Submitted by Charlie on Sat 16 Jul 2016 - 17:29
Ghostbusters 3: Now With More Action

"They really hate it! For once in my life I truly belong!" - Jay Sherman

Top Line: Ghostbusters 3 is basically a Marvel movie with Ghostbusters branding. It's got over the top action, lots of CGI, and a streak of comedy to lighten things up. There's even an after-the-credits scene that sets up the next entry in the franchise. The trailer is pretty accurate.

Who (probably) should see this movie: Kids whose parents don't think they're old enough to see actual comic book movies. Fans of the first or first two movies.

Who (probably) should not see this movie: Faux righteous male film geeks, apparently. 

Box Score:

Runtime - 1h:56m - Feels about right. Could've easily been shorter with less over the top action scenes, but I think they think that's what people want. They may be right.

Actual Start - Showtime + 20 Minutes - Only six previews, but the freaking previews don't even start until three or four minutes after the start time these days thanks to commercials for theater gift certificates and cell phone warnings brought to us by candy companies. Boo everything about that.

Saturday Noon Show Demographics: ~50 people, mostly adults but with quite a few little kids as well

Anything After the End Credits: Why, yes, we will be making a sequel.
MPAA - PG-13 - "supernatural action and some crude humor"

What It's Got: Pretty much that. It's a lot more violent than the first two movies, but probably slightly less violent than most PG-13 action movies. 

Should Be Rated: PG-8
Three Stars:
  1. Kate McKinnon: Gets the best part and makes the most of it as the sardonic mechanical genius of the group.  
  2. Leslie Jones: Does what she can with a terribly underwritten part that only occasionally allows her to be anything other than loud, sassy black lady.
  3. Chris Hemsworth: Is basically playing Jon Hamm's handsome idiot from 30 Rock before taking over as a villain near the end. Does both well.
Worth Seeing In Theater (Baseline: 2):
  • +1 Decent piece of summer fun.
  • +1 CGI is petty good, way better than most Marvel movies.
  • -1 Nothing that's really eye popping, though. 

Final Score: 3

Worth Seeing Eventually (Baseline: 5):
  • +5 It's the next Ghostbusters movie, and I'll guarantee they're already working on the sequel, so you'll probably end up seeing it eventually.
  • -2 There's nothing really important about it. Nobody's going to be calling it a classic thirty-two years from now.

Final Score: 8

 
Bechdel (Baseline: 5):
  • +5 Passes easily. (Duh.)

Final Score: 10

IMDb Sez:

Director:

  • Paul Feig: He used to direct on TV, including the sainted Arrested Development, now he makes big screen hits with Melissa McCarthy.

Writer:

  • Paul Feig: Has fewer writing credits than directing credits, but did write Spy (2015), which wasn't bad.
  • Katie Dippold: Wrote 2013's The Heat, which is on my list for "funniest of the decade" and is the main reason I had any hope for this film.
  • Dan Aykroyd, Ivan Reitman, and Harold Ramis all got "based on" credits.

Rotten Tomatoes Sez:

All Critics: 73% Top Critics: 57% Audience: 49%

Notes:

  • Given the amount of manbaby butthurt over the new class of Ghostbusters being all female, I'm going to discount the Audience score, but the Top Critics are much closer to the worth of this movie than the All Critics. It's not terrible or bad or anything, but it's just another PG-13, CGI action flick in a year that's already loaded with them.
  • Melissa McCarthy is really hampered by not having access to her full vocabulary. They can push the bounds of PG-13 a little, but the creatively aggressive vulgarity that she's so good at is left punchless without the real words.
  • As you'd expect, the soundtrack is great.
  • The movie takes care of its fan service obligations well. There are slyly repeated lines, quick cameos from the surviving cast of the first films (Aykroyd's is particularly good), and the logo reveal is downright clever.
  • Zach Woods (a/k/a Jared from Silicon Valley) absolutely owns his scene as a creepy mansion tour guide at the beginning.
  • But that's also where you can start to tell you're watching a very different era of Ghostbusters. A ghost beats the crap out of him, including lots of those wall and floor body slams that are so popular in superhero movies. That scene alone has more physical violence than the entire first two movies put together.
  • Not gonna lie: got a little chill when the car pulls up all decked out for the first time.
  • I don't know if it was just a joke or a clever cry for help, but since the Ghostbusters end up working secretly for the government, at the end one of them jokes that this must be what Batman feels like, saving the world and not getting any credit for it.

Bottom Line: I saw this movie with a decent sized audience, and for the first half hour or so, the laughs were coming steadily. Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig play scientist ex-friends who get roped into a ghost hunt together, and Feig and Dippold's script has plenty of the dry humor and banter that makes Ghostbusters what it is. Unfortunately, the laughter gradually died away as CGI ghost action took over the film. By the end it's mostly a comic book movie with the odd quip or pratfall here and there. I didn't hear more than a lone chuckle or two for the last hour.

Feig and Dippold are professionals, so things never get boring, and the cast is excellent, but it's still a damned shame what the requirements of modern franchise blockbusters do to beloved fiction. For example, in the first two movies, the Ghostbusters had some science-y equipment that was goofy, but did a plausible job of catching ghosts. Here, the Ghostbusters have a whole arsenal of science-y weaponry: grenades, shotguns, lots of different laser blasters that cause lots of different damage, and even a "ghost shredder". They have enough firepower to blast a whole ghost army, which is exactly what they spend the end of the movie doing, including a slow motion, 300 style side view multi-kill.

I suppose this sort of degeneration was inevitable. When Ghostbusters came out, the other big movies of the year were the likes of Beverly Hills Cop, Karate Kid, and Gremlins. This year it's Captain America 3, X-Men 6, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Franchises. It wasn't like they didn't have crappy sequels in 1984, Temple of Doom came out that year, but the cookie cutter CGI franchise was still far in the future. A movie like Ghostbusters, which was a comedy with special effects, could stand out and become a classic. Now, they've taken the existing Ghostbusters ideas and crammed them into their Summer Action Franchise template, so however much popcorn and tickets this version sells, it's unlikely anyone's going to care much about it three decades from now.

 

Movies Deemed Commercially and Demographically Similar Enough to Merit Trailers Before Ghostbusters 3:

Bourne 5 - Matt Damon is back. There's actually a line where a guy says, "We've just been hacked, could be worse than Snowden!" Ha! Terror War movies are so awful.

Star Trek 13 - Woof. Someday they're going to make a good Star Trek movie again, but these crappy action movies aren't it.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - The kids-with-powers movies have reached the Tim Burton phase. I repeat, the kids-with-powers movies have reached Burton.

Sully - Why did they make this movie? "Directed By Clint Eastwood". Oh.

The DaVinci Code 3: Inferno - They made another one of these. This one's about a plague that can wipe out mankind. Hollywood, can you please find something better for Tom Hanks to do? I think the last good thing I saw him in was a Carly Rae Jepsen video.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - This might actually be good. It might also be Oscar bait crap. Trailer leans toward crap, but not so much that I'm not intrigued.