Erin Gilbert

The new Ghostbusters is finally in theaters, and the good news is that its first trailer (the most hated YouTube video of all time) was not an accurate predictor of the movie’s overall quality. The bad news is that Ghostbusters, like Batman v Superman, is a film that is done in by a shoddy screenplay. The cast does the best it can with writer-director Paul Fieg’s story (co-written by Katie Dippold), but no amount of improvisation can lift the product above “mildly amusing” status.

Ghostbusters Holtzmann

First off, anyone who has seen the original Ghostbusters will know how the story goes:

  • Female versions of Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz,
    Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddmore form a band of misfit do-gooders who believe the city faces a spiritual threat of gargantuan proportions.
  • City officials treat them like second-class citizens.
  • The Ghostbusters piece together a mystery and stop a paranormal apocalypse by closing a portal to the netherworld.

Bill Murray Ghostbusters

With that being said, I think it is important to review Mr. Fieg’s movie by pretending the original film never existed. If the world were never introduced to Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman, then how would critics rate this movie?

They would say the following:

  • Kate McKinnon is a firecracker. Whether one likes or dislikes her weird tics throughout the movie, there is an energy and “it” factor to “Holtzmann” that a franchise can be built on.
  • The villain, Rowan (played by Neil Casey), is hardly defined — and that is putting it nicely. His motivations are not shown — viewers are told he was “bullied” when he was younger — and his actions during the movie’s climax make no sense. He literally controls a sea of cops and military personnel, but then chooses not to do the same to the four people who clearly pose a threat to his plans.
  • Chris Hemsworth’s character, Kevin, is so stupid that he is borderline retarded. Even if he is a parody of the “bimbo secretary,” I cannot remember a single female in similar roles who came across as Dumb and Dumber-stupid. Even desperate employers would not hire the man, no matter how handsome he may be.
  • There was obviously a Michael Jackson-inspired “Thriller” scene planned for the film that was cut from the finished product and wedged into the end credits. The problem is that aspects of the scene do show up in the film, which makes the audience go, “Huh? Why are the cops and the soldiers frozen in ‘Thriller’ poses? What the heck?”
  • Tension does not exist in this film because at no point does anyone feel as though the Ghostbusters might be in real danger. They become masters of new and experimental technology fairly quickly, and the one time they appear to be in trouble the camera angle shows them with the kind of smashed faces one might see in a Ghostbusters cartoon.

Ghostbusters Abby Patty

Ghostbusters is a movie that is worth checking out on Netflix if there is nothing else to do on a Friday night, but it is not worth full price at the movie theater. It is a movie that fails not because its cast is filled with women, but because its screenplay is sloppy.

Finally, it must be mentioned that Bill Murray’s cameo will be painful to watch for anyone who enjoyed the original films. It is hard to believe the man agreed to the part unless he has serious issues with Ivan Reitman. If Mr. Fieg or anyone else associated with this re-imagining thinks they were giving the 1984 Ghostbusters a respectful tip of the hat with Mr. Murray’s cameo, then the property is in worse hands than previously thought.

If you have a little kid who really wants to see ghosts busted, then you probably should buy a cheap ticket on an early Sunday. If you don’t have kids, then my suggestion is to wait until you can check it out for little to no cost. That isn’t an “I have a thing against women” thing, it’s an “I have a thing against paying full price for muddled writing” thing.

Did you see Ghostbusters this weekend? Did you refuse to see it? Either way, let me know what you think of Sony’s tentpole film in the comments section below.

Update: Here is my latest YouTube video on Ghostbusters and why the “Slime the Critics” strategy is important.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

34 comments

  1. I refuse to see it. For one thing, it didn’t need to be rebooted. I also wish it would’ve been more like “The Force Awakens” or the 2009 “Star Trek” movie, in which the old cast passed the torch onto the new one. I might have actually seen it if that were the case. That, and the way the cast and crew (and their friends in the media) have been treating the film’s critic is beyond pathetic. The movie was outgrossed at the weekend box office by “The Secret Life of Pets.”

    1. “I refuse to see it. For one thing, it didn’t need to be rebooted. I also wish it would’ve been more like “The Force Awakens” or the 2009 “Star Trek” movie, in which the old cast passed the torch onto the new one.”

      You’re not alone with that criticism. It seems as though that was the logical way to go about the reboot, but for whatever reason they did something else. I say “something else” because the screenplay makes it obvious that no one really had a clear idea of what the film should be. You have to either make a clean break and then run with it, or you should try your best to do the “passing of the torch” in a way that will make older fans smile (e.g., The Force Awakens). I’m not sure what Paul Feig was thinking…

    2. “I’m not sure what Paul Feig was thinking.”

      I don’t think he was thinking at all. He’s too busy calling the film’s detractors “right-wing radio monsters.” He just took some half-baked comedy and slapped the Ghostbusters name on it in the hopes of making more money. And yet it still got outgrossed by a CGI movie about pets.

    3. “I don’t think he was thinking at all. He’s too busy calling the film’s detractors ‘right-wing radio monsters.’ He just took some half-baked comedy and slapped the Ghostbusters name on it in the hopes of making more money. And yet it still got outgrossed by a CGI movie about pets.”

      He did himself no favors by the way he treated skeptical fans, that’s for sure. When all else fails, just shut up. It’s better to say nothing than to tell fans to “f*** off.”

      Side note: The product placement in Ghostbusters is ridiculous. There is a scene involving Pringles that made me just shake my head…

  2. What sucks is that I’ve seen some creators I respect trying to morally manipulate people into seeing the movie. “Hey, even if you aren’t interested in seeing the movie, do it anyways to show that girls can have heroes!” or “If you don’t see this movie, Hollywood won’t make more female-led movies.”

    Those were both said by the same person, by the way. And it really ticked me off. If you think people should not judge a book by its cover, fine. But if someone doesn’t seem interested in something, don’t try to play the moral card against them. I mean, checking out some TV show on Netflix won’t cost any money so that’s when you can freely watch it. But paying the expensive movie prices to see a movie you aren’t interested in seeing is ridiculous.

    1. “What sucks is that I’ve seen some creators I respect trying to morally manipulate people into seeing the movie. ‘Hey, even if you aren’t interested in seeing the movie, do it anyways to show that girls can have heroes!’ or ‘If you don’t see this movie, Hollywood won’t make more female-led movies.'”

      It seems as if you’ve stolen a glimpse of my notes for a YouTube video I plan on putting together soon, Conner! 😉 Listen to Kevin Smith’s review. That is a perfect example of what you’re talking about. Anyone who begins their review with (paraphrasing), ‘I saw little girls in the audience who were just so happy…’needs to just admit that they’re not going to be objective. That’s like saying the Star Wars prequels were amazing because there were little kids who loved Jar-Jar Binks.

      There were a couple of other reviewers who I’ll mention in the video who were bending over backwards not to get slimed (no pun intended) as sexists. It was a little bit embarrassing.

    2. “It seems as if you’ve stolen a glimpse at the YouTube video I plan on putting together soon, Conner! Listen to Kevin Smith’s review. That is a perfect example of what you’re talking about. Anyone who begins their review with (paraphrasing), ‘I saw little girls in the audience who were just so happy…’needs to just admit that they’re not going to be objective. That’s like saying the Star Wars prequels were amazing because there were little kids who loved Jar-Jar Binks.

      There were a couple of other reviewers who I’ll mention in the video who were bending over backwards not to get slimed (no pun intended) as sexists. It was a little bit embarrassing.”

      The reviewer in my local paper went full SJW and slimed the critics as “aging fanboys” and “sexists.” It was pretty pathetic, to say the least. While I was reading it, I thought, “How much money did Sony slip you to say something positive?” I thought the exact same thing when I watched Kevin Smith’s review. He obviously did it so he could remain a part of the in-crowd, even though he’s past his prime.

    3. “The reviewer in my local paper went full SJW and slimed the critics as ‘aging fanboys’ and “sexists.” It was pretty pathetic, to say the least.”

      It’s a shame that this movie became weirdly politicized, to the point where people now lie about its obvious flaws. I have seen some unfair YouTube videos that try to paint it as the worst movie ever, but it’s honestly not that bad. It had plenty of potential, but it didn’t have its own identity and the last 1/3 of the movie was an absolute mess.

    4. “It’s a shame that this movie became weirdly politicized, to the point where people now lie about its obvious flaws. I have seen some unfair YouTube videos that try to paint it as the worst movie ever, but it’s honestly not that bad. It had plenty of potential, but it didn’t have its own identity and the last 1/3 of the movie was an absolute mess.”

      Like I said, I’d have been fine with it if they’d done a passing of the torch moment and had the original cast members mentoring the new ones. Instead, they opted for a reboot, and the lack of professionalism exhibited by Paul Feig and the cast of the movie was really pathetic. If someone dislikes my book (and I’m sure some people will), then they’re entitled to that opinion. I’m not going to call them “stupid” or “radio monsters” because they don’t like it.

  3. I will see the movie, but only when it airs on cable or is on Netflix. I’m not wasting my time or money to go down to a theater after clowns like Feig called me a misogynist for having legitimate questions about this movie. (Sidebar: a mature adult who believes in his or her project wouldn’t have carried on like Feig did. He was clearly worried this movie would tank his career.) Incidentally, it speaks volumes about the movie’s defenders that the most positive reviews that I saw amounted to “it’s not as good as the original,” “it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” and “little girls seemed to like it.” Those aren’t ringing endorsements and shouldn’t be treated like them. I have the feeling a lot of critics were scared of backlash from SJW morons.

    To echo an earlier statement, this project was wrong-headed from the get-go and should’ve been a passing the torch moment. Of course, this franchise already did that once upon a time. Anyone else remember the old “Extreme Ghostbusters” cartoon? It was about Egon training a new team (three guys and a girl) to take over years after the original team closed up shop. You know the funny thing about the “you old Ghostbuster fans are misogynists for not supporting this movie” thing? As problematic as some found “EGB,” Kylie was adored by the fanbase and even got into the IDW comics over a decade after the fact because of her popularity. I say that because it’s obvious that the “Ghost Bros” had no problem accepting a female Ghostbuster–just one who was an actual character, not a farce, and (oh yeah) didn’t come with “you’re a misogynist if you don’t like her” baggage.

    Don’t know how the movie will do at the box-office, but I do know that any number will be treated as a victory. Of course, if the movie suffers a major drop-off in its second weekend (as happened with “Batman v Superman”), I’m pretty sure box-office gross suddenly won’t matter to the discussion.

    1. “I will see the movie, but only when it airs on cable or is on Netflix. I’m not wasting my time or money to go down to a theater after clowns like Feig called me a misogynist for having legitimate questions about this movie. (Sidebar: a mature adult who believes in his or her project wouldn’t have carried on like Feig did. He was clearly worried this movie would tank his career.)”

      I was talking to my wife about this over dinner and made a similar point. Feig is getting paid big money to direct a movie. There really is no reason for him to be getting into public tit-for-tat fights with fans. Let the work speak for itself. It’s always a bad sign when a creator starts in with broadsides against critics.

      “Incidentally, it speaks volumes about the movie’s defenders that the most positive reviews that I saw amounted to ‘it’s not as good as the original,’ ‘it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,’ and ‘little girls seemed to like it.’ Those aren’t ringing endorsements and shouldn’t be treated like them. I have the feeling a lot of critics were scared of backlash from SJW morons.”

      A lot of the reviews I’ve seen are just filled with people walking on eggshells. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen in terms of the lead-up and release of a highly-anticipated movie.

      “You know the funny thing about the ‘you old Ghostbuster fans are misogynists for not supporting this movie’ thing? As problematic as some found ‘EGB,’ Kylie was adored by the fanbase and even got into the IDW comics over a decade after the fact because of her popularity. I say that because it’s obvious that the “Ghost Bros” had no problem accepting a female Ghostbuster–just one who was an actual character, not a farce, and (oh yeah) didn’t come with ‘you’re a misogynist if you don’t like her’ baggage.”

      I never checked out EGB. I dropped “The Real Ghostbusters” when Slimer became the primary focus of the show. I always thought Slimer was kind of stupid and never really got his appeal… Also, the animation seemed to change at some point — but not for the better — if I remember correctly.

      Side note: Slimer has some sort of “Slimer Girlfriend” in the new movie. Sigh…

    1. “If there is a massive second week drop off, I wonder if the SJW’s will go quiet or lash out.”

      I don’t see how it can avoid a steep decline next weekend. My guess is that the majority of people who are asked how it was will go, “Eh. It was okay, I guess.”

  4. I ain’t afraid of no ghost….but I am afraid to waste money on this turd of a movie:)
    I will pass on this one, I will watch many more movies on Netflix before this one ever sees time on my screen as well. My wife and I just did not like what we saw advertised.

    1. “My wife and I just did not like what we saw advertised.”

      My wife was just a baby when the original Ghostbusters came out and didn’t see it until she was older. She never had any particular connection to the 1984 movie, so I was interested in what she thought of this one. She just said it wasn’t really all that funny (too many jokes that were improved and didn’t work), as well as the script issues I mentioned. She was more annoyed with Patty’s motivations not being addressed. Patty leaves her job to join the Ghostbusters, but there really was no reason for her to do that. At no point in time did it seem like she hated her job or needed a career change. She just quit and then was like, “You guys need me!” Ummmm, okay.

  5. With that being said, I think it is important to review Mr. Fieg’s movie by pretending the original film never existed.

    But WHY???

    This is clearly a movie being built AND marketed on the brand name of the original! Like I frequently point out, they want all your love for the original without ever having to show respect or discipline towards the legacy. The above strikes me as exactly what they want so I say no! They want to drag us into theaters by the leash of fond memories then they have to bear the weight of the original in reviews etc.

    (not yelling at you, Doug, I’m yelling at Sony)

    1. “But WHY??? This is clearly a movie being built AND marketed on the brand name of the original!”

      Oh, I’m well aware of what Sony is doing. That’s why I ripped Dan Aykroyd for trying to say that this one had “more laughs” than the first two films. He should be ashamed of himself that he would throw the original flick (I thought the second movie was ‘eh’) under the bus.

      But here’s the thing — Sony’s attempt to exploit your feelings of nostalgia, at the end of the day, is something separate from the question, “Is the movie good or not?” My job as someone reviewing the movie is to strip away anything that might cloud my judgment. That is why I first reviewed the movie and then addressed the Bill Murray cameo at the end. So not only is the script sloppy, which hurt the finished product, but it has an extra film of badness covering it because of the cameos.

      “Like I frequently point out, they want all your love for the original without ever having to show respect or discipline towards the legacy. The above strikes me as exactly what they want so I say no! They want to drag us into theaters by the leash of fond memories then they have to bear the weight of the original in reviews etc.”

      And guess what? It didn’t work. The vast majority of guys (and gals) who grew up with the original saw through Sony’s shameless marketing and say, “You know what? Pound sand. You’re insulting me.”

      “(not yelling at you, Doug, I’m yelling at Sony)”

      No problem, man. Whether you were yelling at me or not, at least it was respectful yelling. I’m okay with that. 🙂

  6. Also,

    He literally controls a sea of cops and military personnel, but then chooses not to do the same to the four people who clearly pose a threat to his plans.

    Oh I’ll make a bet on that! Because all the cops/military were men!

    Yes I’ve heard this movie is “pro-girl” almost to a parodic extent, enough that I’ll bet you the price of your movie ticket, Doug, that that was why the “girl” ghostbusters can’t get possessed while the male forces can. Because women rox, yo!

    1. This line says a lot, Carl:

      “It’s for this entire generation of girls who now, because of this movie, think that Ghostbusters can be women. Because it’s not something that I, even a few years ago, would’ve believed possible, even in cosplay.”

      Huh? What little girls growing up in the 80s didn’t think that they could be Ghostbusters? When was it even hinted in the original that women were inferior, etc.? It wasn’t.

      Just because the author has weird insecurity issues, she somehow projects that onto an entire generation of girls. My sister and I pretended we were all sorts of things growing up, from ninjas to spies to superheroes. There wasn’t a female 007 and there wasn’t a female ninja turtle… These people are so strange.

    2. “This line says a lot, Carl:

      “It’s for this entire generation of girls who now, because of this movie, think that Ghostbusters can be women. Because it’s not something that I, even a few years ago, would’ve believed possible, even in cosplay.”

      Huh? What little girls growing up in the 80s didn’t think that they could be Ghostbusters? When was it even hinted in the original that women were inferior, etc.? It wasn’t.”

      I know, right? Makes you wonder what reality (or lack there of) the author of that idiotic article is living in. Like you said, there weren’t any hints of that in the original movie at all.

      “Just because the author has weird insecurity issues, she somehow projects that onto an entire generation of girls. My sister and I pretended we were all sorts of things growing up, from ninjas to spies to superheroes. There wasn’t a female 007 and there wasn’t a female ninja turtle… These people are so strange.”

      Strange is putting it mildly. I could say what they are, but I try to refrain from profanity. And yeah, growing up my sister and I did the same thing. We pretended to be everything from superheros to ninjas to spies to wizards… pretty much every fantasy character one can think of. At no point did anyone come up to us and say we couldn’t pretend to be anything. Back in those days, the 90s, people like the author of that article didn’t have the forum to post stupid articles like that.

  7. Yeah, I’m not sure why this “Kids need a character of the same gender or race or whatever to identify with” is such a big thing. When I was a kid playing with my sister she would usually play as Batman (no, not Batgirl, but Batman) He inspired her and was what she wanted to be more than his female counterpart. I usually was an alien or predator or a killer robot and she would fight me.

  8. If this movie was a sketch on SNL, I suppose maybe it would mildly go viral. Maybe.
    But to think that this NEEDED to made and that it NEEDED to cost damn near 200 million dollars is indicative of everything that’s wrong with Hollywood.
    “It’s Ghostbusters…. but they’re all women!!!” is simply not something that needed to happen. The fact that the original cast was all male is not what was “wrong” with the original film. It didn’t need to be repaired. And it wasn’t screaming to be remade.
    Rebooting the movie with an all female team is not automatically an upgrade. It isn’t a draw.
    It’s just a movie that used to have guys in it that now has girls in it. It’s not MORE than that. Unfortunately for everyone involved; the original is an untouchable classic, and by making an inferior reboot, the creative team has unintentionally ( and sadly) reinforced the dated belief that “women aren’t funny”.

    I seriously hope that this misfire signifies the end of the “requel” and “soft reboot” craze.

    NOTE TO HOLLYWOOD: just make good movies, please.

    1. “If this movie was a sketch on SNL, I suppose maybe it would mildly go viral.”

      Thanks for the feedback, Tuck! I just wrote someone the following before I saw your comment: “It’s like Feig used the original plot of a skeleton script and then just hoped SNL talent would make it hilarious. Nope.”

      “Unfortunately for everyone involved; the original is an untouchable classic, and by making an inferior reboot, the creative team has unintentionally (and sadly) reinforced the dated belief that ‘women aren’t funny.'”

      It stinks because I think the cast was boxed in by a really bad script. I’m not sure if you saw the movie yet, but there is a scene where Chris Hemsworth makes a joke about his dog…but he calls it “My Cat” and “Mike Hat.” It was really painful to watch. I cannot believe that made it into the movie.

      There’s another part where he shows the Ghostbusters a picture of a house with a hotdog above it as a potential logo and he says that it’s cool because a ghost is holding the hotdog…but you can’t see it. Nobody in the theater laughed. There was complete silence throughout both of those “jokes.”

  9. It will be interesting to see if the second weekend’s box office receipts crater.

    It’s also interesting that Sony embraced the same hostile marketing philosophy that Marvel has been following for several years — bait and antagonize segments of the audience, as a way of drawing attention. Like boxing rivalries, or that old Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs tennis match (which was turned into an emblem of feminism, when in reality Bobby Riggs was a short-sighted, middle-aged has-been who was in on the thing from the start).

  10. I’m not going to watch it, so I can’t offer much in the way of opinions of it. It’s pretty obvious that most movie critics are a mob of like thinking puppets, and their opinions of movies in general are based more on their attitudes toward certain people and life in general than any consideration of how much an audience may enjoy a movie or it’s value as entertainment, art or both.

  11. You can see that in the critical trashing of TARZAN. So little real critique of the actual film, so much SJW loathing over Edgar Rice Burroughs. They want it to fail, need it to fail, because the Whole World needs to be saved from Edgar Rice Burroughs.

    1. Let me guess, they’re bellyaching over “white saviors” or some such nonsense? I’m not surprised. They always flip out about stuff like that. Whenever I hear SJWs whining about stuff, it just piques my curiosity. If they dislike it, it has to be good. I hadn’t planned on seeing the new Tarzan movie, but now I might have to. And I do like Margot Robbie.

    1. I’ve always been a fan of the character, so I’ll probably see it at some point. The fact that SJWs are bellyaching about it just makes me want to see it even more.

  12. I didn’t enjoy the movie at all, there were some jokes that make me laugh hard, but they were too little. I agree with almost everything that have been said here.
    But for me on of the MAIN problems were Kate McKinnon, i just feel she was too unrealistic, all of what she does it’s quite stupid.

    For me the all female cast wasn’t a bad decision, but the fact that they made them a little dumb in some parts was a big tun off.

    If they make a remake in some years with a mixed gender squad, and better story without taking out the old characters, i would probably watch it.

    Pros; The guy from thor, make some good jokes, and i think he could be in another remake as part of the gang (and no being the handsome/stupid guy).
    Leslie Jones was a good character with good jokes, she was the typical NY citizen that knows everything about the city, with the plus of working in the MTA but she was really undeveloped.

    Cons; KATE McKinnon unrealistic and dumb character, she made two good jokes, then she made a lot of REALLY REALLY BAD JOKES, I love her in SNL but here, i felt she wasnt part of the original script, the way she act, were more of a SNL Sketch .So i don’t know if the director just saw her performances there and said, ok i would put that in my Scrip, even if is already done.

    Lame Bad/antagonist
    Bad CGI
    First act; Ghost can’t be kill, only captured. Second act; forget the first thing, now we can kill them

    1. “I didn’t enjoy the movie at all, there were some jokes that make me laugh hard, but they were too little. I agree with almost everything that have been said here.”

      Thanks for reading, Jean. The general sentiment you show here is what I’ve seen other places. People disagree on some of the specifics of what worked and what didn’t, but at the end of the day they’re like, “It was just ‘eh’.”

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