A film that has been lambasted with controversy and uproar ever since it was announced is Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot. The film has sparked plenty of debates and had moviegoers up in arms for months now. However, the wait is finally over and the call is being answered... the verdict is in.

1984's original Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson as our eponymous team, was an absolutely incredible film - praised today as a comedy classic. However, when it was revealed that there was going to be a reboot with an all-female cast, fans didn't take too kindly to the news and, ever since that day, even long before the film had begun filming, well before people had seen the film, it has been receiving lots of serious hate. I'll admit, the marketing campaign for the 2016 Ghostbusters has been truly awful and had done nothing to get me even remotely excited for the film, but I do think that prematurely criticising any film, regardless of what it is, is unfair. I'm a big fan of director Paul Feig's work and of the comedic talent involved in this film too. I had no expectations from it whatsoever, in all honesty, but was holding out hope. Having seen the film now, I am pleased to report that it's a very solid, fun movie. Ghostbusters is by no means great, but nor is quite as awful as people are expecting it to be either; it's typical Hollywood, blockbuster fare and it's funny and stylish and pretty entertaining.

The film wastes no time in telling its story, jumping straight into the action and establishing the premise right from the off, opening with a tense scene in which a ghost is set loose in a haunted house. We're then introduced to the intelligent and respected Dr. Erin Gibson (Kristen Wiig), a lecturer at Columbia University. When a book she wrote in her past about the paranormal comes back and threatens to expose her as a crazy scientist, she is forced to find her old friend, and co-writer of the book, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), and tries to persuade her to take the novel down. However, when they come across real paranormal activity tormenting Manhattan, the pair - alongside Yates' current lab-partner Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), MTA subway worker Patty (Leslie Jones) and their not-so-bright receptionist Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) - band together and put all their knowledge and ability to save the city from the otherworldly threat.

As I mentioned, I'm a big fan of the talent on this project. Paul Feig is a great comedic filmmaker - his last few films, from Bridesmaids to The Heat to Spy have all been hilarious - and the cast he has assembled for his latest endeavour are all funny too. To no surprise, Ghostbusters works best as a Feig film; when it focuses on its characters and their dynamic with its sharp, snappy comedic dialogue, it excels. Ivan Reitman - who directed the original films - is on writing duties and it's when the film focuses on the camaraderie between our leads that his screenplay is at its best, fairly funny at times; there are plenty of great jokes on offer and I found myself chuckling a decent bit. It's also surprisingly quite a chilling and scary picture at times too, more so than the original, and Feig brings a nice balance of comedy and horror to the table. In fact, his direction overall is fairly slick. However, where this film falters and falls short of being better, is when it tries to be anything more than just a Feig comedy, most especially a Ghostbusters movie. It's a fun film but it feels the need to constantly pay homage to the 1984 original or remind audiences that it is a reboot of that film, with unnecessary and very forceful nostalgic beats and callbacks to the Reitman-directed flick.
The cast is all on top form here. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are all truly wonderful as our new Ghostbusters, capably honouring the original cast whilst standing apart from them too. There is some palpable chemistry between the group too and their energy and camaraderie is just so infectious and fun to watch. Wiig and McCarthy are both, as always, terrific as our leads, but SNL comedians Jones and McKinnon hold their own against the Feig-regulars and are just as hilarious to watch too - the former isn't annoying like the trailers depicted her to be; the latter is the standout from our ladies. McKinnon is by far the best new addition; she is just so crazy and energetic and hilarious. Even when she isn't saying anything, her mere expressions and presence are just so damn funny and entertaining. However, it's Chris Hemsworth that steals the show as Kevin. Earning the belly share of the film's laughs, you can't help but wonder why you've never seen him in more comedies before because he is truly hilarious. However, the film can go overboard in trying to portray just how dumb his character is - he's not the brightest bulb in the box, we get it, no need to keep hitting us over the head with it. In all honesty, the entire main cast and supporting cast all give very fine performances here but it's easily Hemsworth and McKinnon that steal the show.

With the callbacks to the original film, Feig's Ghostbusters stars the original cast in small cameos but they're all so pointless and unnecessary, frankly. The first half of the film is by far the strongest; we get a lot of character building and comedy between our leads and it's competent to watch. However, Reitman feels it's necessary to constantly callback to the original so has shoehorned a lot of cameos and easter eggs into his screenplay and each one is as frustrating and as obvious as the next. In most films, cameos feel seamless and organic but each one is so forced and contrived here that every time one of the original Ghostbusters from the 1984 film appears (or any reference to it, really), this grinds to a painstaking halt. It happens so often too that it makes the film feel very choppy and messy; the pacing is all off, flowing one moment then coming to a stop the next for an unnecessary moment of nostalgia. Where this worked in favour of the film in Jurassic World or even The Force Awakens, the effect is the totally opposite this time. When Ghostbusters lets Feig do his own thing, it's good, but Sony has to connect the property to the classic we all know and love, rather than let this stand apart as its own thing, so it falls apart there.

Aside from this, though, I feel like Ghostbusters doesn't deserve all the hate it's receiving. The trailers were atrocious but the film has still managed to surprise us all. It's not great (it's flawed, for sure) but it's a solid, competent flick that has some moments of enjoyment, nonetheless. Visually, this film is gorgeous too and very colourful. In the 3 decades since the original released, technology has improved vastly and the ghosts all look stunning and real here. As a blockbuster, Ghostbusters feels epic and huge and the finale is your typical, Summer, SFX driven, popcorn-flick fare - McKinnon easily has the best scene in the film here, absolutely kicking ghost ass - which can be good and bad; it's big and bloated and a bit meaningless but it's also mindlessly and pointlessly entertaining to watch. Even for when this most feels like a Paul Feig movie, it's certainly not his best, and you can't help but feel some of the comedy could have been better (the film is funny, though, but it could have been even more so). I enjoyed this. It's definitely one of the better films we've seen this Summer and it's certainly an alright, disposable Summer blockbuster. It's not awful, which is what matters: haters gonna hate.

VERDICT:
Ghostbusters is by no means a great film, but nor is it a bad one. There's plenty to love: the visuals are cracking, the direction is slick and the cast is sparkling. With some decent comedy, this works best as a Paul Feig film; its shortcomings, however, are in trying to be anything more.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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