Despite how the trailers looked, and the mixed reviews, I went with the missus tonight to see Ghostbusters on the recommendation of friends. To get the important question out of the way up front...
..it was far better than I'd feared, but worse than I'd hoped. It feels like a film that could give rise to an amazing sequel, but stumbles a bit out of the gate.
Ultimately I enjoyed the film, and there are some genuinely funny laughs and kick-ass scenes to be had. Hell, my rating system will give you an extra star just for that DeBarge joke. That said, I did have some issues with it. Before the world jumps in and labels me sexist, let me say that these opinions are my own, and just that, opinions. Also, with one exception, my critiques are of this film alone and not comparing or contrasting with the original film. Also, while nothing I say below is revealing enough to warrant a huge spoiler tag, I do discuss some minor plot points.
Kate McKinnon is a fucking treasure and seals every scene she's in. I would watch an entire film about her character. Many will argue that the character is one-note and quirky for quirky's sake, but it worked for me.
I've always enjoyed Kristen Wiig. And she works admirably with the material she's given, but the script basically sets her character to neurotic and the dial doesn't vary much.
I was initially excited to see Leslie Jones in something outside of SNL, since the skits usually just use her as "caricature of loud black woman", and I was hoping a film role would give her room to flex. Unfortunately that's what they do here as well. She's genuinely funny in the part, but then she should be. She gets plenty of practice.
I know absolutely that I'm in the minority here, but Melissa McCarthy has never done anything for me comedically. She's believable and the uber-sincere head of the team, but never blew me away. All in all, I just want some more development from the main cast. But they played off of each other well enough. Though the banter was hit and miss.
I liked the idea of Hemsworth as the dumb, hunky, metrosexual supplicant to Janine and he plays the role masterfully. That said, it was way too over the top. He's less "comically dumb" and more "unfunctionally retarded". It steps over the line of cartoony and into the realm of vaudeville absurdism. And was there a missing scene where he's expressed any interest at all in joining the team? <shrugs>
Effects wise, every character that is a human that has been accentuated by CGI looked awesome. All the pure CGI characters left me disappointed. Some practical puppetry and animatronic work tweaked with CGI would have made me happier.
Prop design was interesting and I liked the "garage kit" aesthetic for the most part.
There are a number of cameos throughout the movie some work and some don't. I loved seeing Annie Potts adopt that old conteptuous tone, and Hudson's part while small felt suitable. It amuses me that they honored Murray's request that he be killed in the first act of the 3rd GB film. The one that hurt was Aykroyd. Don't put fucking Dan in a GB movie, saying a bunch of Ray Stantz shit, and not simply be Ray Stantz.
Lastly, there a few things that I just found fucking stupid.
-Peggy Bundy Slimer is stupid.
-The Ghost-Puncher or whatever it's called is stupid.
-Ghostly parade floats are stupid.
-The final boss was disappointing, but at least Mr. Oogie Boogie is getting work.
-That new GB Theme by Fall Out Boy is hot garbage.
-THANK GOD they cut the dance scene and stuck it in the credits.
I also am amused by imagining the following casting conversation:
<Sony> Ok, we need a weird, creepy, loner-nerd type for our villan.
<Neil Casey> Yes! It's my time to shine!
<Sony> However you will be portrayed in half the film by Chris Hemsworth.
<Neil Casey> God-Fucking_Dammit!
So yeah, far better than the trailers or marketing would have suggested. I'd go see a sequel. But there are legitimate complaints to be made. And honestly, I don't want to immediately watch it again like I did with the original, but that's ok too.