Saturday, July 16, 2016

5 x 5 Movie review: Ghostbusters

1. So, I came of age with the classic 1973 Richard Lester film version of The Three Musketeers, which I thought was a close to perfect as a movie adaptation could get to Dumas's vision. When the Brat Pack made their version twenty years later, my first response was "Why? The Lester version is close to perfect!" The I realized that my love for my version ignored many prior films that other people no doubt had a soft spot for and that every generation can have its own version of whatever story the public cares about and wants to see again. This new film is Ghostbusters for 2016; the earlier versions just don't matter when we look at it, and they're still there if you want to watch them.

2. That said, I think I liked this movie better than I liked the original. Memory dims with time, of course, but the resonance from the first film that sticks with me the most was that Peter Venkman was kind of a dick. On the other hand, this movie positively echoes with teamwork and relationships throughout, along with all the ass-kicking action (and there's plenty of that, with all sorts of cool ghost-getting gear). I liked all the characters, I laughed out loud several times, I had fun: what else is a summer blockbuster movie for?

3. Not that it is a close-to-perfect movie: there are some real problems with pacing and editing, and the plot doesn't hold up to close scrutiny. But, hey, the performances by four very funny women - Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones - and a tour de force turn by a surprising hilarious Chris Hemsworth more than make up for any flaws.

4. The movie does make a few nods to the original film - some of them clever, some of them forced and awkward - and takes a few cool in-story swipes at the anti-woman, you-destroyed-my-childhood hysteria that rose from the asshat brigade during the making and marketing of the film. The cameos by the original cast seemed wasted; only Ernie Hudson seemed to have any ethos and Bill Murray in particular seemed to be having flashbacks to his early days a sketch comedian.

5. Of course, like the rest of the planet, I am totally crushing on Jillian Holtzmann.

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