Ghostbusters – Not quite a review, but thoughts
We saw Ghostbusters on Saturday. I’d decided I really wanted to see it over all of the other things we want to see (we’re hitting that bit of summer where there are All The Films), in part because I was getting frustrated with a) marketing, b) people whining about gender-swapping and my stubbornness about what gender-swapping is and c) I really wanted to just plain give it a chance.
Yeah. I’m someone who was hesitant about it. I loved that they were casting women. I would have been okay with a gender-swap (although that’s not what this is, or what it’s been marketed as). I am not actually a big Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig fan. I wanted someone different. Didn’t even have to be new actresses, but since this director had worked with these actresses before, I was really terrified I was going to get Bridesmaids As Ghostbusters or The Heat as Ghostbusters. I did not want that. I’m not a fan of the toilet humor or the stuff I reflexively turn away and hide from the screen from that both of those women excel at. It doesn’t make it bad humor, and it doesn’t even make it not funny. But it’s not funny for me. It’s painful to watch. So I was less than thrilled. I wanted someone quirkier and dryer. Someone unabashedly brilliant, or innocent, or yes naughty but of a different level. So I was nervous.
I ended up liking it. In some ways, I liked those two just fine, and their parts just fine. But I noticed that the bits I grinned or laughed at were the parts no one else noticed (or at least didn’t appreciate in the way I did). Some bits the audience laughed uproariously at, well, yeah. I cringed. But I didn’t hate the movie. Others have noted that the plot was thin, and it was! But no thinner than other summer movies. And the reason it still mostly worked was because the character interaction was there and consistent.
The supporting cast (which was made up of a lot of really fine character actors and actresses, plus some awesome cameos) did an awesome job. Some of the bit characters were so awesome I couldn’t wait to see them on screen again (the mayor!). The bad guy was great at what he did, and honestly I had a little bit of sympathy for him. Kate McKinnon really was good – and worked with some physical comedy that I didn’t appreciate as much as others (the dancing went on just a little too long for me a few times, but the leers and the gestures were gold). Chris Hemsworth was brilliant and played against his current type perfectly. Leslie Jones was really interesting, but again, the lines I loved of hers almost seemed to be intended to be throwaway lines where she’s muttering to herself or mentioning something in an aside.
The cameos made me crow each and every time. I pointed at the screen and squeaked I was so happy.
I’d watch it again. I’d definitely let it grow on me. Is it better than the original? I don’t know. I didn’t enjoy it as much, but there’s a lot of nostalgia built into the original for me. It’s its own film. It’s not a gender-swap. This isn’t Egon and Ray as women. These are their own characters who are brilliant women. Even Patty (Leslie Jones) (who is arguably the “dumb” one) isn’t, knowing more about the city than anyone else. I’m not even 100% sure I’d agree it’s in the same universe. It’s definitely not in the same timeline. It’s shifted just ever so slightly.
So I’m glad I gave it a chance, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone on the fence.