In 1984, I was 2 years old, my little brother hadn't been born, and frankly, I don't remember shit from that year. However, there is one thing that was created that year (other than my brother) that had a huge impact on my life. The brainchild of Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd, with some directorial vision from Ivan Reitman, "Ghostbusters" would go on to be one of my favorite films growing up. Hell, 5 years later when the sequel came out, I loved the hell out of that, too. So yes, one could very easily say that "Ghostbusters" is sort of a sacred cow for me. I used to watch the cartoon, play with the action figures... growing up one of my greatest toy dreams was to get that firehouse playset. When I went to New York City several years back, seeing that firehouse was one of the must-do items on my agenda (it was literally above a number of other favorite tourist-y locations. I need to lay this out there, so you understand just how much this franchise means to me on a personal level.
Now, some additional information, a little less happy. I despise Melissa McCarthy (as an actress... never met her personally, she could be a very nice lady), similarly, I can't stand Kristen Wiig (I blame her annoying characters from SNL... Again, she might be a nice person... can't say.) And finally, I believe that Paul Feig's directorial work is a pox on the industry.
I understand that people like these individuals, please, just keep reading before you bombard me with your scorn, and hate mail. Because I'm about to piss off another group of people.
I went to see this based on three things. My admiration for Leslie Jones (who I think is fucking hilarious), and my love of Kate McKinnon (as an actress, not a personal thing... since yet again I don't know her personally). Finally, I went in because... at the end of the day, I can't help but be drawn in by the allure of this beloved childhood memory brought to life for a new generation.
Going into the film, I was a very vocal detractor of the movie. My strong dislike of half the primary cast, as well as the director scared the hell out of me. However, a friend convinced me to go, because... even if it was utter shit, If nothing else, I'd have something to write about.
Now, having let the movie stew in my head for a little while, and with an Ecto Cooler in hand, I am ready to say, that the movie is.... Fairly average.
No, it's not the horrible killer of my childhood that it was made out to be. Nor was it a gut-busting, laugh-a-minute comedy. It was resoundingly middle of the road, an opinion that I am sure is flavored, at least in part, by my dislike of the comedic stylings of two of the primary cast.
There are some good comedic moments scattered throughout, though. As expected, the things that got me the most, were Kate and Leslie, as well as the cameos. Throughout, there are some good nods toward the original movie, that helped to bring the whole thing together.
But first, what didn't work for me.
As is to be expected, I found the performances of Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy to be grating, but not exceptionally so. Essentially the things about them that have annoyed me in the past were just put on full display. Frankly, I think I could have forgiven most of Kristen Wiig's performance if it hadn't been for the fact that she turned into more of a gibbering idiot every time Chris Hemsworth showed up... I get it, they want to show that she finds him attractive, and apparently must emphasize that to an insane degree.
By far the worst thing about this movie, was the Fallout Boy theme song (which I think I only heard a brief bit of in the actual movie). It's grating, and the thought of accidentally hearing it again is enough to keep me away from the soundtrack CD, or honestly from ever seeing this film again. (I kid... a bit. More on that shortly).
Now for the things I actually really enjoyed about this film.
Kate McKinnon was delightful. Not only did she provide the only science-y portion of the three "scientists" in the film, she was also the most high energy character they had. She showed true excitement for what she was doing. On top of all that, she also had one of the most badass scenes in the entire movie. Dual Proton Pistols are awesome!
Leslie Jones managed to play up her role as the "every man" (or I suppose "every woman" might be appropriate here?). She operates well as the regular person in a room of scientists. While I had heard bad things about her role going into this, I was pleasantly surprised at how well she fit into the whole dynamic. Honestly, my only complaint is she was under-utilized. Hopefully she can be used more in a potential sequel?
Chris Hemsworth had one of the best parts that wasn't part of the actual movie itself. It's a during the credits scene, and honestly, it got one of the few laughs I had during the movie's run time.
All in all... there was actually some really enjoyable parts to the movie, and in my mind it was worth the price of admission for Kate McKinnon's role alone.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The movie is, surprisingly enough, worth a viewing. I'd say go in with an open mind, and avoid comparing it directly to the originals. On the most part, it is family friendly, barring a single scene that went on too long involving the middle finger, but barring that, I think this is something the whole family can enjoy.
IS IT THEATER-WORTHY: You know, for me this is always a tough one. I liked it well enough on the big screen, but I think it will play better in a home-theater setting. I'm fairly sure this one will end up in my collection at some point. It might be worthwhile for the 3D, as there appeared to be some good opportunity for 3D in this film, since my head was already hurting, I avoided the 3D.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is not some magical childhood killer. The movie pays homage to the originals, and managed to incorporate several surviving members of the original cast. There are some borrowed beats, but I think that only helps to add to the nostalgia aspect. Kate and Leslie make this movie, hands down. And Chris Hemsworth, while his character can be grating, offers up some great comedic moments. I'll admit, I am often too hard on Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, and would recommend that if you are a fan of those two, this movie is definitely for you.
FINAL SCORE: 6 out 10