(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to suggest how future archaeologists would look back on us today. I applied my movie theme to the concept and even worked in a little of the biology class I’m taking right now.)
Welcome to my lecturing on modern archaeology:
Today the ancient world before the 22nd century,
A cruder, ruder, desk-computer chapter in our history.
Just recently, our diggers found a reddish box interred in rock
And found within it simple disks that once were sold and kept in stock,
A kind of visual entertainment certain players could unlock.
Some were future sci-fi stories, which weren’t right on anything;
Some were labeled “Oscar winners,” which we’re still deciphering;
And one about pursuing ghosts was worth the price of tunneling.
As some may know, an older fossil from the Reagan-lithic zone
Had a concept similar and yet was not a perfect clone.
This proves the theory that some artists used ideas that weren’t their own.
It seems some stories were remade in efforts to indulge consumers,
Many of which found them lacking, but just why is up to rumors.
Though we can’t be sure since men evolved and lost our sense of humors.
MPAA rating: PG-13
When the latest all-female version of Ghostbusters was announced, I was never among the crowd that condemned and ranted against it. I was more in the eye-rolling crowd because remakes of classic movies always turn out well, right? Still, I decided to check it out with an open mind, and my opinion seems to match the general consensus: it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.
Instead of a sequel, this Ghostbusters is a reboot, treating the profession of paranormal poaching as an unexplored field, as if the original never happened. After an initial haunting that’s actually much scarier than the library beginning of the first film, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is asked to look into it, even though she has tried to distance herself from her ghost-studying past. Soon, however, she’s back into the paranormal game with her old colleague Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and the Egon-esque Jillian (Kate McKinnon). Along with a street-savvy subway worker (Leslie Jones), they team up just as an occult weirdo (Neil Casey) tries to cause the apocalypse. Good timing, eh?
I’ll start out by saying that this Ghostbusters wasn’t entirely “meh.” There were even ways I thought it offered an improved story, mainly in providing a reason for all the ghost sightings rather than the original’s relative lack of explanation. The villain is fairly forgettable, but his actions indirectly bring about the Ghostbusters themselves, who rise to the occasion to stop him. I also liked the two-faced response from the governor’s office, secretly supporting the Ghostbusters while publicly denouncing them, which I found funnier and more believable than the initial outright denial of the government in the first two films.
The biggest problem with this Ghostbusters is a problem I have with the majority of modern comedies: it simply didn’t make me laugh very much. Oh, I chuckled in spots, snickered at the occasional clever joke or recognizable reference, but shouldn’t a comedy elicit more of a reaction than that? Far too often were moments I could tell were meant to be funny but just weren’t, and part of it may stem from my natural indifference to Wiig and McCarthy. McKinnon and Jones had stronger humor than the other two, but the film’s best surprise was Chris Hemsworth’s gender-swapped role as the ditzy receptionist Kevin. While the women were focused on the ghost-hunting plot, Hemsworth provided some needed laughs and was clearly enjoying himself, even without his hammer.
Ghostbusters didn’t deserve the instant hate it got and knowingly cracks a few jokes aimed at those nasty comment sections, but I would have hoped for a stronger return for the classic franchise. Perhaps the most wasted element was the cameos of the original cast members, all of which depend solely on “hey-it’s-that-person” appeal rather than being funny or important to the plot. (Dan Aykroyd’s was probably the best, but they couldn’t come up with something better for Bill Murray?) Whereas the original two are classics, this one settles for mere entertainment and so-so CGI, though the big battle at the end has its fun moments. It may yet get a sequel itself, but if not for the original’s reputation, I doubt this film would have fostered the same fondly regarded franchise.
Best line: (Patty, when a ghost escapes on a subway train) “I guess he’s going to Queens. He’s going to be the third scariest thing on that train.”
Rank: Honorable Mention
© 2017 S.G. Liput
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