This review was originally published on CinemAbysmal
Ghostbusters 3D (2016) – Comedy
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy
How I Watched: Theatres
Best Line: “Do NOT compare me to the Jaws Mayor!”
I love everything about the Ghostbusters universe. I grew up absolutely enthralled, playing with the firehouse, the corresponding figurines, multiple Slimer toys, the list goes on. I’ve got the first two installments on Laserdisc and have grabbed each new format that comes out what seems like every year. So when I got the news that Paul Feig was bringing us a new Ghostbusters, I was both excited and admittedly skeptical. How could I not be?
Feig is a funny man. He created Freaks and Geeks for us all, was one of the funniest parts of a horribly underappreciated film called Heavyweights, and has continued the traditions of the Judd Apatow school of drama-injected comedy. He also is a self-confessed Ghostbusters geek, so it makes sense why he was so dead set on bringing a new one to all of us. He knows this universe well and he did everything he could to bring us a faithful adaptation that does nothing to receive the vicious scrutiny thrown its way before the movie even had a chance to hit theatres.
This new installment is not without faults, though. It’s hard to live up to one of the most perfect comedies ever given to the world, but this film is loaded with all the capabilities and opportunity that I’ve ever seen. We all know from Bridesmaids, just how funny Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are together. Trust me, I was not all that impressed with that film the first time I saw it, but after I gave it a second chance, I have come to appreciate just how funny it is. Sure it has what I like to call the ‘Apatow Freeze’ (hilarious up until the middle of the movie, where the characters are suddenly facing some kind of depressing crisis), but its improv powers become more prevalent and hilarious with each viewing.
Though they feel a bit suppressed in Ghostbusters, Wiig and McCarthy do a pretty excellent job filling the shoes of both Aykroyd and Murray, while still carving their own place in this universe. I was under the impression that this new film was going to acknowledge the events of the first two. While it doesn’t really, the whole film feels like a loving tribute to those original two. Leslie Jones is much funnier and more prominent than Ernie Hudson (whose character was actually written for Eddie Murphy, then practically written out of the script once Murphy turned the part down) and Kate McKinnon pretty much steals the whole movie as the Spengler-inspired Holtzmann. Honestly, she’s going to be a force in Hollywood for a long time. If you’ve enjoyed her like I have on SNL for the past few years, you’ll love her character in Ghostbusters.
If there’s one thing I can knock from the first two installments, it’s the lack of making the ghosts a real force in the storyline. Sure, Vigo the Carpathian brings a Lovecraftian presence to II, and Gozer and the Marshmallow Man hold their place in the first, but they are not really frightening in the least. While the ghosts in the 2016 version are not really scary either, they look great and feel like they’re really part of the whole storyline. Slimer is back of course, and there are some new towering spectral entities destroying New York for our enjoyment.
The 2016 Ghostbusters is not perfect. Ramis, Aykroyd and Reitman brought us the perfect version back in 1984, so this one simply could not live up to that. What this new one brings though, is a very loving, affectionate trip into the universe, and rather than a replacement that it seemed like the entire internet feared (misogynist and otherwise), I’d consider this an additional installment in the Ghostbusters universe that already exists. So of course, you can say this new version is unnecessary and a smear on the first two movies. Real fans of the Ghostbusters films though, will consider this the Ghostbusters III that we’ve all been waiting for.
Final Score: 3/4
Similar Films: Ghostbusters (1984), Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters II