lights stayed off completely (so, obviously, word had got round that *something happens during the credits*). Immediately after that, the big bright lights came up (sigh). I know the cinema staff don’t want customers falling down the stairs in the dark and breaking their necks for obvious healthy and safety reasons, but this time – the lower intensity of light during the trailers was spot-in. You could walk about AND see the screen. THAT was acceptable.
Ironically, even before those aforementioned scenes had finished, the last of four other members of the audience had walked out. But, as any regular readers of my reviews will know, I always stay until the very end of the closing credits. Those of us who do this are quite a rare breed, albeit less so with Marvel films where a post-credits scene is expected.
Then the cleaner walked in, dumped her bag on arrival and walked off… to switch even brighter lights on which turned the screen a shade of “Nuclear Blast White”!
I said that I wanted to watch the end credits. She replied, “You want to watch the end credits?” (Well, yes, since the film hasn’t ended yet and I knew there was at least a post-credit scene to follow), and she went off to switch off the bigger lights, but not the big lights. As such, the big lights even stayed on during that final post-credit scene, rather than dropping out altogether as with X-Men Apocalypse.
Seriously, this needs sorting out. The lights should not be on so much that they’re distracting from the film, and not wiping out part of the screen.
In addition, the cleaners should not be coming in while there are audience members still in the auditorium. It’s akin to TV channels shouting at you about what’s on next while the credits for the current programme are still running. Cinemas will have CCTV so they can spot if anyone’s using a video camera on the screen, so it only takes a second for them to see if any audience are still in there. After she dumped all her cleaning equipment and switched the lights down to a dull roar, she then sat down while waiting for the film to end.
As I mentioned in my reviews before, and to update the lengths in relation to this film, the audience come to see 116 minutes of a movie experience… not 106 minutes before huge big lights come on and the experience shattered like a proton beam up the backside. This really needs to be addressed.
As I told the Odeon, this process means the customers are made to feel like an inconvenience.
And, in this case, it’s an irrelevence that I didn’t like the film, before anyone was thinking that.
On the plus side, for the screen I was in, again, No.4, sitting at the back of the front section of seats gave a full in-your-face view of the screen. The other four people in the audience were all sat just over halfway back into the room, so it would’ve looked quite small by comparison, since it’s not a huge screen to begin with, but I quite enjoy having to turn my head just slightly to watch everything going on.
Running time: 116 minutes
Cinema: Vue, Lowry
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: 2.35:1 (Arri Alexa XT, Zeiss Master Prime and Fujinon Cabrio Lenses); 1.90:1 (IMAX 3D version: some scenes)
Released: July 11th 2016
Director: Paul Feig
Producers: Amy Pascal and Ivan Reitman
Screenplay: Katie Dippold and Paul Feig
Music: Theodore Shapiro
Abby Yates: Melissa McCarthy
Erin Gilbert: Kristen Wiig
Jillian Holtzmann: Kate McKinnon
Patty Tolan: Leslie Jones
Kevin: Chris Hemsworth
Ed Mulgrave: Ed Begley Jr
Tour Guide: Zach Woods
Harold Filmore: Charles Dance
Bennie: Karan Soni
Graffiti Artist: Nate Corddry
Famous Rock Star: Ozzy Osbourne
Desk Clerk: Annie Potts
Martin Heiss: Bill Murray
Agent Hawkins: Michael Kenneth Williams
Agent Rorke: Matt Walsh
Mayor Bradley: Andy Garcia
Jennifer Lynch: Cecily Strong
Gertrude Aldridge Ghost: Bess Rous
Dean: Steve Higgins
Rental Agent: Katie Dippold
Cabbie: Dan Aykroyd
Uncle Bill: Ernie Hudson
Rebecca Gorin: Sigourney Weaver
Metal Head: Daniel Ramis
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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