Ghostbusters - Review

Probably the most controversial and most polarizing movie of this entire year.
Fans of the iconic original Ghostbusters movies were longing for a third adventure of the ghostbusting crew for many years now.
After a long time in development hell, the new Ghostbusters movie now comes in the form of a female led protagonist crew and a full on reboot.
Yet considering that the first trailer for this movie already gained the status of one of the most disliked movie trailers on YouTube ever, is the Ghostbusters reboot really actually that bad or is it only a badly marketed movie?
Time to find out...

The plot:
Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
Source: IMDb

The new Ghostbusters reboot sure will be remembered as one of the worst marketed movies in recent memory.
Aside from the general backlash from the public and especially fans of the original two movies, it has to be said that Sony Pictures really clumsily handeled the controversy and extremely polarizing reactions to the first trailers of the movie. With an unhealthy focus on people who disliked the movie being mostly called childish sexists, the movie was destined to have a very rough start.
But with all that aside and now that the movie is released, it turns out that the Ghostbusters reboot sadly nevertheless feels just as soulless, overproduced and greedy as the film universe trend addicted Hollywood itself. Without a strong comedic script, rather bland characters and the sole selling point of the movie being nostalgia and that it now features a female cast, the Ghostbusters reboot simply pales in comparison to the iconic original as a slapped together nostalgia cashgrab.

The only thing that's even worse than the actual movie is its marketing.

Starting off with the story, being presented as a reboot, one would've expected a whole lot more from this newest Ghostbusters movie.
While the story checks off enough points to make for an overall rather servicable story with a clear beginning and end and doesn't nearly feel as sequel-baity as expected, the Ghostbusters reboot orients itself very much (and in many aspects too much) on the story structure of the first movie. With only a few diversions, the way the Ghostbusters meet each other, their first successful ghostbusting job, to the grand finale featuring a big white monster stomping across New York, the movie has so many parallels and familiar beats from the original that the Ghostbusters reboot often feels like a remake rather than a reboot.
Sure enough, the addition of now female Ghostbusters is a nice way of freshening things up, yet the movie's story feels so samey to the original that it feels actually quite pointless to have female Ghostbusters when the exact same story and almost same dialogue could be done with a cast of pretty much any gender.
However, does that all at least mean that the Ghostbusters reboot is at least just as funny as the original? - Not in the slightest. While many expected the movie to feature bad comedy all throughout, the Ghostbusters reboot actually isn't as much bad as it is just bland and flat. Considering that especially Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy work with the exact same style of comedy that is expected and known from them (like in Bridesmaids, Tammy, Spy, etc.), the comedy in the movie feels just as uninspired as the movies storyline.
But seeing that the movie's story could at least be presented and repackaged here as a "remake", the now rather flat comedy and jokes of course can't and thus reveal the true uninspired core of this forgettable reboot.

"I take the slapped together rehash of the original menu."

But why doesn't the comedy work in this reboot?
The answer is simple: 1. because the jokes are predictable, not memorable and not funny and 2. because despite the different looks of the new female Ghostbusters members, each of them feels like the same character.
In the original Ghostbusters, most of the comedy in the movie was generated through the simple combination of four very different characters in a team. Whereas Murray was the smartassy womanizing cool guy, Aykroyd was the smoking wannabe badass, Egon was the down to earth brains of the team, and Ernie Hudson was the "I'm too old for this shit" kind of guy, it is obvious that the Ghostbusters reboot desperately tries to recapture this exact same team combo but just fails.
The result are four female actresses that actually can be funny, but who just aren't in this movie. Sadly this is mostly because their characters happen to be written way too similarly. Sure enough Patty the sassy black chick and Jillian the badass tech genius of the group alone stick out visually, yet when seeing how the team interacts in the movie, there is barely any dialogue between the members that creates good comedy due to their personal differences. It often feels like many lines from the Ghostbusters women could easily be switched around at will. Especially in the big finale and overly long showdown of the movie (which also ends in a ridiculous Deus Ex Machina solution by the way) it feels like you are watching the same Ghostbuster woman fight the ghosts in each scene and not four distinctly different female characters.

Despite their different appearances, they all feel like the same character.

What also is very obvious in the movie, and this is in no way related to me being a sexist or whatever, is that the entire movie has a very "girl power"-esque feel to it. And while this can rightfully and understandably be a theme in this now female led Ghostbusters movie, it is painstakingly obvious that there are absolutely zero intelligent or good male characters present in the movie which makes this theme feel kind of aggressive.
Even all the way down to the cameos of the original four Ghostbusters actors, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson, the Ghostbusters movie in its own way might come off as feeling sexist towards men or agressively feminist sometimes in its own way. At the latest when there are absolutely no relatable male characters in the movie or when the big bad guy Rowan in his gigantic ghost form gets shot in is testicles by the Ghostbusters team, you know that this movie doesn't even try to deliver its "girl power" theme in any subtle way whatsoever.

That claw trap in the back there is called The Nutcracker....No joke.

Yet the most offensive thing about the ridiculous depiction of the male characters in the movie happens to come in the form of the Ghostbusters' new secretary Kevin, played by Chris Hemsworth.
I don't know if Hemsworth lost a bet or anything or just happens to have one of the most useless agents ever, but the kind of character he is depicting here is beyond tasteless. The entire comedy surrounding Hemsworth's character Kevin is that he is ridiculously stupid. Not in a clever quirky way but just absolutely unrealistically stupid. He is the kind of guy who tries to touch fish in an aquarium but bumps into the glas with his hand because he is too stupid to realize how glas works. THAT kind of stupid. And it's just mindboggling that even in a movie that already features mostly flat and predictable comedy, this character manages to stick out as flatout unfitting and over-the-top bad. It honestly feels like his character would be more suited for a Scooby-Doo movie for toddlers or something and not a reboot of one of the best comedies and most iconic 80s movies of all time.

Chris. Honestly. For the love of god, fire your agent!

Taking a quick look at the villain in this movie, he is also as forgettable as they come.
While the antagonist called Rowan happens to be some lunatic who believes in the downfall of mankind and wishes for the apocalypse to finally get rid of the world's population, it will get instantly clear that no real creative thought has been put into his character. He is simply characterized as the maniacal freak who wants the world to burn without any realy backstory or reason to it to convince any viewer that his motivations have some good points or anything.
With the original Ghostbusters movie, there, the movie didn't even have to resort to any human villain but simply and luckily put a supernatural demon in the forefront. With Gozer being the genderly-undefinable bad entity who wants to rule over the world, one didn't need to much of an explanation. It's an evil godlike entity - that's it. Yet the Ghostbusters reboot thought that the same logic would equally well apply to a human villain so that the movie could have the same big showdown as the original movie. But surprise: what it only leads to is a bland villain and a showdown that feels unnecessarily much like a rip-off.
(This gets especially dumb when Rowan asks the Ghostbusters to choose the form of the destroyer - which makes absolutely no sense, especially when Rowan is a human ghost and not even a godlike demon!)

Because we desperately needed to also have a big white monster in the finale.

Overall, despite a female led cast and having doors wide open to play around with the Ghostbusters lore and world with new ideas, it turns out that the Ghostbusters reboot only barely has any actually creative or good ideas of its own.
With the only selling point of this reboot being that the Ghostbusters are now female, there's nothing else that makes this reboot feel necessary or let alone worth watching that hasn't been already done leagues better in the original two movies.
Featuring a storyline that feels like an uninspired rehash of the original, a lack of any worthwhile jokes or comedy, too undistinguishable and uninteresting lead characters, a boring cardboard-cutout villain and an insultingly idiotic secretary played by Chris Hemsworth, the Ghostbusters reboot's lack of anything that could potentially lead the franchise into any new interesting paths makes the entire movie feel exactly like the blatant nostalgia cashgrab that it sadly turns out to be.
While the hate for the now female Ghostbusters is of course absolutely unjust, it's undeniable that the reboot feels like a slapped together mere shadow of the original.

The female Ghostbusters reboot really had a chance to revive the franchise in style, but sadly absolutely fails to do so since it obviously seems more interested in badly mimicing the original than to come up with a worthwhile strong identity of its own.

Final Verdict: 2 out of 10


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