Film Reviews

GHOSTBUSTERS

By • Jul 14th, 2016 •

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The screenwriters love Kate McKinnon and dismiss Leslie Jones. The biggest laugh goes to Zach Woods in the opening scene. Stay for Hemsworth dance during the credits.

I liked the original GHOSTBUSTERS but that was 1984. It was just another movie for me. I saw it once. It holds no hallowed place on AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films Of All Time or any list of top films. So why not remake it? When Hollywood decides to remake CITIZEN KANE, then I sign the petition against remaking classics.

With Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of BEN-HUR opening on August 19, 2016, is a remake of GONE WITH THE WIND far behind?

GHOSTBUSTERS has female star power all over it with headliner Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig as former best friends Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert. Erin has gone on to have an illustrious career as a scientist up for tenure while Abby runs a lab attempting to prove the existence of ghosts. Abby’s assistant is uber-scientist Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). When subway toll booth operator Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) confronts a hairy ghost in the tunnels, she decides to work with the three women. They are soon named “Ghostbusters”.

The new team needs not only headquarters but an assistant. When dazzling beauty Chris Hemsworth turns up as dimwitted Kevin, it is apparent that he is dumb but so damn cute he is hired. Erin takes an instant liking to Kevin. The other women follow her lead. Knowing how to answer a phone is a task that can be learned.

(And Hemsworth is not only a good sport but a terrific dancer. Stay and see him dance through the credits. I insist he returns if there is a sequel.)

Neglected creep Rowan North (Neil Casey) summons up nasty ghosts to destroy mankind. If only Rowan had been loved by his mother.

I am not offended by Hollywood remaking films in their vaults. But I am sick and tired of the remakes dragging out the former stars for cameos. I do not care. Let those old Hollywood stars stay in timeless agelessness. Let us remember them as young and sexy. We made them stars! However, this is now a requirement that soon even dying will not stop an actor or actress from the original to do a cameo in the remake. Special Effects techs will resurrect Marlon Brando when they do the remake of THE GODFATHER. He’ll play a wedding guest with a problem that needs solving.

So, for a very nice check for a day’s work, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd (one of the 13 executive producers), Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson show up. Harold Ramis, who died in 2014, will be slipped into the movie in a few years when the technology improves. I must say Bill Murray’s wardrobe as Dr. Peter Venkman is a standout.

Melissa McCarthy steps down her well-loved abrasive movie personality for a role that is sort of sweet. Kate McKinnon was given a great deal of latitude in presenting her character. She presents as she might be gay or she might be into muscle men on meth who fix motorcycles. She’s omni-indifferent. She might be otherworldly but she is happy on this planet. McKinnon’s take on her character is, if she accidentally kills one of the team, it’s the price of a thinking-forward experiment.

The serious sounding scientific jargon was believable. After all, Quantum Mechanics is just an agreed-upon theory.

The only way McKinnon and Hemsworth could get away with such wild improvisation is because the director, Paul Feig, encouraged it. Unfortunately, with McKinnon giving high attitude in all the scenes she is in – and walking off with the movie – Feig forgot about Leslie Jones. Her character is the only non-scientist. And, since Jones is about 2 feet taller than the rest of the ladies, Feig should have choreographed the group scenes in a manner that did not exaggerate – or call attention to – her height. Why did Jones have to do her own hair at home? If Hollywood magic cannot make you movie star presentable, who can?

Written by Katie Dippold and Paul Feig (and the other guys, Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis with writing credits for the original) and the rumored free-style improvisation, the women click with comradery and good will.

GHOSTBUSTERS is required to go special effects crazy and it is by-the-book chaos. New York City is once again demolished by a big fat doughy ghost and wild, vaguely familiar ghost characters turn up. The necessary ending sets up the sequel. The GHOSTBUSTERS move into the $21,000 a month (utilities not included) firehouse. And the sequel needs Aubrey Plaza as Kevin’s girlfriend.

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com.

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