ghostbusters

The Villain

The film features a human villain (not pictured above because there is no photo of the villain released by Sony) who in almost every way is a mustache-twirling supervillain with plans to destroy a world that has somehow wronged him. I understand the desire to make the bad guy a human, giving the Ghostbusters someone other than CG monsters to go face to face with. But I was shocked and disappointed to see the villain presented as such a two-dimensional bad guy in this film. On paper, the idea of this character is more interesting: a guy who has been bullied all his life and is now going to bully the world back. That’s a character arc that could represent everything from terrorists to school shooters or even, to a much lesser extent, the GhostBros who troll the Ghostbusters trailer YouTube video comment sections.

ghostbusters city

The Blockbuster Plot Makes Almost No Sense

Even those who like the reboot will probably admit that the story at the center of this film makes very little sense. It’s hard to quantify this without going into spoilers, so I won’t. I can say that the climactic battle becomes the same boring city-being-destroyed madness that we’ve seen many times this summer already.

Ghostbusters

Not So Progressive?

I had hoped that this all-female Ghostbusters film might be a little more progressive. It’s disappointing that Leslie Jones‘ character Patty Tolan, the only main character of color in the film, plays a working class MTA employee who somehow joins the Ghostbusters despite being the only member of the group that isn’t a scientist. While Jones holds her own comedically in this film, I’m not sure we’ve made too much progress from Ernie Hudson‘s Winston Zeddmore in the original Ghostbusters. Patty has a more fleshed out backstory, but I would have loved to seen Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold play against the expectations more with this character.

Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters

A One-Note Underwritten Male Sidekick

Chris Hemsworth plays a ditzy, under-qualified, completely incompetent secretary who is only hired because of his model-quality good looks, and is creepily hit on by his employers. A female version of the same character would be considered horrifyingly sexist, but that’s the point right? Is this really a reversal on the sexist secretary character? I don’t think this cheap joke really says much more.

Chris Hemsworth’s character feels one-note and underwritten, even more so than many female roles in past male-focused blockbusters. I should note that I’m not criticizing Hemsworth’s performance in this film (he is very funny) but the character is thinly written.

Ghostbusters

What I Did Like

The chemistry between the main cast of this film often elevates the material. You will laugh. And if that’s all you want from this movie, it succeeds in that department.

The new Ghostbusting technology is fun and impressive, with designs that look cool and iconic. While I didn’t love much of the blockbuster third act, I did love the moments when we got to see the team in action using these cool devices against the ghosts. How the ghost trap integrates into the proton packs is particularly cool.  I’m sure a new generation of cosplayers will love recreating all the new toys.

I may not have enjoyed the overall comedic tone of this film, but I appreciated when Feig attempted to make this Ghostbusters movie his own. The ghosts in the first half of this film are more scary and less goofy than those the original film, which was a lot of fun. The film has some really fun jump scares which employ 3D elements and break out of the trappings of the widescreen border. I’m not sure if it’s like this in every 3D screening, but projected on the IMAX screen the effect gives the impression that they are coming right at you. Is it a gimmick? Maybe. I really enjoyed it in some of these scarier sequences. It can be overused, however — by the end of the film I felt myself sometimes becoming distracted by the effect.

I really loved the look of the visual effects in this film — oh how far we’ve come from the rotoscope work of the previous films. The work on some of the ghosts is truly remarkable. I love how the atmosphere comes off the ghost and dissipates.

If this franchise does continue (which sounds to be the case), I hope that it will avoid the awful fan service that consumed this reboot. Even if I didn’t like the comedic tone of this new series, I would rather them continue to push the creative boundaries and be different rather than to find themselves restrained in paying homage to the original films. Let’s see crazy scary ghosts unlike we’ve ever seen before. We don’t need to return to Zuul or rediscover Vigo and the river of slime below Manhattan. Let’s go to other dimensions and do something interesting and crazy.

/Film Editor Angie Han liked the film a lot more than I did. You can read her spoiler-free review here.

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.