Something weird and it don’t look good – Ghostbusters: Answer the Call! Four months after its cinematic debut, I finally got round to watching Paul Feig’s reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise. The supernatural adventures of Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon are dear to my heart. Not only did I enjoy the original films but in my youth I also read the comics, played with the toys and watched the cartoons (both the Real Ghostbusters and the lesser known Filmation series featuring a simian and a talking car.) So why has it taken me so long to watch Ghostbusters 2016? Well, to be honest it looked like crap. Evidently I am not alone in that opinion, because the film’s YouTube trailer currently has a record breaking one million dislikes. Wow, not even Milo Stewart gets that much hate!
In case you have been living under a rock for the past year, the new Ghostbusters team is totally devoid of penis. Physicist Erin Gilbert and childhood pal Abby Yates start up the spirit extermination business after Erin is sacked from Columbia University, when an online vid reveals to the scientific community that she believes in paranormal entities. Joining the pair in their endeavours is Dr Jillian Holtzmann, an eccentric tinkerer who has a talent for fabricating phantom slaying gizmos. Completing the quartet is Patty Tolan, who happens to be the Ghostbusters’ first customer. She gets hired, as her knowledge of New York City lore could be an asset… ah who am I kidding? They only keep her around because she has access to a Hearse, which the group use to lug around their heavy equipment.
At first the fledgling Ghostbuster business struggles to make ends meet, not helped by the fact that they are ridiculed in the press as frauds. The New York City mayoral office are keen to discredit our heroines, despite knowing that poltergeists do actually exist, to prevent mass panic from erupting. Oh my goodness, it’s Roswell all over again! Unfortunately for the authorities, who wish to keep the truth hidden, spectre sightings continue to rise. What is causing this surge of undead I hear you ask? Believe it or not, a disgruntled janitor named Rowan North. The surprisingly intelligent caretaker plots to punish humanity by opening a rift that will unleash hostile spirits onto the mortal plain. When the apocalypse is upon us who are you gonna call? Four unfunny comedians.
My rating for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call is a two out of five. After decades of development hell we finally get a new Ghostbusters flick, but alas it is not the franchise revival most fans were hoping for. Even brief cameo appearances from the old cast couldn’t save this reboot from a below average score. Answer the Call pales in comparison to the eighties classic, in terms of comedy and even special effects. Yes the first film’s visuals may be dated, but I’ll take its monstrous creature designs over the 2016 neon coloured apparitions any day. Some people will say that my opinions are influenced by the gender of the cast, but nothing could be further from the truth. If I was opposed to a bloke free line-up why does my anime collection contain so many shows fronted by all female teams?
On the plus side the movie is better than the weak trailer suggests. Patty isn’t the obnoxious loudmouth implied by the promotional material and Melissa McCarthy (Abby) who I usually detest was surprisingly restrained for once. Holtzmann was my favourite Ghostbuster, although the scriptwriters fail to grasp that acting weird doesn’t necessarily equate to being funny. Overall I thought Ghostbusters was fine at the start, but by the end of its two-hour duration I was bored. Had they trimmed thirty minutes from the final cut and added some wittier gags I would be less negative. Failing to make me laugh after 116 minutes doesn’t bode well for a comedy and the finale was really stupid. Why would hitting a ghost (who has no genitals) in the crotch cause them harm? Ah, whatever. If you seek a proper Ghostbusters sequel I hear that the PS3 game will scratch that itch. Get that for your console and pass on answering the call.