Last night I watched Ghostbusters. This was a film that generated a vast amount of furore because (spoiler alert) the principal members of the cast were all women, whereas in the original they were all men, and thus as a result everyone’s childhood was going to be ruined (thirty years later) by a remake/reboot/reimagining of a film that, honestly, wasn’t that great. Sure, you might think your life was in some way transcended by Ghostbusters, but if you were to go back now and watch the original, then apart from the strange way it provided a prototype to every start-up in Silicon Valley (ghost busting business model or not) it’s not the most amazing thing. The script could be pepped up, the acting isn’t always amazing and back in the 1980s, they couldn’t afford either extras or CGI, so none of the crowd scenes impress.

Now, the remake isn’t the most amazing film ever made. When it’s cold and rainy outside, I won’t seek solace with a bottle of wine, a box of cake and endless rewatching of the 2016 Ghostbusters. But it’s not a terrible film. It’s ok, bordering on good. And I suppose that’s the true feminist victory, that women can now make films that are just as mediocre or half-satisfying as men can. No longer does everything they do have to be some insane triumph of artistry over the patriarchy. Sometimes it can just be a cash-in.

The special effects are much better in this. Where it really falls down is in the fan-service, something the original had no need for. I really got annoyed when Dan Ackroyd was wheeled into frame, to say “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts” as if that would make any sense in the world of the film, rather than to somebody who had watched the previous film and thought that no dialogue was worthwhile unless it was a callback to something else. As the Hulk said in his review of The Force Awakens, a film should be about something. If the only thing a film signifies is that it’s a reference to another film, then there’s a very small number of postmodernists who should be satisfied, and the rest of us will have to go and watch Adam Sandler. Or a monkey throwing its feces at people. Or Adam Sandler throwing a monkey at feces. Or … never mind.

Like so many films now, I’m getting too old, or possibly too drunk, or easily confused, but I felt that it was missing 10 minutes of exposition somewhere. The special effects were good (something I keep writing, as if I’m amazed that a film with a budget and a technology department has problems with such a thing), I laughed out loud a few times, I jumped when there was a particularly loud or scary ghost. It worked. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t dreadful. That is all…


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