Who you gonna call?
I said this month was going to be nostalgia-fueled, but I never said that there wouldn't be newer movies in the mix. See, for a lot of us Ghostbusters (the original) holds a place in our hearts - hence nostalgia. From the first announcement of this movie though, it's been a veritable reckoning of heated opinions - and probably one of the most disliked trailers I've ever seen on Youtube. Alas, I'm not one to skip a movie simply based on other people opinions, so I strap myself to an untested nuclear accelerator to find out if what we have is a big old delicious Twinkie or maybe I should have just said I was a god.
A tour group is getting the run of a mansion in New York. From entertaining famous people to stories of famous inspirations, this house seems to have it all - including a dark and spooky story associated with it's past. Our guide tells the group about the crazed daughter of the once-owner, who snuck out and stabbed to death all of the servants as they slept. To avoid the bad publicity, the father locked her away in the basement, feeding her through a small hatch as though she was some sort of prisoner in solitary. A later owner, he claimed, eventually sealed the door with a multitude of locks, so terrified was he of the strange happenings, that to this day it hasn't ever been opened - when a nearby candlestick falls off the dresser. Of course, this is later shown to be a trick, to really amp up the tour, but the tour guide finds himself in a stranger bit of trick as he closes up when the real ghost comes to visit.
Meanwhile a particle physicist is getting ready for her lecture in the big hall at her university, excited about her upcoming Tenure exam - and also incredibly, hopelessly awkward. While practicing and getting all revved up for her lecture, a man comes in with a book, asking her to help with their mansion problem - the whole being haunted thing is a real bummer after all. This upsets the lady, as this book shouldn't exist - it should have been destroyed - and it popping up so close to her tenure really hurts her chances at success. She goes to confront her old friend whose behind the book's spreading, only to meet her and her new strange companion at another science institute. They manage to strike a bit of a bargain - the would-be professor hooking up the two to play with ghosts at the mansion if her friend gets rid of the book.
Of course, when they get there, the find that ghosts are in fact real, and thanks to a Youtube video showing up of the would-be professor proclaiming ghosts are real (covered in vomit-slime), she ends up loosing her job. After addressing the situation with her now friend-again old friend, they all end up getting kicked out of the institute, since the new Dean though that section was closed down to begin with. Elsewhere, a strange man is placing odd devices places, with ghosts soon popping up afterwards. The main trio rents a place to continue with their ghost-proving science, but it isn't long till a street-wise subway worker drags them into this strange plot of the device-man and New York's sudden raise in ghosts.
Now, this is the most important part where we have to make sure everyone is on the same page. Comedy is subjective - what I find funny isn't always what other people will find funny. A great example of this is Seth Rogan movies - to some, they are the most hysterical thing to exist, but for me? Not really having that much of a laugh. The running total for this film was two laughs (one of which was at an Oprah reference, of all things), a scoff - which we'll call a chuckle - and one moment where I actually took my palm and applied it to my face. So what's that say? Well, it's very much a The Heat scenario, where for me personally most of the jokes just fell flat. Potential was there, sure, but this is modern comedy and that's something I just haven't really adjusted to. Yeah, I'll still laugh at fart jokes, and love a good pun, and an aptly timed reference I didn't seem coming (like Oprah) will get at least a giggle from me - heck, even some slapstick will get me eventually - but this thing just didn't do it for me.
Now that we are past that, we can get to other things. The plot is... well, it's better than some of the characters in it. The villain's motivations boil down to that of nearly every "evil scientist" to ever exist in a movie, but (despite the antics) the main characters at least have the stereotypical love of science to fall back on behind the "picked on for believing in ghosts and want to prove them real" bit. Of all the characters, I find myself enjoying that of the subway worker the most - as of all of them, she's the only one that really comes off as a real person, and not some laughably over-done caricature of a vaguely humanoid concept. Best example of what I'm talking about - she looks in a room, sees a bunch of mannequins, and "oh hell no"s her way back the other way.. Meanwhile, the receptionist can't understand glass, totes Kardashian-grade idiocy, and is mainly only there to be the but of repetitive "he's so sexy" jokes (I'll call it a joke only because I'm sure someone somewhere laughed at it). The only real main chemistry was between the two old friend characters, and to be honest, for as much as it may have worked at moments, it also feels incredibly forced at others.
Despite it's failings in giving me something outstanding as far as plot or characters goes, the effects-work gave me something to really enjoy. Ghosts of various kinds - even though the vast majority were admittedly human - have that nice amount of real to them. Some people might be off-put by this very "Haunted Mansion" style of ghosts, but it really helps them feel like they are there and not just another cheesy CG effect and I like that. Some - such as the railway ghost - had a nice amount of creepiness to them (albeit none really came off as incredibly scary), and the props as far as the proton devices all look really well done, with plenty of lights and cables and a very earthly cobbled-together look to them. I feel that here would also be a good place to mention that although I did not see this in 3D, I have to admit that I feel like this might actually be one that - if you do decide to watch it and have the capacity to do so - might be a good candidate. It has this thing that I don't see in a lot of my 3D Blu-ray releases in fact. You know the letterbox that they tend to do on the upped and lower edges of movie? That black space that feels like it serves no purpose? Well, here, when an effect is obviously supposed to be in 3D, it will rip right over those things to the edge of the screen. Now, again, this is only supposition on my part, but I feel like that should really help the feeling of coming out of the screen in that old-school gimmicky fashion that I miss from modern 3D affairs.
On it's own to feet, this movie isn't terrible. I wouldn't call it great either - it's sort of the very incarnation of a "3 star" movie in my book - I don't regret watching it, but I probably won't remember even seeing it come a few weeks from now. It's humor just wasn't my breed, and considering this was played very much as a comedy - with a few big action scenes - that really helps to drag it down from being something that calls to me. Being from the same director as The Heat, it essentially gave me everything I expected - for better or worse. I'd recommend to go after the 3D version if you can - since if I'm right in my assumptions that could really help bring up the impressiveness of it - but it's hard to give a recommendation to seek or avoid it without a person knowing if it's their sort of comedy or not.
For those who can't step aside from the original movie - mainly because they probably have a strong attachment to it - they probably won't enjoy this movie as much. I'm personally more attached to the first simply because the characters are more identifiable - well, except maybe Egon - to me personally. I like the progression of tech shown in this new one, and admittedly do find many of the gadgets looking cooler - even if some of the later additions are just ridiculous. The old one has me feeling like it was more a story that happened to have jokes (hit or miss), whereas the new one very much feels like it was a series of jokes (hit or miss) that had to have a plot thrown in to call it a movie. I also felt that the character's chemistry worked better in the old movie in a more consistent manner, even though the new one tried to make it more relevant to the plot (It's arguable as to how well that worked). If I had the time to only watch one, I'd go for the original personally.