Review: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Review: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)

Review: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)

In this GHOSTBUSTERS reboot, physics professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and paranormal expert Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) alongside Abby's nuclear engineer friend Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) join forces to establish their own ghost-busting business after being kicked out from their institutions. Then along came Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a New York City-savvy subway worker who decides to quit her job and joins them as the new recruit. After gaining fame for successfully catching a ghost in the rock concert, they soon find themselves in the most challenging mission yet: to stop an otherworldly apocalypse that is about to unleash in the city.

REVIEW: Believe it or not, it has been 27 years since the last GHOSTBUSTERS. That was way back in 1989 when GHOSTBUSTERS II premiered to a mixed response. But over the decades, the GHOSTBUSTERS legacy still lives on through various medias ranging from comic books to animated series (The Real Ghostbusters) and video games. Despite the sequel's less-than-stellar result, there has been a plan for GHOSTBUSTERS III. In fact, actor-writer Dan Aykroyd even wrote a script back in the 1990s. Titled as GHOSTBUSTERS 3: HELLBENT, the story would feature the team being transported into another dimension -- specifically an alternate world of hellish Manhattan a.k.a. Manhelltan. Soon, more scripts were written but none of them managed to go beyond the scripting stage. Then came Harold Ramis' untimely death at age 69 in February 2014, which prompted the first two GHOSTBUSTERS director Ivan Reitman to step down. Later that year, BRIDESMAIDS and SPY director Paul Feig finally took over the franchise and decided to reboot the whole thing with a female-centric cast.

Flash forward to 2016, the GHOSTBUSTERS reboot has finally arrived amidst all the negative buzz. As a fan of the 1984's GHOSTBUSTERS myself, I tried my best not to draw the comparison between the original and the reboot as I wanted to keep an open mind.

First of all, this is what I like about the reboot: Robert Yeoman's cinematography is crisp and the vibrant special effects look good enough in IMAX 3D during the press screening. The all-hell-breaks-loose climactic showdown between the Ghostbusters and various form of spectres has its fair share of fun and excitement, complete with a slow-motion scene where Jillian single-handedly takes down the ghosts with her nifty gizmos. The cameo appearances from some of the original GHOSTBUSTERS cast are definitely a nice touch. Chris Hemsworth, in the meantime, displays a satisfying level of goofy charm to his dumb assistant character as Kevin. This is the second time he proves his comedic talent following his surprisingly funny turn in 2015's VACATION.

Now, here's the bad: Despite enlisting recognisable SNL talents by the likes of Kristen Wigg, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, their overall chemistry is surprisingly muted. Most of the jokes either fall flat or trying too hard to be funny. The plot, which credited to Feig and Katie Dippold, is spotty in places and the pace is inconsistent. The overall soundtrack is mediocre. Even the Missy Elliott and Fall Out Boy's pumped-up redo of Ray Parker, Jr.'s pop classic "Ghostbusters" is instantly forgettable.

Overall, the GHOSTBUSTERS reboot feels like a standard-issue supernatural comedy. As much as Feig is bold enough for turning this beloved property into a gender-switching reboot, he doesn't really do anything new about it. Frankly, his direction is largely pedestrian and there are many times he relies heavily on the previous GHOSTBUSTERS movies to stitch everything together.

ALSO READ: Retrospective: GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) and GHOSTBUSTERS II (1989)

By relying too much on the nostalgia factor and playing too safe with the formula, Paul Feig's all-female GHOSTBUSTERS reboot ends up more like a glossy but uninspired supernatural-comedy blockbuster.

* This review is written courtesy from Sony Pictures Malaysia IMAX 3D press screening *

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