geoffrey gauchet

Ghostbusters (2016) Review

I've been a huge fan of the entire Ghostbusters franchise from the first film to the second one and the cartoon and the toys. I got Egon for Easter one year and brought him to church and made him capture the Holy Spirit. I went to go see the new Paul Feig directed, female-lead Ghostbusters this weekend and as it has been a relatively controversial movie, I felt I would review it. Lots of fans of the original were worried that it would destroy the original and that an all-female cast would be insulting and terrible. Unfortunately, they're 100% correct.

The movie starts out with all of the women watching Broad City and saying how the only way the show could be better is if all of the men in it died, but not just the characters, the real live men who play them, too. This seemed out of place, but Hannibal's character can be a little too on-the-nose sometimes, so I didn't give it much extra thought. After this discussion, Kate McKinnon tears out every page with a picture of a man on it out of every magazine in the house, balls it up, throws it into a waste basket, and sets it on fire. The four women gather around the waste basket, hold hands, and Melissa McCarthy leads a chant that goes something like "The fall of the patriarchy began with the fall of Harold Ramis! We will continue our Sisters' work and bring down each of the remaining Ghostbusters!". I found this part a bit confusing as it recognizes the previous film which seemed a little "meta", unless they're acknowledging the existence of Ghostbusters having existed before them, which just seemed odd, especially since they also acknowledge that Harold Ramis played one? I pressed on though.

The next thirty minutes of the film consisted of them buying tampons and Googling things like "how kill man untraceable" and "bill murray home address". The most egregious moment in the movie, at least for me, was when Leslie Jones, armed with a chart of the female anatomy and a laser pointer, breaks the fourth wall and speaks only to the men in the audience and explains where the "G-spot" is. This made me uncomfortable because the G-spot (the Ghostbusters' headquarters, I presume) is shown throughout the movie and is very visible. Even if we never go right up to it, we're right across the street from it, and honestly, I'm sure that's good enough.

It's at this point in the movie where we encounter our first ghost. It's our old pal Slimer! However, the green spectre now has breasts (not cartoonishly large ones, however). That's right -- Slimer is now a woman. In context, it makes sense, but it just seems weird that almost every character in the film is played by a woman and there's only like three men and they're basically just eye candy. A gross, always-hungry, subtlely horny, blobby male ghost would've been something to which I could relate.

We watch the women battle several ghosts, mostly through civil discourse and reason and very little ProtonPak use, which was a huge letdown for me. I think the scene when Kristen Wiig calms down a ghost in a library by asking how it felt and what its relationship with its parents was like, bringing it to tears and realizing its past was the real monster was moving, but I can't help but feel the millions spent on ProtonPaks and containment units is going to waste at this point.

A shining moment in the film was when Chris Hemsworth walks on screen -- that's right, Thor himself! I was very excited to see the man who was in a different movie I recognized him from. It made me comfortable. Unfortunately, all Thor is allowed to do is stand in front of people on a street corner, shirtless with "I am the system" painted on his chest in lipstick, while he dances chained to a fire hydrant.

Once all of the ghosts were captured at the end and the city was throwing them a parade, Dan Aykroyd came on screen, knelt down, pulled out a bowie knife (very cool!) and cut off his penis and yelled "I am no longer a slave to you, serpent!" and as he held it up one final ghost flew by and ate it and everyone cheered. I don't think I understood this. Was his penis (serpent) a ghost? Was Aykroyd possessed? And further, was he playing himself or a character? It was too confusing for me.

The credits rolled while the new version of the classic theme song played, performed by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliot. This was the best part of the film, honestly. After the credits, stick around, because there's a bonus scene: all four women free-bleed for 86 minutes while saying nothing.

All in all, the special effects were cool, but the film seemed to bounce between plot and referencing the real world a lot.


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