action, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review, science fiction

October 16th, 2018 Movie – Ghostbusters (2016) (a.k.a. Ghostbusters: Answer The Call)

ghostbusters 2016

Oh, the shitstorm that was stirred up on the internet when this movie was announced. Ghostbusters is one of the greatest comedies to come out of the 80’s and while the sequel didn’t quite catch the same magic, it was still a good movie. A third movie had been talked about and rumored for years during the 90’s but nothing ever came of it. Then, over 20 years after the Ghostbuster were seen on the big screen, there was finally some serious talk about a third movie being made. However, when it was announced that it was going to be a reboot instead of a sequel and that it would star a female cast of Ghostbusters, the internet was lit up with people calling out in protest over the move, which led to many calling out the protests over their misogynistic tones. In any case, I wound up not seeing Ghostbusters (2016) in theaters but I did rent it off redbox as soon as it became available. I had considered buying it but that point became moot because it was one of the free gifts in my ultraviolet account so let’s see what I thought about this reboot.

The plot: As a tour group is going through the Aldridge Mansion in New York City, the tour guide is leading a group through the mansion when a candlestick suddenly falls by the basement door where Gertrude Aldridge had been locked away. That night, as the tour guide is closing up, he reveals that the candlestick was a prop used to scare the tourists. Suddenly, the basement door knob starts turning and the tour guide hears the sound of a woman screaming and banging on the door. The tour guide is then telekinetically attacked and as he tries to escape, he ends up running down into the basement, which is now unlocked. Realizing where he is, the tour guide tries to escape as green slime begins bubbling up from some cracks in the ground and a strange smoke heads towards him. The next day, Erin Gilbert is preparing to lecture at Columbia University when she is approached by Ed Mulgrave Jr, the owner of the Aldridge Mansion, who is holding a copy of the book she wrote years ago about the paranormal. Wrin tries to deny it but reluctantly admits it is her and asks what he wants. He tells her his belief that the mansion is haunted and asks that she check it out but she refuses, then asks how he got a copy of the book as she thought she had destroyed the only two copies. When Ed tells her that it was on Amazon, Erin goes to check for herself, keeping the results hidden from Dean Filmore when he enters her office to talk about her upcoming tenure hearing. Erin goes to see Abby Yates, her former partner that she had co-written to book with and Abby is unapologetic about putting the book for sale. Erin is introduced to Jillian Holtzmann, Abby’s new partner, and the two proceed to tease Erin about not believing in her old research. When Erin tells them why she is there, Abby and Holtzmann quickly grab some equipment and leave their lab, with Abby promising to take the book down until Erin gets tenure if she introduces them to Mulgrave. When they arrive at the mansion, they talk to Mulgrave and the tour guide across the street, then Abby and Holtzmann head inside, with Erin following after them. As they explore the mansion, Erin steps in some green goo and thinks that Abby and Holtzmann are pulling a prank on her by opening the basement door but Abby and Holtzmann swear they didn’t open the door. Suddenly, the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge exits the basement and Erin attempts to talk to it before the ghost spits ectoplasm on her, then flies off out of the mansion. Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann are excited about what happened but when Abby posts the video of the encounter online, Erin’s superiors see it and Filmore fires her. Erin goes to Abby and Holtzmann’s lab and complain to them about their video getting her fired. Abby says that they can now study ghosts full time, showing her people commenting about on their video of other hauntings, but when they go to ask for more money from the Dean of the college they teach at, he fires both Abby and Holtzmann. Meanwhile, subway ticket booth operator Patty Tolan is working her shift when a man approaches her and speaks with her briefly before wandering onto the tracks. As she goes to search for him, she sees a strange device on a electrical panel, which explodes, just before a ghost appears and frightens Patty away. The man, Rowan North, returns to his job at a hotel, discussing the sites where he has planted devices and says he has more to plant to break down the barrier. Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann go looking for a place to work out of and eventually find a place over a Chinese restaurant. As they get set up, Kevin Beckman shows up to apply for their receptionist job and Erin is attracted to him but Kevin seems to be somewhat of an idiot. As they discuss hiring him, Patty shows up at their office to tell them about the ghost she saw. The three head down to the subway station, which Patty explains was underneath the old prison where they electrocuted inmates. As they head down the tracks, they find the debris from the device that Rowan had planted just before the ghost appears again. Erin uses Holtzmann’s device to try and capture it and manages to snare it but when a train is approaching, they are forced to run while the ghost gets stuck on the incoming train. Elsewhere, Rowan has some guests complain about the ectoplasm that is dripping along the walls from the hotel, with one guest having a ghost possessing a rash on her back. Later, Rowan heads out to set the next bomb to destroy to barrier, going to a rock show where Ozzy Osbourne is performing.The girls return to their office to examine the pieces of the device they collected when they notice that Patty had followed them and wants to join them. When she tells them she can get them a car if they let her join, the girls agree but are not excited when she returns with a hearse. After Abby tests out Holtzmann’s portable version of her weapon, they see a news story talking about them, where famed paranormal debunker Martin Heiss calls the video of the ghost they encountered a fake. Erin says that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks because what they are doing matters, just as Kevin takes a call about a ghost at the theater. As they go to leave, Erin sees her boyfriend Phil outside and goes to speak with him but ends up leaving with the others when Holtzmann pulls up in the now customized hearse. When they get to the theater, the owner explains what happened and takes them to the lower level to try and find the ghost. The girls separate and Abby discovers the device Rowan left while Patty encounters the ghost, which has possessed a mannequin. Patty leads the possessed mannequin back to the others, where they use their proton packs to destory the mannequin but the ghost escapes and heads upstairs towards the concert. The girls chase after him and continue trying to catch the ghost, with the crowd thinking it is part of the show, but they eventually catch it. As they leave the theater to a crowd chanting Ghostbusters, Rowan is watching the news report on them and tells them to enjoy their victory while they can. Back at their lab, the girls are celebrating their successful capture of a ghost when Martin Heiss shows up and questions whether they really caught a ghost or not. Despite Abby trying to stop her, Erin gets fed up with his skepticism and releases the ghost, which grabs Martin and throws him out the window while it flies off. As the police question the Ghostbusters, Agents Hawkins and Rourke from Homeland Security show up to escort the Ghostbusters to the Mayor’s office. Once there, Mayor Bradley and his secretary explain that they know the Ghostbusters aren’t frauds and are aware of the ghosts in the city but want the Ghostbusters to stay out of it while Homeland does their job. As the news labels them frauds, Abby tells them they can’t let what others think stop them, listing other locations where ghosts have been spotted. Erin gets an idea and plots the locations on a map, discovering that the events are occurring on ley lines. As Abby goes to call Homeland about their theory, Erin discovers the lines intersect at the Mercado hotel and Patty tells them the history of that area, and the deaths that have occurred there. When she looks at the hotels website, she recognizes Rowan as the man that spoke to her at the subway and the Ghostbusters head out to investigate. When they get to the hotel, they head to the basement and find Rowan preparing to activate a giant device to destroy the barrier. Abby tries to talk Rowan out of his plan but he goes to activate the device, killing himself in the process. Holtzmann manages to shut off the device and discovers that Rowan had been reading Abby and Erin’s book but as Jennifer thanks them for saving the city, she tells them that Homeland will “fake arrest” them while she speaks with the press and says it was just a sad stunt by the Ghostbusters. Erin gets fed up with everyone calling them frauds and after attacking a man calling them fakes, she tells the others that she needs a break. Heading home, she starts looking through Rowan’s copy of their book when she sees the notes he wrote in it and his plan to kill himself in order to become a ghost and lead the army of ghost to purge the world of humanity. Erin tries to call the others and warn them about Rowan but when she sees a news report that Mayor Bradley is having a meeting with world leaders, she heads there to warn him but is thrown out of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Rowan possesses Abby, who begins destroying the Ghostbuster’s equipment. When Patty and Holtzmann try to stop her, they manage to free Abby from Rowan but he possesses Kevin, who heads back to the hotel and activates the portal. As ghosts swarm the city, Abby, Holtzmann, and Patty head out to the hotel to shut down the portal but the Ecto-1 ends up being stolen by Slimer. The three continue on foot but are attacked by a series of ghost balloons, ending up being trapped underneath a balloon of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man but Erin saves them. At the hotel, the possessed Kevin takes control of Agent Hawkins, Rourke, and police and national guard attempting to stop him, forcing them to dance for his amusement before freezing them in place. When the Ghostbusters show up, he summons some ghosts to fight them but they are able to defeat the ghosts and make their way into the hotel. Rowan taunts them for a bit, eventually leaving Kevin, and transforms into the ghost from their logo, then growing super-sized and begins attacking the city. Realizing he is too strong to attack, the Ghostbusters decide to try and fire into the portal and cross the streams in an attempt to close it but the proton packs aren’t powerful enough. Seeing Slimer driving the Ecto-1 towards them, Patty suggest using the equipment on top of the car, which is essentially a nuclear reactor, and they fire their proton packs at the car, steering it into the portal while shooting the equipment and causing it to explode. The explosion causes the portal’s energy to reverse and the ghosts are sucked back into it. Rowan is able to hold on but the Ghostbusters shoot him and he falls into the portal but grabs Abby and drags her in as he falls. With the portal closing, Erin ties herself off with the cable from a winch and jumps in to rescue Abby, while Patty and Holtzmann pull them both back before the portal closes. As people try to explain what happened and if the Ghostbusters had anything to save them, Jennifer approaches the Ghostbusters and says that while they will continue to disavow that what they do is real, Mayor Bradley wants to fully fund the Ghostbusters so they can be better prepared if something like this happens again. Erin has the Mayor help them buy an old firehouse to use for their new base and as they get themselves set up, Leslie tells them to come out to the roof, where they see various skyscrapers in the city lit up to say that they love the Ghostbusters. Later, as they are relaxing in Holtzmann’s lab, Patty is listening to an audio tape of what was recorded during the event and asks them who Zuul is.

Despite the initial backlash before the movie came out, Ghostbusters (2016) met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Ghostbusters¬†does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy — even if it can’t help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.” The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $229.1 million off of a $144 million budget (but is considered a bomb due to the high marketing and production costs) and while there was some initial talk of a sequel, the disappointing box office has put the idea on hold. However, IDW Publishing announced a 6 part mini-series that would team up the original Ghostbusters with the 2016 crew, with a second series continuing the adventures of the 2016 Ghostbusters.

Ok, the original movie is one that will never be topped, but this wasn’t as bad as many people thought it was going to be. The acting was good, with the 4 main women doing great jobs in their roles but Leslie Jones (Patty) and Kate McKinnon (Holtzmann) really stole the show with their performances. The writing was ok but I feel like this movie focused too much on the comedy aspects and not enough on the story itself. I think a part of that is due to the writing, as Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the original movie with Dan Aykroyd, was a genius when it came to writing comedy movies and his writing style made his movies memorable, if not outright iconic. One thing I did like was all the nods to the original movies, with 5 of the original actors making cameos in the movie, as well as showing the firehouse and several references to lines or scenes from the original movie. The special effects in the movie were pretty good and I liked how they decided to get creative in the uses of the proton pack, with them using them almost like whips and flinging the ghosts into other ghosts was pretty neat. So it is not as good as the original movie, and I honestly don’t think they were trying to out do it, but it is a fun movie to watch and a pretty decent entry into the franchise.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard