|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Approx. 117 min.
|From 12 years
There are movies that are just timelessly good. Ivan Reitman's 1984 Ghostbusters is one such film. The eerily beautiful comedy about four ghost hunters in New York still has a cult following after more than three decades. There has been repeated speculation about a sequel, even though Bill Murray, one of the leads, has repeatedly made public his distaste for a third installment after the not-so-successful 1989 sequel. After the death of Harold Ramis, the end of the original Ghostbusters was finally sealed - but not the end of the popular franchise. The only question was whether e would have its sequel, with the still-living Ghostbusters passing the baton to a younger team, or whether the series would be rebooted all over again.
Comedy specialist Paul Feig (Bride Alarm, Spy) opted for the latter, causing controversy among many fans when he announced that he would be fielding a team of female Ghostbusters. However, the outrage ended up being boiled up not so much by the fans as by Feig and his actresses themselves, some of whom took offense to all the critical voices. Even when the first trailer was rightly slated, it wasn't the really bad gags that were the reason for the criticism of the trailer in the eyes of the creators, but sexism and racism. Many media outlets picked up on the sexism accusation in particular, making it enormously difficult to give a nuanced critique of the film in advance.
I myself am a big movie of the original, having seen it probably more than twenty times over the last thirty years. I used to listen to the soundtrack up and down, read the book to the movie, and am the proud owner of the Lego Ghostbusters car. I too was not thrilled with the idea of a reboot, as I would have loved to see the old team in action once again. As a result, I had reservations about the new team, which were confirmed by the first trailer. Still, I tried to give the film a fair chance. And I have to say that the 2016 edition of Ghostbusters is much better and funnier than the trailer suggests. But there are also some valid criticisms that have less to do with the actresses and more to do with Feig's production and script.
The story is quickly told: Once upon a time, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) were convinced that ghosts exist. While Abby is still trying to prove to the world that she's right about that belief, Erin has since distanced herself from her earlier research. But when mysterious ghost sightings begin to pile up in New York, the former best friends reunite to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. Together with ingenious tinkerer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and tough Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), they form the Ghostbusters. But they soon find themselves up against not just a few small ghosts, but an enormously powerful adversary who has no less in mind than to bring total apocalypse upon humanity.
Ghostbusters has some neat effects, some very funny gags and a great Chris Hemsworth to boot. As the secretary of the Ghostbusters, he's so wonderfully goofy that it's just a whole lot of fun. At the same time, the film has quite a few problems to contend with. For example, there is the humor, which is sometimes very flat. When an unavoidable fart joke is used in the first ten minutes, it's never a good sign. Sure, the original had some more simple jokes to offer, but overall the humor was more subtle and clever. Moreover, Reitman's film didn't rely primarily on the gags. Even without the humor, his Ghostbusters is still a really good movie - which is more than can be said for Feig's version. The biggest problem, though, is Feig's statement that he didn't want to make a sequel to create something of his own. While he was able to coax all of the original's still-living cast members - with the exception of Rick Moranis - into making small guest appearances, they weren't in their original roles. All well and good, if Feig had actually directed something new as well. But every few minutes there's a reference to the original, and the story really isn't miles away from the 1984 film to justify why he resisted a season transfer that die-hard fans surely would have been more comfortable with than this reboot. It's a shame this fine opportunity wasn't taken.
Ghostbusters isn't a bad movie. In fact, it's quite good on its own as a simple fantasy comedy. As a remake of a classic, however, the film is a collection of missed opportunities and poor decisions, compounded by the completely unprofessional handling of criticism on the part of the director and the actresses. On the other hand, of course, it's also wrong to condemn a film before you've seen it just because you don't like the cast or the trailer. Because there's one thing you have to remember: even if you don't like this remake, no one is taking the original away from you. After all, your love for this movie won't be diminished by a weaker remake. After all, the sequel with the original crew already failed to do that.
Those hoping for the quality of the original to be matched here will surely be disappointed. But if you just want to be entertained, float a little in nostalgia and are bothered by overdrawn characters (sorry, but Kate McKinnon is just too much of a good thing), clumsy gags and a not-so-imaginative story, you'll get enough good moments here to justify a visit to the cinema. And therefore there is with some restrictions also a clear: Worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp