It's the film the whole internet is talking about! But seldom for the right reasons. Paul Feig's 2016 remake of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. The controversy surrounding this film has been... disproportionate, to put it mildly. But now that it's out, how is it?
Short answer: it's pretty good. It made me laugh plenty of times, and kept me smiling the whole way through. Our new all-woman quartet of ghostbusters are a delight to watch. Each of them are brimming with personality, all reminiscent of their male predecessors but distinct from them as well. The cast have an energy and charm to them that more than justifies the remake. And that's not to mention the delight that arises from the many, many cameo appearances from the original crew.
In true Ghostbusters fashion, the film begins on a creepy scene involving... well, ghosts, before settling into the comedy of things. Though this time around, the opening scene is so dark it's almost jarring when the familiar Ray Parker Jr theme tune kicks in. This disconnect in tone is a recurring element for the film, as the story sometimes crosses into the actually disturbing, often without warning. There is even a rather stark death scene - a first for the otherwise family-friendly series. There are also several moments of character conflict and drama, and not all of them are fully contextualized. Between that and a bizarre time-travel element occurring in the film's climax, one gets the idea of a script that's gone through several harsh rewrites, leaving ribbons of story sloughed off in the process.
But whatever it may get wrong, it gets plenty more right. The aforementioned ghostbusters are fantastic, elevating themselves from mere genderflips to fresh new characters in their own right. Kristen Wiig plays the straight (wo)man, Erin Gilbert. The "Venkman" of the group, she trades his dry sarcasm and dispassionate demeanor for a neurotic but no-nonsense figure. Melissa McCarthy is Abby Yates, the group's "Ray". Though she trades his whimsy for a more bombastic presence.
Kate McKinnon plays Jllian Holtzmann, who retains absolutely none of Egon's Vulcan-esque traits and swaps them out for an energetic, macabrely enthusiastic inventor (who is an absolute BLAST to watch, might I add). Finally, Leslie Jones gives a great performance as Patty Tolan. Chipper, likable and not afraid to say what the audience is thinking, she does a great job as the "Winston" of the group. My only complaint would be that her "sassy black woman" attitude might not sit well with some, given that the cast she's with is white as snow. But as I am, myself, as white as bleached snow I'll keep my comments on this to a minimum. I'm not really qualified.
It's not just the eponymous quartet who are a delight to have on screen. Chris Hemsworth is hilarious as their bumbling puppy-dog secretary. Neil Casey also makes for an excellent villain in Rowan North. Rather than the godlike Gozers of the past, we are instead presented with one of the most destructive evils of the modern world. A whiny, over-entitled man.
Watching his self-pitying, misanthropic antics devoid of any self-awareness, one can't help but imagine this villain might be one of the many scores of men online hurling vitriol at the film and its crew. And this, perhaps, is why Ghostbusters 2016 is picking up a reputation among certain circles a "manhating film".
But let's be real here for a second, gentlemen. This film does not hate men. Frankly, it's not anything towards men because this piece of media is, wait for it, not about men. And that's scary, I understand. You're terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought. But the hard fact is this is just a jaunty comedy about bustin' ghosts, same as the two that came before it. But if you look at the villain of this film and think that he's a criticism of men in general, it might be time to have a long hard look in the mirror.
The fact is that the misogynistic and racist bile to come spewing forth from the fingertips of angry men online for the past year or so has been beyond awful. Even now, only a few days ago, star Leslie Jones was bullied off Twitter by an unyielding tide of hatred. Racism. Sexism. Deny it all you like, the evidence could fit several libraries at this point. If you hate this film, you've got a problem.
And no, I don't mean "everyone has to like this film", but to hate it? To be engulfed with anger about it? To take to the internet and type every nasty thing over the sun over it? That's not right, gents. Ghostbusters is an entertaining and ultimately harmless comedy film, just like the two that came before it. Your garbled explanations as to why your rage is justified just ring hollow. You've got to face the facts.
You're Rowan North. You're the man who wants to destroy the world because he feels uniquely victimized by the world around him, despite all evidence to the contrary. You're not disliked because the world is cruel. You're disliked because you are cruel. But more than that, you're pathetic.
So come on, gents. Don't be Rowan North. Pack it in, and let the film be. If it's not your cup of tea, fine. But get off the comments section. If it's got you that steamed just take a deep breath and stick the original Ghostbusters on. It's still there. The scary women haven't taken it away from you.
Anyway, that review got a bit derailed there, didn't it? But then, so has the actual film. At this point you can't decouple this movie with the bile and hatred surrounding it, and that's pretty sad. But don't let it put you off, those of you who aren't creepy hateful freaks. Go give this one a watch, it's good for a laugh and it'll make you feel all good inside.
Just like the original.