Friday, 22 July 2016

Ghostbusters (2016) is actually good!?

I had the awesome pleasure to be invited at the new Ghostbusters movie preview with my friends from Blogal Initiative Craiova. We had a great time at this new, hip theater called Inspire Cinema, in the city of Craiova, Romania, and if you ever find your way over here you just need to give it a chance. It's really inviting, best setting for a theater up on the 4th floor of the Mercur Shopping Center right in the downtown, can't miss it. Best part is, even if there's no movie you're interested in, the view up there is worth the visit.
As for the Ghostbusters reboot, I was surprisingly entertained during the entire viewing. But, since I'm not the best art critic, I'm not going to pretend that this is a review. Therefore I am going the less classy way and will compare it to the original 1984 movie, which just happens to be one of my favorite movies, alongside The Thing... and will also mention the internet outrage around the trailers and Paul Feig's comments.
Ghostbusters is an overall fun summer flick starring Kristen Wiig as the down to earth relatable character, Kate McKinnon, who just did her best to be the zaniest on the screen, Leslie Jones, who wasn't the stereotype they made her out to be in the trailers, and Melissa McCarthy, who played herself. Also, maybe the funniest presence was, in my opinion, Chris Hemsworth as Kevin the receptionist, an eccentrically dumb hunk who's just a refresher every time he's around. So, except for one typecasting, every actor portrayed characters filled with diverse personalities and, most importantly, quirks. There weren't any down-to-earth, Kristen Wiig-type character males, except Ernie Hudson's brief but funny appearance, and the villain was the cliche whitest white guy with a weird frustration upon all humanity as his sole motivation, but there was also a purposefully unlikable woman character, the secretary to that stereotypical always-in-denial mayor played wonderfully by Andy Garcia. What I'm trying to say is that the movie is not trying to be sexist in any way, at least not intentionally. So now that I've got this out of the way, let's talk about it in relation to the 1984 Ghostbusters with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and the late Harold Ramis, who all, except Ramis, had very small parts in this movie, more as their validation, their approval towards this production. They weren't distractions, they were winks to us who know their work well, and it was a good touch. I liked that and they were incredibly funny, most notably Aykroyd.
But how do the movies stack? Well, the 2016 Ghostbusters features a good cast of characters who can hold their own without drawing from the original like many other remakes, reboots and nostalgia-driven sequels do. Except for those little winks from the original cast, the movie tried its best to be as original as it could... at least it tried. It was kinda the same story, to be honest. Some smart working class citizens of New York decide to open a ghost busting venture after encountering a floating ghost woman in an old building, villain ghost possesses some schmuck and opens a portal that brings all sorts of crazy ghostly creatures to the land of the living, and it's up to our unlikely heroes to stop the madness while also fighting a huge white version of a logo; and it's their logo this time... But while the original Ghostbusters had a cast of simple, real people who were way over their heads in the whole ordeal, we feared for their well-being and rooted for them to succeed. Melissa McCarthy does cartwheels! Well, almost, but they dual wield proton handguns, throw proton grenades, and basically kill ghosts. They KILL GHOSTS! Think about that. They catch one ghost, and then they awkwardly improv-dance over rap music. You know, the original movie was a product of its time, like the quintessential ghost-catching montage, and so is this one. I get that. The jokes however were hit and miss. At least for me. I chuckled a few times, I had a smile on the whole time, and it even got me twice with a couple of jump-scares. But it started poorly with puerile poop and fart jokes, then transitioned into awkward commentaries, the kind where you can assume that the screenwriter wrote the entire script in dialogue, in which the characters have to banter and describe what is happening, basically explaining the joke, ruining it... Stop that! The original was witty, sarcastic and smartly satirical. Melissa McCarthy complains over soup four times.
The action is intense, it's loud and colorful, and so are the visual effects. While the first movie used mostly compositional and practical effects, this re-imagining, because that's what I see it as, uses mostly CGI (computer-generated imagery) creatures and effects, while also some compositions mixed with CGI, I think, like the first ghost woman. The first movie had also a darker tone, because the ratings were a lot more flexible, but now the movies tend to lessen the violence in search for a wider audience. That's good too, it brings more people, youngsters and nostalgics, to the theater and enjoy the Nickelodeon-style graphics for what they are, colorful but still effective. And if you're watching the 3D release, you're in for some fun. It's one of the few movies in which the 3D is noticeable, but just enough not to get distracting.
The movie holds amazingly well on its own. If you're a grumpy nostalgic, don't worry, it won't ruin your childhood, the original Ghostbusters will never be erased. Besides, the creators and actors of the new Ghostbusters were very artistically respectful to the roots. I don't see it becoming a classic, because its premise is not as original as it was 32 years ago, but it is highly enjoyable, it's funny, it's explosive and, despite some odd editing choices, like distracting fast cutting, it's a consistent adventure through a vapors-infested New York.
So, well, that wasn't terrible. No, it wasn't terrible at all.

Ghostbusters (2016) will have a wide release in most theaters and Cinema 3D Craiova on July 29. I, personally, enjoyed the movie and I hope you'll do too. If my viewing experience can be summed up in three words, those are colorful in regards to the visuals, laughter in regards to the atmosphere and crowd, and a general sense of surprise.

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