Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ghostbusters 2016 Impressions

This is post number 16 in the series “31 Days of Ghostbusters,” a celebration of the franchise’s return to the big screen.

I know not everybody is going to love this movie (either because they watch it and it doesn’t work for them, or because they pre-judge and decide they won’t like it in advance), but that’s okay. The new movie doesn’t have to take the place of the original for anyone. The new one won’t hurt your memories or steal your childhood. And there’s a chance that, like me, you’ll end up liking it.

And also like Patton Oswald...


I liked the new Ghostbusters movie. To me, it felt like it respected the original films, both in its inclusion of the original actors in cameo roles and in its fond treatment of the subject matter. It didn’t feel like one of those reboots where they change things from the original just for the sake of changing things.

Other than needing a more unique title, I believe Ghostbusters (2016) is capable of standing alone, both as a film and as a jumping-on point for a new franchise. In no way do I think it is rebelling from its origins, or trying to leave its own history behind, but at the same time I think the franchise is now well-positioned to give us new, modern stories.

I can’t help thinking of another unfortunately-named movie, Star Trek (2009). That film forged a fresh start for its franchise by creating an in-universe alternate timeline to both explain the film’s changes to the Star Trek universe and to allow future movies to leave the original history behind. Ghostbusters (2016) didn’t take that route, but it did similarly work to show respect for the original audience, and now that that initial work is done, future stories can branch off from it and simply be their own thing.

I liked the cast, and their interaction, and I look forward to seeing more of them. (Of course, I already liked all of them from their previous roles, especially Saturday Night Live.) I also enjoyed the supporting actors, especially the original Ghostbusters (in new but still entertaining roles).

Here’s the best compliment I can give to the new movie: it was full of cool ideas. We got new ghost-busting tech, fun new ghosts, a good villain, and good use of paranormal “science.” And the slime…my god the slime. Where the original Ghostbusters featured slime as a background detail and the source of some good jokes, the new one brings it front and center. You’ll see slime in just about every ecto-encounter. For me, that’s neither good nor bad, but notable.

My only real negative, I guess, was that the tone of the movie sometimes veered into Saturday Night Live territory. I’m that show’s Number One Fan, but sometimes comedy that focuses too hard on bodily functions isn’t the best fit for a scene. (I must note that the version of me from 1984, when Ghostbusters came out, would not agree with that sentence.)

But I liked most everything else about the movie. The music was good (I’m looking forward to my CD arriving), the ghosts looked great, I liked the story, and I laughed out loud more times than I could count.

I will always prefer the original Ghostbusters movie, but that’s not my point today. I think the new movie is good, too, and I’ll be able to accept the fact that we’re about to encounter kids who love Ghostbusters—but have never seen the original.