GOOD/BAD FILM CLUB: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)
by B Thornton- Harwood
Let me say before we start, I was very nervous going into this. Ghostbusters is up there with my favourite films, it’s got this wholesome, feel-good, sleepy Sunday afternoon vibe to it, that immediately slaps a shit eating grin across my face for the 90 minute duration. It’s a staple in the T-H household at Christmas, and it introduced me to the one and only Bill Fuckin’ Murray, so rest assured I was anxious over what the remake had in store.
Initially when I read the news of this most Holy of films being revived I screwed my face up into a snarl at my laptop screen. “You can’t remake Ghostbusters” I exclaimed, at precisely no one, “it’s bloody untouchable,” I continued in my fit of self-righteous rage, “it doesn’t put a bloody foot wrong, you wouldn’t bloody remake Pulp Fiction, or Back to the bloody Future would you?”
Indeed much of the Internet has still yet to get over the fact that intellectual property has been recycled for pretty much as long as people have been telling stories. The most hilarious being the Reddit-dwelling, mouth-breathing neck-beards who refuse to acknowledge that 4 women could possibly be funny on screen. I guess in much the same way that white dudes in the old days used to think that negroes couldn’t possibly be trusted with a vote. Or that you couldn’t possibly dip McNuggets in a strawberry shake and it be delicious. It’s a simply preposterous notion.
That’s by the by because these ladies are funny. In fact half of the cast proved they were funny in 2011’s hit Bridesmaids. Incidentally that falls into the category of movie that Die Hard does: I’ll watch it until completion if I stumble upon it on TV, regardless of what point the film is at, or indeed what time of the night it is.
Back to the point in hand- I was nervous, because the original is a film that truly means something to me, and Paul Feig’s retelling, whilst not without flaws, was funny throughout, and similarly to the original, left me with a big fat grin all over my face from start to finish.
It’s hardly ground breaking in terms of storyline; but it did have enough of its own life and character to stand up by itself. Kirsten Wiig was awesome as per, Melissa McCarthy wasn’t too Melissa McCarthy, which we can all agree is a good thing, whilst their chemistry as a pair was reminiscent of Bridesmaids.
Then we have Kate McKinnon, who was genuinely laugh out loud funny, whilst being maximum babe. And finally Leslie Jones who had a tendency to overact a little, perhaps playing up to the big shouty black lady, a little like Kevin Hart plays the short shouty black guy, but overall was more reserved and funny than I expected.
It was also self-aware. It took shots at the Internet bozos and the communal aggression that comes with an anonymous voice. It nodded to the original source material in well thought-out ways, the cameos made my face light up and on more than one occasion I literally squeeled with glee. There was also no completely pointless relationship subplot shoehorned in, and some of the gags were the same level of subdued, polished humour that made the original so flawless.
That’s not to say it didn’t have its faults. Some gags were WAY over egged; some were slapped on so thick they’d have the SPF protection to save a ginger kid with eczema; some were written for the lowest common denominator of the Mrs Browns Boys loving public; some lines were I believe stolen directly out of scripts Adam Sandler failed to get to theatres. But overall, pretty good. Not like really good. But, yeah, pretty good.
Whilst I don’t think this will be added to my Christmas movie list any time soon, I don’t think it deserves nearly the amount of backlash it’s received online. We live in a world where films are remade, and we’ve just got to suck it up and get on with it, and whilst remakes will very rarely surpass their predecessors, if they give us the same warm fuzzy feeling when the credits roll then they’ve done an alright job.