- on Thursday, 14 July 2016 22:26
- by Loron Hays
Kate McKinnon. Kate McKinnon. Kate McKinnon. There’s no denying that her comedic chops are on full display throughout the much-ballyhooed all-female reboot of 1984’s Ghostbusters. IF everything else about Pail Feig’s effects-driven spectacle failed, the absolute magic she weaves as nuclear engineer, Jillian Holtzmann would still be reason enough to sit through it. She. Is. Hysterical. Pay attention to her and not the fact that the movie is essentially wearing a pair of gigantic shoes that it can’t even begin to fill.
Co-written and directed by Paul Feig (Spy, Bridesmaids), Ghostbusters circa 2016 shares several similarities with the original Ghostbusters. The film, like the original, has an affinity for supernatural portals over New York City, whipping out nuclear-powered proton packs to clean up the town with, and creating villains that somehow seem like an afterthought to the comedy. Though, unlike its predecessor, the new movie doesn’t really create anything new and is content enough to vibe alongside the original.
Thanks to YouTube moments where the girls get to formerly respond to the negative buzz their ghostbusting, sight unseen, was already receiving from the online community, the humor (more slapstick this time) generally works. In fact, the new team feels very welcoming in that “hey, let’s have a beer” sort of way. Too bad then that the material doesn’t always match their on-screen chemistry. The reboot – when not tripping on nostalgic tributes and cameos from the former cast – has a ghostbusting crew that effectively builds a successful comradery. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are good together, even if they do get swallowed by the chaotic CGI of the third act and helplessly watch their roles become damn near interchangeable.
In the movie, Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy), who once wrote a book together positioning that ghosts are real, are reunited when they cross paths again. Yates has republished their work and when Gilbert finds out about the reprinting (as it threatens to derail tenure talk at Columbia University) she shoves off to the tiny college basement Yates and the nuclear weirdness that is Holtzmann (McKinnon) work from. What she discovers down there is, ultimately, her future and the ladies are suddenly hunting ghosts and collecting ectoplasm in a historic mansion before hitting the big time.
The three-woman crew is quickly aided by Patty (Jones), an MTA worker with a knowledge of the city’s history the girls find helpful, and super-fan Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), an idiot receptionist who gets by on his good looks alone. With the cast quickly assembled and the jokes flying every which way, the watery plot attempts to focus on why a bunch of ghosts are suddenly making their presence known on the streets and stages of Manhattan.
The new team is fun and fully-charged in their ghostbusting ways. As usual, Feig is always at his directorial best when he works with a team-oriented approach to the humor. Some of the responses to the supernatural – and the plasticity of the girls’ faces with their reactions – are quite humorous. Remove the ensemble element and things begin to stumble a bit as the team realizes that someone (or something) is casually amplifying the paranormal activity inside the city. The film simply has no weight. The original – with spooky talk of the end of the world – had some depth, even if it was a comedy first and foremost.
Sure, the overblown CGI and 3D spectacle of green energy and restless spirits is powered by a flimsy reason and, sure, the big Stay Puft tip-of-the-hat moment leaves a sour taste in the mouth for any fan of the original but, in spite of those and other more, more, MORE elements kicking about inside the rumbling engine of the new Ecto-1, the new comedy manages to entertain enough when the ladies are left alone to do their thing which is, unfortunately, not enough of the time. In order for this reboot to really work, it needed to have broken free from the established path in a clean break. The female cast was a good start...but then...but then...we kick the same tires on the same car.
The girls can kick ass, catch ghosts, and (hopefully) sell movie tickets, too. Will we remember this, though? Eh. Not like we do the original. While the new Ghostbusters doesn’t escape from under the shadow of the franchise’s former glory, it does everything in its ectoplasmic power to, at the very least, deliver harmless, no-brained entertainment for a new generation of supernatural thrill seekers.
And no amount of love and respect for the original and its sequel (which, in my opinion, has aged surprisingly well) can find fault in the reboot for being, of all things, fun.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor
Runtime: 116 mins
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon
Genre: Comedy | Sci-Fi
Tagline: Answer the Call
Memorable Movie Quote: "Is it the boobs you don't like? Because I can make them... bigger."
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Official Site: http://www.ghostbusters.com/ghostbusters-2016/
Release Date: July 15, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 11, 2016
Synopsis: Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray - October 11, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD-50); UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
The HD transfer is crisp and soaking with color. There is a nice saturation to much of the material and the special effects are detailed, glossy, and literally explode from the black bars at the top and bottom of your screen. Widescreen be damned because these 3D effects are brazenly brilliant in their defying of the fourth wall. Filmed at 2.8K and finished at 2K, the blu-ray is a detail-loving whore who doesn’t mind all the attention. You simply can’t look away. Shadows have layers. Black levels are detailed and full of life. And the colors are solid throughout every setting. Nothing disappoints. Everything creates a mood for the picture that suggests the neon spooks of the afterlife. The fully-engaged sound is presented in a boldly expressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.
There are two commentaries. The one with Writer/Director Paul Feig and Writer Katie Dippold is of most interest. The second one features Editor Brent White, Producer Jessie Henderson, Production Designer Jeff Sage, Visual Effects Supervisor Pete Travers, and Special Effects Supervisor Mark Hawker and will be of interest to the techie kiddos out there.
Apparently, there’s little faith in getting a second one off the ground. That’s the only explanation for this release being (a) retitled and (b) retooled to include EVERYTHING associated with this remake. Clocking in at a whopping 3.5 hours of bonus material, there’s truly something for everybody to be found here. You get two versions of the film (when all you need is one as the other one is bloated and not any funnier) and two gag reels. Also included are 4 Unearthed deleted scenes, 11 alternate scenes. More than 60 minutes of additional extended and alternate scenes also make the up the supplemental material. There are alternate joke reels, 5 featurettes, and a photo gallery. A digital download is also available.
- Gag Reel Round 1 (7 min)
- Gag Reel Round 2 (8 min)
- Deleted Scenes (9 min)
- Extended & Alternate Scenes (22min)
- Jokes A Plenty (34 min)
- Meet the Team (8 min)
- The Ghosts of Ghostbusters (14 min)
- Visual Effects: 30 Years Later (15 min)
- Slime Time (5 min)
- Chris Hemsworth is "Kevin" (8 min)
- Photo Gallery