Film

Ghostbusters (Paul Fieg, 2016)

Okay, I realise this is not a sophisticated New Wave arthouse film exploring identity, morality, cultural differences, social issues or other philosophical questions about the meaning of life and art etc., but I think the comparisons between old Hollywood and new Hollywood mainstream entertainment ‘movies’ is always interesting, especially for a film as cultish, iconic and loved as Ghostbusters (Ivan Rietman, 1984); a film that arguably embodied the horror-comedy genre and put its cast and director into the big time.

However, besides the abysmal Suicide Squad (David Ayers, 2016), I’d felt this was another great disappointment, essentially rebooted by a company marketing executives for family friendly audiences and to maximise box office sales.


People will probably argue that it’s still a nice feelgood, funny comedy with some great special effects, and that  it presents some positive female characters as the underdogs overcoming adversity. Overall it’s similar  to Men In Black (1997), another studio favourite and box office smash, with just the right level of action and laughs to appeal to all ages.


Perhaps I’m cynical, and that this film isn’t really marketed for me anyway, but I think this film could’ve been a lot more interesting had the studio not decided to kiddify it; although I expect plenty of 30+ adults will go see this as they did Shrek (2001) and The Nutty Professor (1996), since slapstick humour is for everyone.


Interestingly, it dawned on me recently that the main differences between the original film and the reboot, was that the original had some genuinely creepy/scary moments (the hands in the sofa, demon chasing Rick Moranis,  Sigourney Weaver possessed, rotting corpse cabdriver etc) and  some great political incorrect/fratboy jokes (most of Bill Murray scenes, all of Moranis’s scenes and when Dan Aykroyd has sex with a ghost)


The reboot has plenty of jokes, but nothing too sexual or offensive.  I thought Kirsten Wiig was great in Bridesmaid (2011) and Welcome to Me (2014), and was expecting a lot more subversive humour, but what ended up as one-liners and the cast acting Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura (1994) or jokes about wonton soup. Most of these jokes aren’t that funny, and the scenes with the cast testing their weapons is overused.


ghostbusters


The original film was adapted from a script that was a labour of love for Dan Aykroyd, a true believer in the supernatural, and who’d already had big success with the fratboy comediennes, Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray, such as Stripes (1981), SNL and Trading Places (1983). Perhaps this gives the film a certain authenticity, since the scares seem frightening, and the cast do seem like genuine jackasses.


The film could’ve been darker like Paranormal Activity (2007) or The Conjuring (2013) with some adult humour, producing something funny and disturbing like Sean of the Dead (2004). Instead there’s a nerd (probably a guy who posts movie reviews on FB) who decides to destroy the world with ghosts and Chris Hemsworth making jokes about Peter Pan.

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