Monday, July 18, 2016

Movie Monday: Ghostbusters




Despite what appears to be a pretty adamant campaign to slime this movie, it's not that bad.

When the trailer above was released, it drew more than a million "thumbs down" clicks and all kinds of angry comments -- an all-woman team was political correctness run amok, appropriation of a beloved, iconic property -- that seemed like an overreaction.  This was more than 200 times the number of down-votes typically received by a crappy movie.

The loud, possibly organized opposition (suspected by some to have including no-voting bots) may have cost "Ghostbusters" a stronger opening weekend, but as summer movies go, it more than holds its own.  It is light, silly, good-natured and stocked well with repeated sight gags.  What more can be expected?

The new movie pays homage to its predecessor in ways large and small.  Original stars and even some of the original's ghosts appear in the new movie.  No one says, "He slimed me," but one of the team is slimed on several occasions.  The bad guy is a brilliant creep.  The essential challenge faced by the ghostbusters is to save New York from ghosts.  The ghostbuster team faces an uphill battle just to gain credibility until their help is really, really needed.

Like most summer movies, this one isn't perfect.  The filmmakers have fallen in love with computer-generated imagery, and the final battle goes on and on and on.   The black ghostbuster character of course is street-smart and cool, as are so many men given the "black friend" roles in current films; the stereotype is getting pretty shopworn.

The good-sized crowd in the theater where I saw the movie roared with laughter.  When the old "Ghostbusters" musical theme was played as the show was ending, children in the audience stood up and danced.

So what if it isn't just like the original movie?  We have had many Wizards of Oz, many Tarzans and many James Bonds.  Even Marvell's Iron Man is going to be replaced by a super-bright African American teenage girl in the character's next outing.

Still, some wacky, subversive movies may be so identified with their original stars that they cannot be replicated without extreme fan (fanboy?) resistance and even attempted sabotage.

This could be be why the famed Coen brothers shot down rumors last February that they would mount "The Big Lebowski 2."   And why there probably will never be a reprise of  "Animal House."


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