Posted on Sunday, July 10th, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
The first Ghostbusters reviews have hit the web today after the film held its world premiere in Los Angeles last night. After months of passionate debating from fans who were enraged that this reboot was even happening to those who have been hoping that it would just be good, we can finally talk about the movie as a whole.
So is Ghostbusters the Antichrist in the form of cinema or the second coming of Jesus? It turns out, Paul Feig‘s reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones is just a movie that some critics liked and others really didn’t. You know, just like every other movie. More specifically, it sounds like the movie is much funnier than the trailers indicated, and while it really works when Paul Feig does his thing, it falters when it has to adhere to the tropes of the modern blockbuster reboot.
Get the early buzz on Ghostbusters after the jump.
Our own Angie Han mostly liked the reboot, saying in her full spoiler-free review:
Ghostbusters is at its best when it feels most like classic Feig. The early scenes — where our leads are just starting to come together but before the main supernatural plotline has really kicked in — are the strongest. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon have crackling chemistry together, and it’s a pleasure just to watch them hang out. Since Ghostbusters is PG-13, the humor is necessarily a bit cleaner, but on the whole the comedy doesn’t feel too different from Feig’s other work. Once again, it’s all about big personalities bouncing off of each other, launching into semi-improvised riffs and the occasional bit of slapstick-y physical comedy.
At the end of the day, those who hoped the new Ghostbusters would be just like the original will probably be disappointed. The comedic sensibility is more Paul Feig than Ivan Reitman, the characters and their relationships to one another are completely different, and it all feels more like a 2010s blockbuster film than a 1980s comedy adventure (for pretty obvious reasons). But those willing to roll with the changes will find an entertaining comedy-adventure full of new characters, new gadgets, new monsters, and new possibilities.
Meanwhile, our own Peter Sciretta was not a fan, with his review (getting published tomorrow) saying:
Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters: Answer The Call is a moderately entertaining comedy with all of the usual blockbuster trappings, but as a Ghostbusters movie its disappointing.
While tonally the humor didn’t fit for me, I sure did laugh a lot. But as I suggested earlier, the jokes feel like something out of a random comedy and not a Ghostbusters film. I could have done without the deification and fart jokes.
Jen Yamato over at The Daily Beast says:
[Ghostbusters] comes saddled with the trappings of 21st century studio filmmaking: lulls in pacing, kiddie-safe comedy, choppy editing, and the general sense that a sharper, ballsier version exists in an alternate Hollywood universe. Nevertheless, with a crackling sense of purpose and a surplus of reverence for their predecessors, new Ghostbusters Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Saturday Night Live standouts Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones plant their own flag on a beloved sci-fi comedy franchise – even if it’ll still take a miracle from beyond to convert the hypercritical haters.
Ghostbusters die-hards might disagree, but the remake is conceived with more complex aims than the first two films. The greatest upside is a new generation of youngsters now have a Ghostbusters movie of their own, with a disparate team of adult women to idolize, that holds dear the rules and tone and sweet core of the original films. Ghostbusters is remake as homage, swapping the gender of its heroes while keeping the bones of the plot and signatures of the first film.
Rodrigo Perez from The Playlist wasn’t all that impressed in his review:
[Ghostbusters is] unexceptional and even lazy update of a formula you’ve seen before. Comparisons to the original are unavoidable. And yes, it’s a reboot, but there’s a conspicuous absence of the charming oddball eccentricity that made the original film so endearing.
Feig’s version is more of a forum for four funny actresses, Wiig, McCarthy, Jones and McKinnon, to be amusing. And sure, lots of scenes are very funny on their own. But in the context of a larger movie that doesn’t even bother with the most basic narrative through line — the original at least had an underdog and New York-unity theme going for it — the laughs become increasingly hollow and fleeting.
Our friend Jordan Raup at The Film Stage liked the movie a decent amount:
Even if all the comedy and action doesn’t land, there’s enough charm to be had with the main cast. Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold even manage to get in a few compulsory jabs at YouTube trolls along the way, but perhaps the biggest triumph of all is that they’ve introduced a team one would actually like to see continue answering the ghost-busting call. This new version of Ghostbusters will rarely make one bowl over with laughter, but, like the first film, it has a consistent amount of lighthearted, amiable fun.
Drew McWeeny at HitFix writes
There are so many things that work that it doesn’t matter if the new take on the theme song is sort of terrible or if [a certain] cameo doesn’t work. Robert Yeoman’s photography is lovely, Jefferson Sage’s production design evokes the original without merely aping it, and Theodore Shapiro’s score is solid, with just enough Elmer Bernstein in it to be impressive. My entire family, from my girlfriend to my kids, had a great time with it, and I feel like anyone willing to walk in with an open mind is going to immediately recognize this as the same Paul Feig who made Bridesmaids or Spy. He and Katie Dippold are a killer team, and they’ve been careful to give every character plenty to do. No one feels wasted, and no one feels like they’re superfluous.
Scott Mendelson at Forbes praises the comedy but not the reboot formula:
After all the handwringing and humdrum, Paul Feig and Katie Dippold’s Ghostbusters turns out to be a relatively unassuming movie of comparatively modest pleasures. The film’s chief asset is ironically the source of its greatest would-be “controversy.” It revels in the comic chemistry and warm friendship offered as a matter of course by its lead actresses. But don’t expect much more than a paint-by-numbers Ghostbusters reboot.
Eric Kohn at IndieWire finds some problems with the movie, but praises the cast:
Paul Feig’s goofy blockbuster about four New Yorkers who save the city from supernatural threats thrives on the first-rate chemistry of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones.
Unfortunately, this quartet provides the hilarious center to a movie that otherwise has none — or, for that matter, much purpose beyond showcasing their charisma. Despite the misogynistic backlash suffered during the film’s promotion, the problems with “Ghostbusters” have nothing to do with its cast. Its undoing stems from the same issues that plague so many overproduced, market-tested products that masquerade as movies: For all the value that may be contained in an intellectual property, it’s worthless if it can’t make old ideas feel new.
Peter Debruge at Variety was not very thrilled with the film:
Sony’s new gender-swapped “Ghostbusters” — which substitutes comediennes Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones for the previously all-male paranormal exterminator squad — suffers from a disappointingly strong case of déjà vu. While both funnier and scarier than Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, this otherwise over-familiar remake from “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig doesn’t do nearly enough to innovate on what has come before, even going so far as to conjure most of the earlier film’s cast (including Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man) in cameos that undercut the new film’s chemistry.
Devin Faraci at Birth.Death.Movies enjoyed the hell out of it:
With a better script this new version of Ghostbusters could have given the original a run for its money; that 1984 classic was the result of a lot of elements coming together in just the right way, and this version has so many of those elements – a great cast, a true affection for the supernatural, a varied comedic tone – but it just blows it on the story.
Still, the pieces are in place. The movie, for the most part, works. It’s easily one of the funniest comedies of the year, and I loved hanging out with these characters (which is such a huge part of the success of the 84 movie).
Terri Schwartz at IGN was fairly disappointed in the movie:
The plot is nothing new, but also largely works. It’s the friendship between the four Ghostbusters that keeps the film moving along, and though there are rifts that pull them apart, you always feel like they’re on the same team. The story offers a new mythology for the ghost girls and it’s fun seeing them work together. When they finally do come in to save the day, their journey to that point feels earned.
Unfortunately, it’s the pacing and editing that is the biggest problem with the movie. Ghostbusters is a comedy first, and for all that haters blasted the movie for starring four women, it’s actually director Paul Feig who doesn’t seem like he’s the right fit for the series. In terms of Feig’s brand of comedy, Ghostbusters is more Spy than Bridesmaids, but his humor never quite jives appropriately with the tone of the film. It doesn’t help that the pacing undercuts what could have otherwise been strong moments.
There was a cohesion lacking across the board with the pacing, with long lulls without big comedy moments and a movie that felt long in its 116-minute running time. It’s a shame, too, because much of the movie works on paper.
Manohla Dargis at The New York Times says:
It’s at once satisfyingly familiar and satisfyingly different, kind of like a new production of “Macbeth” or a Christopher Nolan rethink of Batman. As it turns out, the original “Ghostbusters” is one of those durable pop entertainments that can support the weight of not only a lesser follow-up (the 1989 sequel “Ghostbusters II”), but also a gender redo.
Mike Ryan at Uproxx really enjoyed the film:
In a summer of fairly dismal would-be blockbusters, Ghostbusters easily rises to the top as one of my favorite movies of the season so far. Here’s the thing: The original Ghostbusters is funny, but it’s more “action-comedy” than comedy. I hate even trying to define it, I just think of it as “a good movie.” (I am not a revisionist who likes Ghostbusters II. I think Ghostbusters II is a bad movie.) When I quote the original Ghostbusters, it’s lines like, “We had the tools … we had the talent!” It’s not really funny, it’s just a good line. (Okay, the opening sequence when Peter Venkman is shocking a student is really funny.) I point all of this out because I don’t want you to take this as hyperbole when I say that I do believe I laughed more during the 2016 Ghostbusters.
Finally, Adam Rosenberg over at Mashable says:
Everything that works in this new Ghostbusters has to do with these four women. All of the humor and all of the dramatic tension is the product of a simmering chemistry. Whether they’re yakking about their beautiful idiot of a receptionist, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), or a grave spectral threat to NYC, the banter is both epic and quote-worthy.
Thank the script from Katie Dippold and Paul Feig, which plays like two-hour love letter by fans, for fans. There’s brilliance especially in wordplay that manages to acknowledge the series’ roots without triggering reflexive eye rolls.
So there you have it. Don’t forget, that if you really want to have a valid opinion on this movie, you need to see it for yourself. It’s one thing to decide to avoid a movie because you don’t think it looks good, but you can’t truly bash it or defend it if you haven’t seen it. So head to theaters, form your own opinion, and my friend, don’t be a jerk.
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