Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ghostbusters 2016: A Review

Let's start.

I give this film a 7.5 to 8/10. I really enjoyed watching this movie. The ladies were funny, and reacted well to each other. Sometimes the two leads played by Kristen Wiig and Mellissa McCarthy, who had "history" fell a little flat, but overall they were entertaining. I have to give props to them being the new players in town, and attempting to provide a deeper backstory to the overall film plot. I think the characters of Gilbert and Yates deserved a mini-flashback to help show how these two came to be. I am just not sure how they could have worked it into the movie without ruining the tempo for the rest of the story.

By far, I fell in love with the characters Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones played. Holtzmann and Patty were some very strong comedic powers in this movie. They each played their parts well, and brought a unique chemistry to each of the scenes they decided to steal. In fact, the first true ghost hunt as "Ghostbusters" these two were the stars. Holtzmann was funny, bringing levity during a scene with creepy overtones. Patty outright stole the show with her commentary. Her presence and responses to the outrageous scenario were keyed perfectly. I won't spoil it here, but there are some Dr. Who fans like my daughter who will get a kick out of at least part of that first capture scene.

Do I think this film overtakes the original? I don't think that is a fair comparison at this time. In some aspects it is a superior piece. Others, it performs less well. In the "Less well..." category I would say that there is some initial difficulty to get the lead characters to mesh. As I mentioned before, Gilbert and Yates need a bit more work to get their history out and laid out. It can be tough though, with the limits of time and proper story pacing to get all of those details out there. I am a writer, and I know how long it can take to explain the backstory of a character dynamic. Writers have to be careful they don't get stuck spending time explaining all the time.

The movie does do a better job than the original making it a "team" activity though. Much of the original Ghostbusters movies were spent with team Venkman, Team Ray & Egon, and Team Winston. Poor, poor Winston, who got a total of how many lines in the film? And he rarely made it into marketing materials. Hell, the poor guy wasn't even on the advertising posters as an actor in the film. Do you see "Ernie Hudson" on that poster? I don't. I think it is a testament to what COULD have been had Aykroyd been allowed to properly develop the character. He got very little time in the movie, and even less attention in marketing. I don't know if it was a racial issue, but it sure as hell initially looks like one. I don't want to delve into that issue for now.

In the new film, Patty has probably 1000 more things to say and do. And while I understand the criticism that many had that she was the lone Ghostbuster without a highly technical degree under her belt, I don't think it fairly values her personal knowledge. Her ability to recall information, and her historical knowledge of the city was astounding. I believe they laid some great foundations for Patty to become the incredibly valuable city history and connections asset to the team. "Need a book on the occult? Oh I know a guy that has a corner store, where crazy ass books have been showing up in his store for years, and this thing happened there....." Patty is set up to be a very valuable member of the team - in addition to being one of the funnier members.

My daughter was also a huge huge fan of Holtzmann. Egon and Ray didn't speak to her the same way this crazy haired excitable engineer did. That is nothing bad on them. While my daughter liked the original Ghostbusters, she didn't get as excited for Egon as she did Holtzmann. Honestly I think it was because Holtzmann danced and played with the silly hats (as you saw in a trailer so no spoilers there). Egon was much more dry and well, Egon-ish.

Overall, the film was a solid piece, maybe missing the special magic of all original films, but the film was entertaining. It's a piece that is getting way more flack from one segment of the population than it should. This is where I dive into a special bag of rage, and use math to defend the point being made.

Guys, what is your deal? No seriously, ladies you can check out for this. Guys, Dudes, Dudorino's - what the hell is your problem? Look at that image at right. Take a look at it. The bell curve suggests that the movie rating should be between seven and eight. However a section, and by section I mean a lot of angry men and wee little boys, decided that 'How dare they remake my movie!' and rated it a one. And if you look at each breakdown, the bell curve peaks at seven for men if you remove the one's. For women it peaks at eight in most categories.

Now one can argue that it's not sexism, but the trend occurs when women are leads in films over their male counterparts. covered this and explained that it is a common event. When women lead the movie - guys suddenly drop ones for ratings, and women stand alone. Since guys outnumber women on sites like IMDB and others, the ratings for the movies are artificially lowered.

I find this disappointing. Obviously not everyone is feeling the vitriol this group feels about women showing up in the remake of a classic. However when it can be shown statistically, by one of the most respected statisticians (if we ever had a respected one to begin with) that obviously there are some angry people making decisions based on who they see in a film - that says something.  First, it angers me because these actresses obviously worked their butts off. And to add to it, Leslie Jones has been dealing with racist ass-holes making ape and monkey jokes at her since the movie came out. Second - we need to take each movie on it's own merits. Many of our stories have been redone, and redone, and redone, and redone. Our main story points we use to tell tales are pretty standardized. You are there to find an escape. Third, give the movie a fair chance. It deserves your time and our daughters deserve it.

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