New York City. A group of tourists are being shown round the Aldridge Mansion which has been rigged to have a pretend ghost. But when the tour guide is locking up, things become a little more real.
Meanwhile, former parapsychologist Erin Gilbert loses her job at her university and reunites with her former colleague, Abby Yates and her new associate, Jillian Holtzman. Abby and Erin wrote a book on the science of ghosts once upon a time and find themselves investigating the Aldridge Mansion. But the ghost in the cellar isn’t the only one in the city. Someone is intent on raising as many ghosts as possible – now who on earth are you gonna call to stop the chaos?
Yeah, this isn’t a mystery. My film reviews have always been a little tangential to the rest of the blog, but I saw Ghostbusters last night and thought I’d share my opinions.
Let’s start off with the bad. The cinema I saw it in was weird – a few normal seats around the edge whereas the rest was fitted out like a restaurant, complete with bar at the side. I guess it was a party cinema, but it forced people to sit at the back of the room in some pretty uncomfortable chairs. And the chain restaurant next door was over-priced and seems to have given Mrs Puzzle Doctor food poisoning. Oh, and the “Answer The Call” tagline is rubbish.
Right, that’s the bad stuff out of the way – on with the good stuff. Best thing I’ve seen in the cinema for ages.
I was pretty hopeful, as while I’m not a fan of Bridesmaids, I have liked Paul Feig’s more recent work a lot, especially the Melissa McCarthy vehicle Spy (with a side-splitting turn by Jason Statham). And the primary cast has quite a comedy pedigree, both in film and on TV (mostly Saturday Night Live). Interestingly, McCarthy’s role is much more restrained than in some of her other outings (not that that’s a bad thing) while Kristen Wiig does a good job as the lead (although second-billed), playing to her comedy strengths as the slightly neurotic Erin. Lesley Jones is great as the new non-science recruit to the team, although the script doesn’t really use her knowledge of New York history as much as it could have done, but the star of the team is Kate McKinnon as the utterly bonkers Holtzman. It’s a performance that I imagine not everybody will like, but it really hit the spot with me. Absolutely hilarious and she never lets the air of mild insanity drop for a single second. And her solo action bit in Times Square is pretty damn cool.
The other breakout performance in the film is Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, showing for the first time (for me at least) some outstanding comedy timing, as Kevin, the Ghostbusters secretary. Never expected that.
I found myself smiling all the way through the film, and laughing out loud in places. Apart from the scary bits – the opening sequence is extremely effective and there are a few out genuinely creepy bits as well. The pacing is a little off at times – the second quarter seemed a little rushed and choppy in places – but that’s a mild niggle. It’s a cracking summer blockbuster and loads of fun. Highly Recommended.
… oh, you were expecting me to mention the other Ghostbusters film? Oh, OK, I suppose I better had.
I’ve fond memories of the first film. It’s not perfect either. In particular, Bill Murray’s character Venkman seems pretty objectionable through modern eyes. I believe the phrase in the Honest Trailer on YouTube is “borderline sexual predator”. Also, Ernie Hudson is completely wasted. And I never found it particularly scary either, although arguably it’s not supposed to be. But I enjoyed it when I saw it first and I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve watched it since. But there are a couple of icky moments – Dan Ackroyd getting a b*** j** from a ghost for example – that show that this film really wasn’t supposed to be for kids, whereas the new film is a more family friendly film, despite being much scarier in places. They’re two different films, with the new one paying homage to the first in the line of a bunch of mostly effective cameos (although one felt like an afterthought) from both actors and, um, characters from the first film – one of which elicited a little cheer when it happened. I’d hate to have to choose one of them over the other, but I’d strongly recommend anyone who enjoyed the original to go and see the new one. Highly Recommended.
Oh, and do stay for the end of the credits…