Cocktails And Movies Review: “Ghostbusters (2016)” – We’re Ready To Believe Them

by Mike Reyes

While it’s not the perfect savior some hoped for, and not the total garbage fire its nay-sayers wish it was, Ghostbusters is a solid action / comedy that we more than welcome during the summer season. 

I absolutely dreaded seeing Ghostbusters. Ever since I’d heard Paul Feig was directing it, scripting it, and had carte blanche with what he wanted to do with it, I started having flashbacks to how much I despised Bridesmaids. It certainly didn’t help when the commercials and trailers to the film didn’t make it look appealing in any shape or form. Yet here we are: I’ve seen Ghostbusters, had time to digest the film, and speaking as a fan of the original franchise, I want more.

Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) used to be the best of friends, sharing an interest in the study of the paranormal. Then, life and the prospect of tenure got in the way, separating the two of them in their respective niches of respectability. Of course, that was all before the moment that both women realized that ghosts are real, and they’re mad as hell. With their discovery comes a herald of doom, some toys cooked up by the crafty and demented Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon,) and some New York knowledge from Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones.) All of which leads to the biggest paranormal event that the world has ever seen, and only four women to answer the call.

Ghostbusters 16 HeaderBefore we go any further, I need to applaud Paul Feig, Katie Dippold, and the entire cast and crew of Ghostbusters, as they’ve taken so much guff from the online community in the past couple of months that it must have been difficult to handle it with such restraint. Yet you can see why they defended their work so staunchly, or at least I could after I sat down to watch a new spin on a childhood favorite. There were two roads this film could have taken: a straight up “characters and all” remake, or a reboot that liberally borrows from the original film, while being its own animal. Most thankfully, it’s the latter option that was chosen, and it has made all the difference.

Ghostbusters is not without its flaws, as the film takes a while to find its metaphorical groove. The weakest points of the film are the most Feigian of moments where the humor is more improv than script based, leading to scenes where the film drags and doesn’t score a laugh. However, it’s also Feig and Dippold’s touch that lead not only to the really funny moments in the film, but also the more serious and effecting moments in the film. There was even a moment that got me to feel a little emotional, as a heroic act turned into a full blown IMAX 3D spectacle that still kept sight of the most important weapon in the Feig / Dippold arsenal: their characters.

Ghostbusters Effects HeaderIn fact, if there was one big criticism that I have of Ghostbusters is that it has moments that almost beg for the respect of fans that are either here to see a Paul Feig movie or are here to see a Ghostbusters movie. This movie can be both, it just needs to make better decisions as to when to play to which strengths. There really didn’t need to be cameos from each surviving member of the original cast, though Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson’s cameos are the ones I wouldn’t trade for the world, especially the former. Still, when this movie made me cringe, it was full on “do not want” mode, as the moments that don’t work are obviously products of the recent trends of awkward comedy that doesn’t know when to end at one punchline.

Yet for every botched joke or blatant callback, there’s a moment of fun and, dare I say, actual emotion and cameraderie, that makes up for it. This team is one hell of a ghost busting team. While I had a healthy amount of skepticism going into Ghostbusters, walking out I had a greater amount of respect. When I was a kid, I admired and loved watching Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston bust some ghostly ass. As an adult, I still admire and love the original 1984 classic, and even its 1989 sequel. But this new cast of Ghostbusters really has me revved for the possibilities of an entirely new franchise. New adventures with new spectres and spooks that deviate from what we’ve already seen. More importantly, a sequel to this Ghostbusters film could provide us with a film that truly allows Paul Feig and Katie Dippold to delve into the darker aspects they scrape the surface of in this film, all the while providing the humor that this film brought to the table.

I want more Ghostbusters. I want more of Paul Feig’s sharp suited wearing direction, coupled with a sharper approach to his writing with Katie Dippold. I want to strap on a Proton Pack and fight alongside Abby, Erin, Jillian and Patty. Most importantly, I want more of the fun that I didn’t know I was going to have while watching this film, because I had tons of it once the film found its rhythm. Given the right encouragement, the next Ghostbusters movie could really break some new ground.

Go see Ghostbusters. Go see it in IMAX 3D, as it’s some of the most impressive usage of both filmmaking tools. It may be a bit messy and clunky at times, but it’s worlds away from what some would have you believe it is.  This movie deserves a healthy box office life, because I ain’t ‘fraid of no sequels.

Rating: 3.5 / 5