Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Should We Call The New Ghostbusters? Maybe

When people heard Paul Feig wanted to make a reboot of Ghostbusters with an all-woman crew, a fair amount were rather skeptical it would work. Others, unfortunately, thought it was ultimate blasphemy.

Now, it's clear it's not quite like the original back in 1984, but that's not its job. It's a new version, determined to stand on its own.

Before I finally saw it this morning (mainly to get away from the "stop complaining about Melania Trump's speech, you mean media, you" ranting on TV) I read parts of reviews, and even a comment during the Adam Carolla podcast with Ray Parker Jr. (highly recommended, because Parker has done quite well as a musician after writing the theme to...well, what else?). I got the sense people thought it was OK, but it could have been more. In order words, people had high hopes just like Batman v. Superman, and expected them to be dashed.

The movie is a reboot, not connected to the original GB-verse, and an origin story. Remember, we met the original Ghostbusters just after they establish themselves. This is different. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) , a physics professor at Columbia, is hoping for tenure, but it's threatened by a book she wrote with paranormal Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) that has re-emerged, Yates has a quirky partner in Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and all three girls eventually investigate a report of a ghost at a historic house. Erin gets slimed and admits ghosts are real. Too bad Columbia doesn't like that when they find out, and they fire her.

They soon meet Patty (Leslie Jones), an MTA clerk who also knows a lot about New York, after she encounters a ghost just after meeting a weird bellhop named Rowan (Neil Casey). He wants to unleash the undead on New York because he can, and he gets help on that from an unexpected source,

Most people think McKinnon is the most interesting of the group because she's really wacky, competing with Venkman's attitude. Unfortunately, we know the least about her. If only she was Venkman's niece. That would explain a lot. We do meet her mentor eventually, and it's a big surprise.
Wiig is the most reluctant only because her past interests ruined her career. Once the GBs get their business underway, she's more enthusiastic. McCarthy and Jones are also great as their roles.

Rowan, the Big Bad, is a disappointment. While he wants to rule the world with evil ghosts, there's no effort on why he wants to do that. He's actually more interesting when he takes different forms.
As for Chris Hemsworth, who plays Kevin the dopey receptionist, he's also more interesting when he takes a different form.
Some of the original cast also make appearances, and if you look close, you'll find them. One character makes a big return, much to the gals' chagrin. However, they seem more of a gimmick than part of the plot. The exception is Bill Murray as a ghost debunker who finds out if they really exist...the hard way.

It would have been better if there was some connection with the original, like at least Dr. Gilbert being a former student of Dr. Spengler (Harold Ramis). If Columbia's hoping to make this a franchise, though, at least it's a better start than how DC relied on Batman v. Superman to launch the Justice League. The new Ghostbusters can make their mark, now that they're together. For those who prefer guys doing that, though, they'll have to wait. Besides, who you gonna call? Chris Pratt was proposed but he'll be busy. Jim Parsons or Simon Hedberg or Michael Pena? Maybe.

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